This is probably the least engrossing of the Hornblower series, primarily because only the first part concerns a seagoing adventure, where Hornblower is always at his best. The remainder has to do with his administrative role during the final days of Napoleon's downfall -- and later his off-duty and ultimately tragic relationship with Marie de Gracay. As a man in command of a ship, faced with the elemental challenges of wind, weather and enemy cannons, devising ways to achieve the most with the material and human capital under his command, Hornblower is a man of remarkable abilities; removed from that environment, he is almost always a lesser man and less interesting.
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