Mr. Midshipman Hornblower
(published 1950) is a Horatio Hornblower
novel written by C. S. Forester
. Although it may be considered as the first episode in the Hornblower saga, it was written as a prequel
; the first Hornblower novel, The Happy Return
, was published in 1937.
Horatio Hornblower commences his career in the Royal Navy
as an inexperienced midshipman
in January of 1794. Through a series of challenges and adventures both in and out of combat, Hornblower discovers he is actually talented in both seamanship and leadership.
This novel is episodic, with named chapters that often focus on a self contained incident.
Hornblower and the Even Chance
In this story, a gawky and seasick Hornblower comes aboard his first ship, HMS Justinian
. He immediately earns the contempt of the other midshipmen by, among other things, outshining them in their required mathematical studies. The young Hornblower is particularly despised by a midshipman named Simpson. Simpson, at age thirty-three, had failed his examination for lieutenant too many times to ever expect promotion and he took out his bitterness and disappointment on his juniors. He is said to be "diabolically clever at making other people's lives a burden to them," and Hornblower, extremely unhappy already, is particularly affected and becomes suicidal. He takes the first opportunity for death presented to him by challenging Simpson, a superior gunman, to a duel
. Hornblower finds that... Read More