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Summary

Exclusively from Audible

In the eighth instalment of C.S Forester's naval series, Horatio Hornblower finds himself down on his luck. Having been forced to surrender his ship to the French, following a long and bloody battle, he is imprisoned by his enemies and threatened with the prospect of being tried by French courts and executed if found guilty.

Knowing that he will also likely come up against a court martial in England for having lost command and possession of The Sutherland, Horatio's future is bleak and uncertain.

As his wife, Maria, struggles to deliver a healthy baby and the thought of his mistress, Lady Barbara, taunts him in his jail cell, Hornblower realises that he must do whatever it takes to prevent the impending doom heading his way and ensure that neither lady is left to fend for herself.

Hugely celebrated for his Napoleonic warfare series, and later for the publication of The African Queen, C. S. Forester came to writing much later than expected. Having originally studied medicine at Guy's Hospital, Forester first developed a love of story-telling after being inspired by his travels with the Royal Navy.

Sadly stricken with arteriosclerosis whilst voyaging to the Bering Sea, C.S. Forester was crippled in his later life, but his imagination and his skill with a pen survived for years to come.

Narrator Biography

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

©1938 C.S. Forester (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average customer ratings

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First rate

This is a first rate story, very well written and very well read. Try it if you have not read any C S Forester before or better still, start with the first of his Hornblower stories.

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Boring

Found this one pretty boring compared to others in the Hornblower series. Narration good as always.

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listened to it in a day!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would certainly recommend the entire series to a friend as it it brilliantly done and a wonderful character study of a naval officer.

What did you like best about this story?

Horn blower himself, as a character. His continual nagging doubts and second guessing of his own motives.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I enjoyed very much his escape from captivity and subsequent time in France.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The reluctant hero

Any additional comments?

Hugely enjoyed the whole series and sad that this is the penultimate book.

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a triumph of English literature

C, S Forester excels himself yet again
a modern masterpiece set in a historic time

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Gripping adventure

Probably my favourite in the series. The character of Hornblower is so well developed and in this novel you get to see all sides of it.

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Our Hero Horatio

Following on from Hornblower's imminent demise, I couldn't wait to see what happened.
This book was brilliant, I love the way that Forrester tells his story about his floored hero. Floored only by his own low self esteem. Only Hornblower could dislike himself so much for nearly sinking 3 French ships before surrendering to save his men, escaping from the French, being saved by a French noble, stealing back British ship and sailing it out of French waters. The story is so well written I almost believe every word. Great stuff

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jean
  • 04-07-11

Flying Colours

I have almost finished the Patrick O'Brian series of Capt Aubrey and was looking for something similar in the Audible library when I came across C.S. Forester. I remember the movies about Hornblower but realised I had never read the books. This was most enjoyable story, Hornblower is captured by the French and is on way to Paris to be executed when he escapes. Lots of suspense and information on the French and English navies. Christian Rodska does a good job narrating the story. Looking forward to reading all of this series.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • 29-06-13

The Character study

This is not in the usual ripping yarn style.. It is a good drama but more of a character study of Hornblower. The story is much slower paced than normal and the whole story revolves around his escape through and out of France. The reader is taken on as much a ride through his emotions, weaknesses and uncertainty as we are a flight to freedom but it is very well written and a must read if you are to maintain both the story and the man himself. However I would not reccomend as a one of sample book to read unless you are a school teacher looking for an excellent book for students to do a case study of a character which would hold the interest for either gender.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Shawn Hanley
  • 14-06-15

Great performance

If you are a fan of naval action in the Age of Sail, C.S. Forester's Flying Colours will not disappoint. If you are familiar with the Hornblower series, you will see Horatio's character flaws manifested in action rather than imagined. You will be captured from the opening lines
to the last, a large part due to the engaging performance of the reader.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Spike12
  • 08-09-18

Romance and Adventure

Adventure in a variety of settings and circumstances with enough romance to provide a welcome change, now and then. I find catalogs of sea fights can get monotonous, but this novel is one of the very best of the series. (Just wish Horatio would give himself (and us) a break from his constant self-flagellation!)
The narration, as usual, makes this a spell-binding story. I’m going to listen to the next one right away.

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  • A&H
  • 14-08-18

classic

One of forester's best. Rodska delivers again.

brevity is the soul of wit, quit asking me for more words annoying word count boot.

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  • Melinda Johnson
  • 31-10-16

Good book good reading .

Great book with beautiful voice work Christian Rodska deserves an award for this reading.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher Headley
  • 12-09-16

A disappointing chapter

I've loved the Hornblower series up until now. I will continue "reading" them assuming he will get back to the sea in the next. This chapter takes place almost entirely on land and only consists of a single action on the sea (other than one observed by Hornblower from shore). He spends quite a lot of this book complaining about being comfortable, and then complaining about being rich and successful. If you're looking for action among the fleet I suggest skipping this one.

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  • James
  • 16-07-16

Another great tale

not a single book has let me down in the series. I can't wait to peel into the next and then into the next after that. great writing and great narration what a great story.

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  • Lady Pamela
  • 24-06-16

Synchronized Plot

Captured Hornblower languishes in a French prison, escapes and returns to England. The three main characters show skill, determination and courage. The plot holds together nicely as each thread succeeds the previous one. On many occasions, we see inside the leader as he momentarily questions himself...not very leader-like...but, maybe, true. Where's the next Hornblower book?

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  • Smytheville
  • 03-10-13

The best of the Hornblower books!

I love all of the books, and Christian Rodska's performances are uniformly superb, but this is the most exciting book. If you're not working through the series (and you really should), then listen to this one if you listen to no other.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful