The first three novels written, The Happy Return, A Ship of the Line, and Flying Colours were collected as Captain Horatio Hornblower (1939) by Little Brown in the US. Both a single-volume edition and a three-volume edition (in a slip case) were published.
Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, Lieutenant Hornblower, and Hornblower and the Atropos were compiled in one book, variously titled Hornblower's Early Years, Horatio Hornblower Goes to Sea, or The Young Hornblower. Hornblower and the Atropos was replaced by Hornblower and the Hotspur in later UK editions of The Young Hornblower.
Hornblower and the Atropos, The Happy Return, and A Ship of the Line were compiled into one omnibus edition, called Captain Hornblower.
Flying Colours, The Commodore, Lord Hornblower, and Hornblower in the West Indies were presented as a third omnibus edition called Admiral Hornblower to fill out the series.
Commodore Hornblower, Lord Hornblower, and Hornblower in the West Indies were also compiled into one book, called The Indomitable Hornblower.
Four "Cadet Editions" were released by Little Brown and later by Michael Joseph, each collecting two Hornblower novels and edited for younger readers: Hornblower Goes to Sea (1953, 1954), from Mr. Midshipman Hornblower and Lieutenant Hornblower; Hornblower Takes Command (1953, 1954), from Hornblower and The Atropos and Beat To Quarters; Hornblower in Captivity (1939, 1955), from A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours; and Hornblower's Triumph (1946, 1955), from Commodore Hornblower and Lord Hornblower.
The short stories "The Hand of Destiny," "Hornblower's Charitable Offering," and "Hornblower and His Majesty" plus other Hornblower material not previously published in book-form was collected in Hornblower One More Time (Jul 4, 1976) though only 350 copies were printed.
Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (1950) The year is 1793, the eve of the Napoleonic Wars, and Horatio Hornblower, a seventeen-year-old boy unschooled in seafaring and the ways of seamen, is ordered to board a French merchant ship and take command of crew and cargo for the glory of England. Though not an unqualified success, this first naval adventure teaches the young midshipman enough to launch him on a series of increasingly glorious exploits. This novel-in which young Horatio gets his sea legs, proves his mettle, and shows the makings of the legend he will become-is the first of the eleven swashbuckling Hornblower tales that are today regarded as classic adventure stories of the sea.
Lieutenant Hornblower (1952) In this gripping tale of turmoil and triumph on the high seas, Horatio Hornblower emerges from his apprenticeship as midshipman to face new responsibilities thrust upon him by the fortunes of war between Napoleon and Spain. Enduring near-mutiny, bloody hand-to-hand combat with Spanish seamen, deck-splintering sea battles, and the violence and horror of life on the fighting ships of the Napoleonic Wars, the young lieutenant distinguishes himself in his first independent command. He also faces an adventure unique in his experience: Maria.
Hornblower and the Hotspur (1962) April 1803. The Peace of Amiens is breaking down. Napoleon is building ships and amassing an army just across the Channel. Horatio Hornblower-who, at age twenty-seven, has already distinguished himself as one of the most daring and resourceful officers in the Royal Navy-commands the three-masted Hotspur on a dangerous reconnaissance mission that evolves, as war breaks out, into a series of spectacular confrontations. All the while, the introspective young commander struggles to understand his new bride and mother-in-law, his officers and crew, and his own "accursed unhappy temperament"-matters that trouble him more, perhaps, than any of Bonaparte's cannonballs.
Hornblower during the Crisis (1967) Although unfinished at the time of C. S. Forester's death, Hornblower During the Crisis delivers a full measure of action at sea-the hallmark of this incomparably exciting series of historical adventures. On the threshold of securing his first post as captain, Hornblower finds himself forced by the exigencies of war to fight alongside a man whom he has unintentionally helped to court-martial. And for the first time Hornblower assents to engaging in espionage in his efforts to bring victory and glory to England in the Napoleonic Wars. This extant fragment of Forester's final Hornblower novel is followed by the author's notes regarding the novel's conclusion. Also included in this volume are two stories-"Hornblower's Temptation" and "The Last Encounter"-that depict the great sea dog Hornblower in his youth and old age, respectively.
Hornblower and the Atropos (1953) In the wake of a humbling incident aboard a canal boat in the Cotswolds, young Captain Horatio Hornblower arrives in London to take command of the Atropos, a 22-gun sloop barely large enough to require a captain. Her first assignment under Hornblower's command is as flagship for the funeral procession of Lord Nelson. Soon Atropos is part of the Mediterranean Fleet's harassment of Napoleon, recovering treasure that lies deep in Turkish waters and boldly challenging a Spanish frigate several times her size. At the center of each adventure is Hornblower, Forester's most inspired creation, whose blend of cautious preparation and spirited execution dazzles friend and foe alike
Beat to Quarters (1937) 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.
Ship of the Line (1938) May 1810, seventeen years deep into the Napoleonic Wars. Captain Horatio Hornblower is newly in command of his first ship of the line, the seventy-four-gun HMS Sutherland, which he deems "the ugliest and least desirable two-decker in the Navy List." Moreover, she is 250 men short of a full crew, so Hornblower must enlist and train "poachers, bigamists, sheepstealers," and other landlubbers. By the time the Sutherland reaches the blockaded Catalonian coast of Spain, the crew is capable of staging five astonishing solo raids against the French. But the grisly prospect of defeat and capture looms for both captain and crew as the Sutherland single-handedly takes on four French ships.
Flying Colors (1938) Forced to surrender his ship, the Sutherland, after a long and bloody battle, Captain Horatio Hornblower now bides his time as a prisoner in a French fortress. Within days he and his first lieutenant, Bush, who was crippled in the last fight, are to be taken to Paris to be tried on trumped-up charges of violating the laws of war, and most probably executed as part of Napoleon's attempt to rally the warweary empire behind him. Even if Hornblower escapes this fate and somehow finds his way back to England, he will face court-martial for his surrender of a British ship. As fears for his life and his reputation compete in his mind with worries about his pregnant wife and his possibly widowed lover, the indomitable captain imetierntly awaits the chance to make his next move.
Commodore Hornblower (1945) We again find Captain Horatio Hornblower in this the 9th volume, chronologically, of the Hornblower Saga, off on a new adventure to the Baltic in 1812, when Napoleon's army marches into Russia. He comes through raids, assignations, a siege, an attempted assassination by a member of his crew , and typhus, seeking success but not notoriety, while his introspection sometimes overwhelms him. According to his biographer, Hornblower's swift actions using ungainly bomb-ketches, landed marines and his naval insight for strategy and tactics probably had major influences on the retreat of Napoleon from Russia. Another great read.
Lord Hornblower (1946) Weary of the war that he has waged nearly his entire life, Hornblower finds himself assigned an especially dangerous and dubious new task: to rescue a man he knows to be a tyrant from the mutiny of his crew in the Bay of the Seine. This risky adventure, coinciding with reports that the tide of war may be turning-as Wellington has swept over the Pyrenees and the Russians have reached the Rhine-propels Hornblower toward the heart of the French Empire, toward a fateful reunion with old friends, and toward the harrowing but glorious conclusion of his own battle with Napoleon.
Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies (1946) Napoleon is finally defeated, but the world, far from falling into an easy rhythm of peace, seethes. France's empire is ripe for plucking, her citizens for revanche. Out of retirement and into this maelstrom comes Hornblower, assigned military and diplomatic chores for which only he is suited. The reader's anticipation is not disappointed, for where Hornblower sails, the law prevails -- and in this final voyage with the Admiral, he has never been more engaging or in greater command.