Beat to Quarters
By C. S. Forester
Beat to Quarters is the sixth Hornblower book according to the chronology of the series, but it was the first one written. Surprisingly, I think it may be my favorite one so far. You'd expect that in a first book there'd be a lot of exposition, but Forester handles it very well, and by the end of this book I felt that I knew Horatio Hornblower much better than I had before. It was also interesting to see how Forester's style changed over time. For example, Beat to Quarters made a lot of references to the fact that certain actual historical events hadn't taken place yet--a device that I think was included to give a better sense of the period. Of course, by the later books, less time was spent on that sort of contextual help because people already knew what to expect. I think the action in this one was also more intense and interesting than in the previous books. By the end of the novel, I found myself really looking forward to the next one.
Started: 12/27/2005 | Finished: 12/27/2005