Hornblower and the Atropos
is a 1953
historical novel by C.S. Forester
In this novel, Horatio Hornblower
is posted to HMS Atropos
, the smallest vessel in the Royal Navy that merits command by a post-Captain
, as he hunts for treasure in the Mediterranean Sea
On a December day in 1805, Hornblower travels with his very pregnant wife and their son to London on a canal boat via the Thames and Severn Canal
and the Thames. He is excited about getting his new orders and obtaining his first command as a post-captain
. On the canal, the assistant boatman becomes incapacitated through drink, thus allowing Hornblower the opportunity to learn much of canal boat operation when he volunteers to take the man's place at the boat's helm.
Upon their arrival in London, Hornblower assumes command of the Atropos
. His first assignment is a unique one: to organise Admiral Nelson
's funeral. The Battle of Trafalgar
had just taken place, in which Nelson was shot by a musket and killed. The whole nation is in mourning and all eyes are on the funeral. The funeral consists of a procession on the Thames between Greenwich Pier and Whitehall Steps, during which the ceremonial barge conveying Nelson's coffin springs a leak and the crew, after frantic bailing, barely managing to unload the coffin before sinking.
Once Hornblower finishes with the funeral, he is presented to his King
at Court. He is informed that the king's nephew, a German prince driven out of his principality by Napoleon, is... Read More