Monday, March 10, 2014

Honor, Duty, King and Country!

With the Olympics over, and my favorite television series done for the season, I found myself headed for my video library to find something decent to watch. Most of television is worthless. The myriad of channels that some folks carry don't offer anything worthwhile.
And so, I decided it was time to see a good A&E series I had purchased a while ago. The Horatio Hornblower adventures, wonderful sea stories originally written by C.S. Forestor, adapted for television, and well-done, I must add. I have read many of the books, and the series faithfully recreates the stories of the young mid-shipman on his way to a naval career. By the time the series ends, Horatio is a lieutenant in His Britannic Majesty's Royal Navy (the navy of King George III).
It is the time of the tall ships, and the blockade off the Channel, the Revolution in France, the code of honor and duty to King and Country. I just love this stuff. And, I love historical fiction, where the characters are placed in and among actual historic figures and situations. You get a feel for the times from a human perspective.

The best of the action takes place on HMS Indefatigable, which by the way, was a real ship of the line, built in 1761.And this particular ship was a 64-gun third-rate, Ardent class. It had a long career with several distinguished commanders throughout the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. She took over 27 prizes, and it and its crew received the issue of four clasps to the Naval General Service Medal in 1847 for its service. It's first commander  from 1794 to 1799 was Sir Edward Pellew, who is the Captain in the films, Hornblower's superior officer. Admiral Pellew was the 1st Viscount Exmount, a commander of courage, leadership and skill, a paragon of determination. Horatio learned from the best!

I recommend the series. It puts me in the mood to read another of the Hornblower series. There are 12 original stories, the first written in 1937, and some collections thereafter as Forestor continues to flesh out Horatio's earlier days and the times. Horatio is a parallel in personality to the young and promising Horatio Nelson. Yeah, the more I write here, the more I'm inspired to go to the bookstore!    

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