Best 1948 Adventures (5)
July 9, 2018
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1948 adventure novels. Happy 70th anniversary!
C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower historical sea-going adventure Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (serialized 1948; in book form, 1950).
An episodic account of Horatio Hornblower’s adventures as a young man, when he’s first joined the Royal Navy as an an awkward, shy, seasick midshipman. Harassed mercilessly by Simpson, a senior midshipman, he grows so despondent that he finally challenges the bully to a duel. Placed in temporary command of a captured French ship full of rice, Hornblower tries desperately to prevent it from sinking… because it’s taking on water, and the rice is expanding. Captured by a privateer, Hornblower attempts to sabotage the French ship — risking his own life — rather than allow it to escape from a pursuing British ship. While leading a crew of British sailors and marines to sneak up on a French ship, one of his men has an epileptic seizure — what is Hornblower to do? I’m also fond of a story in which Hornblower’s passenger, the Duchess of Wharfedale, helps him to smuggle dispatches when Hornblower’s ship is captured by the Spanish.
Fun facts: Chronologically the first book in the Hornblower series; it was written as a prequel. (The first Hornblower novel, The Happy Return, was published in 1937.)
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.