Best reading order for Horatio Hornblower novels?

I’ve decided to pick up C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower novels. I’m looking forward to them, and am preparing to have my buckle swashed!

After the first few books, Forster decided to write a few novels about his hero’s early naval career, then went back and wrote a few that jumped around a bit in Hornblower’s biography. This Wikipedia article lists the novels and short stories in both the order they were written, as well as according to the fictional chronology.

Has anyone here read them? If so, which order do you recommend?

Order they were written. Always order they were written. Internal chronology is irrelevant in comparison to how the author actually presented the stories originally.

I agree with DrFidelius, up to a point. The problem with reading in the order they were written is that the author developed, so that the later novels are more complex and better written. Hornblower in the first series (Beat to Quarters, Ship of the Line, Flying Colors) has less depth than Hornblower in the first chronologically (Mr Midshipman Hornblower)… at least, IMHO.

They’ll read fine in either order.

I read 'em in fictional-chronology order, and quite liked how that order emphasized Hornblower’s growing competence. It was very noticable, of course, which were the earlier novels.

(although, it was some of the middle-written, late-chronology books I enjoyed least - Commodore Hornblower, Lord Hornblower, & Hornblower in the West Indies.)

But, yeah, they’ll read fine in either order. Indeed, they’ll read fine in random order.

I read them in fictional-chronological order and enjoyed them.

Did they ever say what the whore ratio is?

When you are done, make sure to watch the Gregory Peck flick! One of my favorites!

I read them in fictional chronological order too, and it all made sense to me. His growing competence was balanced by his inherent self-doubts and difficult private life which (I think) would struggle to make sense without reading things in FCO.

I found this thread while googling this question! Thanks to CalMeacham for suggesting Hortatio Hornblower in my thread.

It sounds like there’s a pretty even split! I read the Sherlock Holmes books in the order they were published, even though it bounced around back and forth. I wouldn’t mind some more takes on this issue. I wouldn’t watch Star Wars Episodes I-VI in order, or start by watching Star Trek: Enterprise. But I see a strong argument for either, here!

Is HornBlower a porn star name?

If not, it should be! :slight_smile: