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Duels, storms and battles at sea are all described vividly in "Mr. Midshipman Hornblower" by C.S. Forester. I checked out this book because I'm a fan of the "Hornblower" movies and wanted to read the stories on which the A&E productions are based. I expected an "old-fashioned" sea story that was a bit musty and creaky after 50 years, but was surprised to find myself reading a lively book that might have been written by one of today's best-selling YA authors. Horatio Hornblower is a teenager who finds himself aboard a luckless ship called the Justinian. His fortunes soon improve with a transfer to Indefatigable under Captain Sir Edward Pellew. (The "Hornblower" films are perfectly cast with Ioan Griffud as the midshipman and Dorian Healy as Hornblower's nemesis with whom he fights a duel in the book. Robert Lindsay gives Captain Pellew a snarky touch in keeping with the sense of humor found in the book.) Each chapter of the book stands alone as a self-contained adventure, almost like a short story, which makes it an easy book to read in short bites. Although the book is listed as "adult fiction," it could easily be in the popular Young Adult category and I would highly recommend "Mr. Midshipman Hornblower" for teens--especially guys--looking for an exciting historical adventure that stars a character their age.

Recommended by David Healey

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