Mr. Midshipman Hornblower

By C. S. Forester,

Book cover of Mr. Midshipman Hornblower

Book description

Join young Horatio Hornblower in the thrilling naval adventure from the author of The Good Shepherd, now a major-motion picture starring Tom Hanks

'A joyous creation, a perfection in words. Young Hornblower is, simply, one of the most complete creations of character in fiction' Conn Iggulden, The Independent


Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

4 authors picked Mr. Midshipman Hornblower as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This was the first series of heroic historical fiction I ever read. Forester’s narratives had the power to pull me into the stories as if I was serving alongside Horatio Hornblower.

The series follows the exploits of seventeen-year-old Midshipman Hornblower in 1794 as he rises in rank and responsibilities to flag rank by 1815. During the course of the series, we watch Hornblower mature from an unsure, bookish teenager to become a self-confident and bold commander. Forester’s ability to meld true historical events and personages into his narratives captured me from the start and is a quality that I strive…

I love sailing and the sea. It comes from a family heritage of sailing and why I love being at the ocean. The Napoleonic Wars and sea adventures were fundamental in our historical novel's journey, Horatio Hornblower’s career in the Royal Navy, as documented by C. S. Forester, is just as exciting today as they were when written. Hornblower’s rise through the ranks is as fascinating as the real-life stories of Admiral Nelson.

From Charles' list on that bring history alive.

I love finding an author who has written a big, long, fun series of books. The entire Hornblower series (at least 15 of them) follows Horatio Hornblower as he works his way up from humble beginnings in the British Navy of the 1800s. The author, C.S. Forester, is probably best known for his fine book, The African Queen, from which the classic movie with Bogart was made. Mr. Midshipman Hornblower is the first of the series, and it won’t disappoint for a second. Fun, action-packed, historically correct…you can’t miss with this one.

From Thomas' list on that are packed with action.

The first and still one of my favorite books in CS Forester’s fabulous Hornblower series. Young Horatio is an unlikely hero. Tall, gawky, prone to seasickness, and terrified of heights, this young midshipman enters the Royal Navy near the beginning of Britain’s long struggle against Napoleon. He may not (at first) fit the mold of a dashing naval officer, but his quick thinking and rapid mastery of the fundamentals of seamanship draw the attention of Captain Edward Pellew, one of Britain’s most daring and successful captains. His patronage is rewarded as the awkward Midshipman proves his mettle against the French…

Want books like Mr. Midshipman Hornblower?

Our community of 11,000+ authors has personally recommended 100 books like Mr. Midshipman Hornblower.

Browse books like Mr. Midshipman Hornblower

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in coming of age, bildungsroman, and naval history?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about coming of age, bildungsroman, and naval history.

Coming Of Age Explore 1,286 books about coming of age
Bildungsroman Explore 312 books about bildungsroman
Naval History Explore 26 books about naval history