Beat to Quarters

Beat to Quarters

by C. S. Forester


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June 1808, somewhere west of Nicaragua-a site suitable for spectacular sea battles. The Admiralty has ordered Captain Horatio Hornblower, now in command of the thirty-six-gun HMS Lydia, to form an alliance against the Spanish colonial government with an insane Spanish landowner; to find a water route across the Central American isthmus; and "to take, sink, burn or destroy" the fifty-gun Spanish ship of the line Natividad or face court-martial. A daunting enough set of orders-even if the happily married captain were not woefully distracted by the passenger he is obliged to take on in Panama: Lady Barbara Wellesley.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316289320
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 09/30/1985
Series: Horatio Hornblower Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 121,206
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Date of Birth:

August 27, 1899

Date of Death:

April 2, 1966

Place of Birth:

Cairo, Egypt

Place of Death:

Berkeley, California


AlleynGuy's Medical School of the University of London

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Beat to Quarters 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
sggottlieb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved the Paul O'Brien Aubrey books and was recommended the Hornblower series. The Hornblower books are faster moving and easier to read. They also explore the character of the protagonist a little deeper.
Homechicken on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is probably the best Hornblower book so far in the series. Hornblower is sent to the Pacific Ocean side of South America on a special mission to aid a local governor against the Spanish. When he arrives, he finds that the guy he's supposed to help is now going by the name "El Supremo" and is more than a little crazy. Hornblower captures an aging ship of the line, the Natividad, the only Spanish vessel that could threaten his mission in the Pacific, and El Supremo claims it as his own. Later, Hornblower receives a message that England and Spain have made peace, and he now has to go after the Natividad again and stop him from killing the Spaniards.This story introduces Lady Barbara, who apparently becomes a major character later, but as of yet has just met Captain Hornblower. Lady Barbara and Hornblower certainly feel affection for one another, but it only complicates Hornblower's life and career.I enjoyed this book quite a lot, and understand that it was the first chronologically written book in the series. I hope the next few books are even better.
ocianain on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maybe the single best volume of nautical fiction.
MuseofIre on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Some exciting action/adventure, but Hornblower is a horrifying character who is pathologically unable to express what he feels. Can't hold a candle to the Aubrey/Maturin series.
usnmm2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first hornblower book Foster wrote but 6th in the overall series. Have read all in this series but this is still the best and maybe the best of this type of book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
High adventure on the high seas! This entire series is some of the best work of historical fiction I have ever read!
kyotelead More than 1 year ago
Best of a great series. Read them all!
jcrawford69 More than 1 year ago
Doesn't work with NOOK COLOR. B&N knows, but still has it for purchase.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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manlyreads More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that are part of a long series (12 books), but I must warn you, if you pick up this book, you are going to want to read every one. Beat to Quarters was the first Hornblower book Forester wrote, and it is the climax of all the Hornblower stories (So even though it's book #6, read it first). An intense tale of life aboard a ship of his majesty's service. Forester even throws in a twist with a love story that will expounded upon in his later books. Check out more great books for men with my pen name plus .com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
basson_mommy12 More than 1 year ago
I finished Beat to Quarters last night and if C.S. Forester weren't already dead, I'd kill him. And this is a good thing. This so-called Book #6 is really the first novel in the Horatio Hornblower series, published in 1937. Forester wrote the other 1-5 stories as prequels [including the last publication, "Hornblower during the Crisis" (Horatio Hornblower Series #4) which is a collection of short stories and is unfinished], as well as books 7-11. I love how richly detailed these books are: I feel as if I could be pressed into the King's service of a ship of the line this morning and know my duties. Horatio Hornblower has been crafted as a hero of the mind, so much more than of action, though there is plenty of that here. Captain Hornblower of HMS frigate Lydia is on a secret mission to the Pacific to aid rebels rising against the Spanish, who in turn are allies of the ever-despised Napoleon Bonaparte. We meet "El Supremo" a despotic rebel leader convinced of his own divinity, and Lady Barbara, a member of a very important family, looking for safe passage from Panama in the face of a yellow fever outbreak. Despite my sadness at some news received near the conclusion of "Beat to Quarters," I realize the only reason I feel this so deeply is because of the effective story-telling by this master.
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Jarhead More than 1 year ago
There is action enough in a story about a complex character. Perhaps he is so complex because of his profession, naval officer in somewhat rigid social heirarchy, or his inability to be proud of what he accomplishes. The story opens with HMS Lydia in the pacific on secret orders. Hornblower is to help start a revolution against Spanish America, sink or capture a Spanish warship much larger than his and then cause the Spanish shipping interests as much harm as possible. He accomplishes the first two tasks (turning the captured warship over to the rebels) but finds that Spain has switched sides and is now an ally. So he has to find the rebel ship and sink it. All this is complicated by the arrival of Lady Barbara, a member of a very powerful family (the sister of the future Duke of Wellington). She insists on coming along. Hornblower is complex because he can not give himself credit to success and believes he lacks self control. For example, he doesn't talk to his officers beyond the barest minimum. He believes that to do so will hurt discipline. He will not allow his crew to see him happy, sad or worried because he believes that if they see he is human, they'll question his orders. In short he lacks self-confidence and is terrified that others will see that he is not daring or brave. Yet he is all of those things.
CLMcLendon More than 1 year ago
I can not remember when I officially became a fan of Horatio Hornblower, but I know that I am one now. Over the past few years I have been collecting every book written by C.S. Forester, slowly building a first edition library. In the meantime I have been enjoying the series through Barnes and Nobles. C.S. Forester was a gifted writer and has the envied ability to pull you into the story and allow you to understand what is going on even if you have never stepped into a boat or ship in your life. His characters are full and deceptively simple and fit into their era as if he lived the life of each and every one. I recommend all eleven books to anyone who cares to read!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
At first, it was evident to me that this was Forester's first HH book--Hornblower has a few strange ticks that I would not have expected from the previous 5 books. However, as the book goes on, he becomes more 'human' 'as Lady Barbara says at one point', and in all that he says, does, and thinks, he is the sometimes exasperating Hornblower one has grown to admire and love. As for the action--it is non-stop and engaging throughout and leaves one wanting more. Wish Forester had written a bit more about the deaths of HH's first two children, but then, that distance was part of the seafaring life, I suppose.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Beat to Quarters, Captain Horatio Hornblower sails to the western coast of South America. His mission: to deliver arms and aid to El Supremo, a Spanish landowner who has gone mad and fancies himself the direct descendent of an Aztec god, and thereby stir up a rebellion in the Spanish colonies. I found El Superemo to be one of the most entertaining minor characters in the Hornblower saga. Not nearly as entertaining (but more important for the series of the whole) is the introduction of Lady Barbara, Hornblower's love interest. The highlight of the book lies in the long and heroic battle between Hornblower's ship, Lydia, and a much stronger Spanish ship, a day-long massacre that shows Forester's knowledge of naval warfare and his clear yet moving style at their best.