After his early adventures as a midshipman and lieutenant and his first command as captain, here we begin to see the mature Hornblower, sent on an extremely long and hazardous mission to the other side of the world, where he is entirely cut off from any possible support from a fleet commander or brothers in arms of any sort. The risks he faces go far beyond those faced in battle, to include messy, unpredictable international politics with shifting alliances. His determination and resourcefulness are tested to the limit, in twice having to attack and defeat an opposing vessel much more powerful than his own. And in the course of his journey, he meets and falls in love with the woman who will change his life forever.
As with all the Hornblower stories, this one is enhanced by rich detail about large sailing vessels and the harsh realities of life aboard a warship under sail, where the outcome of a battle may often hinge on a shift in the weather.
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