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The year is 1808 and somewhere off the coast of Nicaragua, C.S. Forester's hero returns, ready to embark on his next swashbuckling adventure.
The fifth instalment in the series, The Happy Return follows Captain Horatio Hornblower as he commands the thirty-six-gun frigate, HMS Lydia. Sent out on a mission to weaken the colonial Spanish government, Horatio must form an alliance with a narcissistic revolutionary leader with delusions of grandeur, who goes by the name of 'El Supremo'.
Simultaneously faced with an advancing Spanish fleet and their far superior fifty-gun ship, Natividad, Horatio must find a way to 'take, sink, burn or destroy' his enemies or fail and be made to face the British courts. Adding insult to injury, Horatio is furthermore challenged by the arrival of a singularly attractive passenger, the influential Lady Barbara Wellesley. Vulnerable, alone and seeking passage to England, Horatio cannot refuse the lady, but as a happily married man, he finds himself tortured by Barbara's tempting nature and astounding beauty.
An English novelist, C.S. Forester was highly praised by his contemporaries for his Napoleonic naval warfare series, and later for the publication of The African Queen.
Despite his natural ability and endless imagination, Forester came to writing much later than expected. Having originally studied medicine at Guy's Hospital, it was only after his travels with the Royal Navy that he was artistically inspired, developing in particular, a fervent love of story-telling. Sadly stricken with arteriosclerosis whilst voyaging to the Bering Sea, C.S. Forester was crippled in his later life, but his imagination and his skill with a pen survived for years to come.
Christian Rodska is an English television and voice actor best known for his role in the 1970s series Follyfoot.
From The Monuments Men and The Eagle of the Ninth to The Likely Lads, Z Cars, The Tomorrow People, Coronation Street, Bergerac and Casualty, his extensive and diverse acting career has led him to become a highly solicited radio and audiobook narrator.
He has now voiced over 150 unabridged audiobooks including Winston Churchill's biographies, Evelyn Waugh's Men at Arms and Sebastian Faulks' A Possible Life. He has been praised for his ability to vary in vocal pace and style and as such, Christian boasts 12 Earphone Awards from Audiofile Magazine.
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Good audiobook brought to life by Christian Rodska
I haven't read the print version. If I did, I would choose Kindle, because then I could instantly look up all the nautical terms. As it was, I consulted Wikipedia a few times.
Hornblower himself - although a friend of mine says his self doubts become very annoying after a while.
I liked Wellesley's sister too, and her relationship with Hornblower.
He's a one man cast. He has a great set of easily recognisable voices, including a credible Spanish accent, and very clear diction.
Amusingly, given how effortless his reading of the text is, he appears to struggle with the chapter numbers.
If you've never read/listened to a Hornblower story, they are pretty much what you'd expect, done very well.
- Dr Caterpillar