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"Vivid...intense and exciting." (New York Times Book Review)
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By Emrys on 02-04-12
Poor narration; not Forester's best story
This is an abridged version, but frankly I'm glad it is because I found the narrator so annoying I wanted it to be over. Patrick Manee narrates in a ridiculously lugubrious manner. He reads painfully slowly, and constantly goes into a strange singsong mode, elongating the vowels to a ridiculous extent when reading dialogue. It's OK, perhaps, when rendering the speech of a rustic bargeman at the beginning; but it's quite inappropriate when Hornblower is supposed to be snapping orders in a crisis. Christian Rodska, who narrates many of the other Hornblower novels is consistently superb, and his performances shine even brighter compared to this rendering.
I found the story disappointing also. Even though it's abridged, uninteresting scenes seem to be drawn out: e.g. the opening journey down canal and river to London. It's not a patch on Lieutenant Hornblower or Mr Midshipman Hornblower.
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