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Horatio Hornblower

Horatio Hornblower is the protagonist of a series of novels by C. S. Forester. The novels trace Hornblower's career in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. The novels, in chronological order:

Hornblower is mathematically adept (making a perfect landfall in an era of "dead reckoning" navigation in The Happy Return). He is philosophically opposed to corporal punishment to the extent that he contrives escape for a crewman condemned to the yard-arm in Hornblower and the Hotspur. This, despite believing that severe corporal punishment (e.g. flogging round the fleet and keelhauling) is the only way to maintain discipline in the face of severe privation. Despite near-constant success, he judges himself lacking professionally and personally. He is contemptuous of those around him (including both his wives and his best friend, Capt. Bush), but strives to shield them from his contempt and savages himself for failing to possess those qualities of theirs he sees as desirable.

Hornblower's exploits include confronting Spanish fire ships during his exam for Lieutenant, surviving a Captain with paranoid schizophrenia, orchestrating the funeral of Horatio Nelson from a sinking barge conveying the coffin, recovering sunken treasure with the aid of pearl divers from Ceylon, and having his ship gifted to the King of the Two Sicilies for diplomatic reasons. And that's just the first 5 books.

Like Captain Savage, created by Frederick Marryat, and "Lucky" Jack Aubrey, created by Patrick O'Brian, Hornblower is generally considered to be based upon the historical Thomas, Lord Cochrane. As amazing as Hornblower's fictional exploits are, Cochrane's historical ones far exceed them.

A "biography" of Hornblower, called The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower, was published in 1970 by C. Northcote Parkinson.

Hornblower on film

The 1951 film Captain Horatio Hornblower stars Gregory Peck as Hornblower.

The television series Hornblower (1998 - ) stars Ioan Gruffudd as Hornblower.