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Summary

Exclusively from Audible:

In the year 1805, the young and enthusiastic Horatio Hornblower is given his first command as Captain of HMS Atropos. A 22-gun sloop, it is hardly the biggest ship in the navy, but undeterred, Hornblower boards the Atropos in eager anticipation of the voyages to come.

Acting as flagship during the funeral procession for Lord Nelson, Horatio's first endeavour is to pay tribute to the country's fallen hero. However, his peaceful ventures are at an end when he is confronted with the alarming news that a large Spanish frigate is quickly descending upon his considerably smaller ship.

Determined to return to land unscathed and triumphant, Hornblower fights valiantly in this next instalment of C.S. Forester's naval series.

Hailed by the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Sir Winston Churchill for being 'admirable and vastly entertaining,' C.S. Forester became a hugely influential 20th Century author.

Born in Cairo, raised in London and buried in California, the metropolitan writer experienced huge success with his Horatio Hornblower series as well as with his later works, The African Queen and The Good Shepherd.

His literary genius is perfectly encapsulated within this endlessly entertaining narrative, and his heroic protagonist draws us in to another titillating journey through the Napoleonic wars.

Narrator Biography

Christian Rodska is an English television and voice actor best known for his role in the 1970's series Follyfoot.

From the The Monuments Men and The Eagle of the Ninth to The Likely Lads, Z Cars, The Tomorrow People, Coronation Street, Bergerac and Casualty, his extensive and diverse acting career has led him to become a highly solicited radio and audiobook narrator.

He has now voiced over 150 unabridged audiobooks including Winston Churchill's biographies, Evelyn Waugh's Men at Arms and Sebastian Faulks' A Possible Life. He has been praised for his ability to vary in vocal pace and style and as such, Christian boasts 12 Earphone Awards from Audiofile Magazine.

©1953 Cassette Productions (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Better than expected

I had read this as a boy so was a bit dubious about returning to this series of books, in case they had dated too much. However, for a engaging listen that can carry you through boring air/train/car journeys it was fine, especially as there is a lot of interesting historical and scientific detail, and not too much swashbuckling.
The narrator is also very good at making it come alive.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant writer.

The characterisation is great - deep and complex. The plots are a series of mini-stories but held together by longer threads. The action is well-described and there are many elements of background descriptions too. Forester is a great writer and the narrator, Christian Rodska brings out all the nuances of the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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In true Forester style.

Rodska's narrative is again in true form.
The story will keep you spellbound as Hornblower fights the enemy and his own inner demons.

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Another Good Read

If you could sum up Hornblower and the Atropos in three words, what would they be?

Fun, Escapist Excitement

What other book might you compare Hornblower and the Atropos to, and why?

Any of the other Hornblower series. They are all challenging in that Hornblower varies between being a super hero and someone very unsure of himself which is probably how we all live our lives.

Have you listened to any of Christian Rodska’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I love Christian Rodska's voice and his ability to portray characters so clearly that you can almost feel you know them. I first came across him reading in the Falco series and really miss his voice in the later books. I deliberately looked for other books he had read which is how I came across the Hornblower stories.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It makes me chuckle rather than laugh and although this one did not make me cry others in the series have. Still buying the later ones so can't comment on those.

Any additional comments?

Love the character, love the reader, love the series. What more can one ask

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The Adventure continues

If you like Hornblower then you will not be disappointed. The story is well paced and as usual the author shows his knowledge of the period bringing 19th century England alive.

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Good title

Another great Hornblower title, read brilliantly by Christian Rodska. A little less naval action, but still plenty of adventure at sea.

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  • Paul
  • 12-06-13

The First Command

Hornblower and his own command continues to grow in character. Not as fast paced as some of the other books but with some unusual story lines. This book is a little slow and drawn out in the early section but pays good attention to the traditions and protocols of the RN. The story does pick up as Hornblower is sent into service and builds to a climax expected of a Hornblower story.