1793, the eve of the Napoleonic Wars, and Midshipman Horatio Hornblower receives his first command . As a seventeen-year-old with a touch of sea sickness, young Horatio Hornblower hardly cuts a dash in His Majesty’s navy. Yet from the moment he is ordered to board a French merchant ship in the Bay of Biscay and take command of crew and cargo, he proves his seafaring mettle on the waves. With a character-forming duel, several chases and some strange tavern encounters, the young Hornblower is soon forged into a formidable man of the sea. This is the first of eleven books chronicling the nautical adventures of C. S. Forester’s inimitable hero, Horatio Hornblower.