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Fri, Dec. 7th, 2018, 12:46 pm
Weekly Book Review

Next on the list of reviews from the files of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers is...
III Minutes To XII: The Last Secrets of the Bible

By Ed Des Autel

Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

         How long ago were Adam and Eve on the Earth?  Where was the Garden of Eden?  What really happened when Cain killed Abel?  Were angels really spiritual beings, or were they aliens from an advanced civilization?  These are some of the questions the author asks and attempts to answer based on his research of the Bible, ancient monuments is South and Central America, and non-canonized texts from long ago.  He also looks at future possibilities as revealed by the research he has done.
         This volume fits in with those who believe or suspect the present of aliens from far away worlds in the earliest eras of man’s history on earth.  It also offers something to those who feel there is more to the stories told in Genesis and other Books of the Old Testament.
         It does, however take some work to read this book.  There is a lot of repetition of Biblical and other verses, which slows down the process of determining the overall message.  While quoting these passages, the author has parenthetically inserted words or terms to help clarify meanings.  After several repeated insertions, most readers instinctively understand the duality, and additional words or phrases are now distracting.
         If we can make it through these obstacles in reading, we find an alternate explanation of early Earth history that makes some sense.  Yet, much of what is suggested does not fit with what science currently tells us to be true.  It is possible of course; that what we think we know is in error, and then all of this would mesh.
         The possibilities suggested by this book are fascinating and the author is to be commended for his single-minded dedication and research.  However, the information could have, should have been presented in a much smoother and easier to read fashion.

Fri, Nov. 30th, 2018, 03:39 pm
NaNoWriMo Progress

I didn't sign up to do NaNoWriMo, but I have been paralleling it, or as they say with some classes, I've been "auditing" it.  My idea was to work along with the annual Novel Writing Contest to get back on track with the third Stone Island Sea Story.  I'd started it several years ago and for the past few, hadn't made much progress on it.

Somewhere, somehow I ended up with this NaNoWriMo logo, perhaps from last year?

It looks like I'm back on track, as I've no doubt mentioned a few times over the past month.  Basically I've doubled what I'd written up to the first of the month.  And I still have one more writng session to go later this evening.  After last night I'm eight pages short of doubling what I'd written before.  Started with 140 pages and now have 272.  And I've more than doubled the word count, going from 38633 to 79543 total.  In other words I've added 132 more pages and another 40910 words.  If this turns out like the first two books, I'm probably about 2/3 done with it.  It'll probably end up at about 420 pages and around 120k words.  Then of course with some revision and editing it'll drop a bit.
Logo for the Inland Northwest Corvair Club

I've noticed as I worked on the first two, and I'm sure it will happen with this one, that when I edit and revise, rewrite and re-work, that I usually end up taking things out and end up shortening things.  That's a contrast to when I was in school, and when I wrote the original basic story that is becomeing the Stone Island Sea Stories.  Then it seemed I added to something when I rewrote or revised.  I also find myself taking things out when I work on stuff for the newsletters I do, both the Rear Engine Review for the Inland Northwest Corvair Club and SASP News for Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.

Logo for Spokane Publishers and Self-Publishers
So I feel like the month has been well worth it.  If I would have done some writing that one day I was at the high school arts and crafts fair, I think I would have doubled the page count which was sort of my goal.  And if I'm really creative later tonight, I still might do that, or I will come really close.  And it looks like I'll end up coming really close to the NaNoWriMo goal of 50k words as well.  However that was never really a goal of mine.  The main thing was just to get back to writing and making some progress.  On that count I think I've been more than successful.

Finally, I finished reading Captain Horatio Hornblower: Ship Of The Line a day or so ago.  Earlier today I posted my review of it here on Live Journal.  Today started reading Captain Horatio Hornblower: Flying Colours, which is the final part of the original, first Hornblower stories.  If all goes as it has been with reading the Hornblower series again, I should be done with it in a week or so.  When I am, I'll post the review for it as well.

Fri, Nov. 30th, 2018, 02:20 pm
Another Bonus Book Review

So happens that I completed my read of Captain Horatio Hornblower: Ship of the Line by C. S. Forester a day or so ago.  Figure I might as well go ahead and post my review of it while I'm thinking of it.
Once again, I don't have any cover art/images for the Hornblower books. This time I'll include my somewhat crude image of a two decked ship of the line)
Ship of the Line

a rather crude attempt to "photo-shop" a picture of a ship of the line.

By C. S. Forester
Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

            This is early classic Hornblower, the second novel written, and the second part of the larger Captain Horatio Hornblower trilogy.  Having salvaged some success from his recent secret mission to the Pacific, Horatio Hornblower now commands a ship of the line, HMS Sutherland (74).  His wife Maria is expecting, but Hornblower’s heart lies with his recent passenger, Lady Barbara Wellesley.  She in turn has married Rear Admiral Leighton under whose command he will soon sail.  Beyond the complications of his personal life, Hornblower’s career depends upon fully manning his ship.
            Sutherland and the two other ships of Leighton’s squadron sail to the Mediterranean, escorting a convoy of East Indiamen.  As the merchant vessels and their naval escort part ways, Hornblower, with Sutherland still undermanned, brashly raids the convoy for hands, justifying his actions upon a chance comment that all had volunteered.  When two of the three vessels arrive at the rendezvous ahead of Leighton, Hornblower is temporarily authorized to cruise independently.  He and Sutherland play havoc with French shipping and military operations in the Western Mediterranean, often resorting to legitimate ruses of war in order to accomplish his mission.
            After leading an ill-advised land based assault on Rosas, Hornblower finds Sutherland on the point of the spear as four French ships of the line make a break for the open sea.  Resolutely he takes his single vessel into combat with the four while waiting for the remainder of Leighton’s squadron to close in.  Assistance does not arrive, the results are predictable, and Hornblower is forced to surrender.
            While this volume has as much, if not more, combat and at-sea action as any of the books in the Hornblower saga, it once again is the character of Hornblower that is the most intriguing.  It is to C. S. Forester’s credit that the complex tale of a very complicated individual is told with straight forward simplicity.  Hornblower’s fear of failure, lack of belief in himself, and conflicting emotional attachments sometimes grate on the reader’s nerves, and yet make him all that more human.  Nor is the author without a sense of humor regarding Hornblower’s exploits in the Mediterranean.  Having left their clothes ashore in order to swim out and attack a French coaster, he and the entire raiding party are forced to return to and board Sutherland wearing nothing but smiles.  Following destruction of the coaster, its vengeful crew discovered and destroyed their clothing.
            Even as a part of the larger Captain Horatio Hornblower trilogy, this work stands on its own in many ways.  There are relatively few references to other portions of Hornblower’s career, and for once this reviewer cannot find any technical matters worth taking the author to task about.  Unfortunately this portion of the larger story gets short thrift in the 1951 movie starring Gregory Peck.  About two thirds to three quarters of that film cover the first book, Beat to Quarters, while the second two are squeezed into the final third or quarter of the motion picture.
            The recently read copy is one of a set encompassing the original Hornblower stories and currently in the possession of the reviewer.  All three are old, although it cannot be claimed that they are first editions.  Because of the time they were produced, no ISBN or price information is available.       

Fri, Nov. 30th, 2018, 02:06 pm
Weekly Book Review

We are getting close to the end of the reviews in the files of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  (I have access because I do the web-site for the group.)  I think there are two or three more that I'll post over the next few weeks.
Anyway, here's the next one on the list.  The author, who is no longer with us, was one of the founders of SASP.
This and all of the reviews from the files of SASP that I've posted here are also available on the SASP web-site.  (For the most part the reviews are of books written by SASP members, reviewed by SASP members.)

Those Navy Guys and Their PBY’s

The Aleutian Solution

Elmer Freeman

Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

       This is an informative, educational, and entertaining book.  With candor, a bit of humor, and at times the right amount of self-depreciation, the author relates his wartime experiences in a relatively unknown operational area.

       For most Americans, World War II was an “overseas” war, with little thought given to fighting on our own continent, yet early in the conflict, Japan attempted to establish a foothold on the North American continent.  On the leading edge of a thinly spread defense, Navy patrol planes fought the enemy, operated from primitive bases, and endured some of the worst weather imaginable.  With the Navy’s “can-do” attitude, American “know-how,” ingenuity, and personal courage, they succeeded.

       Those Navy Guys and Their PBY’s is Elmer Freeman’s personal accounting of the little known and often overlooked war in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.  Having enlisted in the Navy prior to America’s entry into the war, he went to school to become an Aviation Machinist Mate.  Early on he was in the beaching crew that retrieved his squadron’s PBY seaplanes from the water.  Gaining experience, he became part of a flight crew.  During Freeman’s advancement to senior enlisted man (plane captain) aboard the aircraft, the United States became involved in World War II.  Operations shifted from the Seattle area to the Aleutians to prevent Japanese forces from establishing a presence in North America.  That effort was not entirely successful, as the enemy did for a time occupy two islands in the chain.

       This is not only Freeman’s story, but that of all men of the Navy’s Patrol Plane Squadrons that took part in the campaign.  It also pays tribute to Army and Army Air Force personnel who played an equally important role.

       Those Navy Guys and Their PBY’s is richly illustrated with dozens photographs and maps, both from the author’s collection and other accredited sources.  Self-published, a second printing of the revised edition occurred in 2002.  ISBN 0-9632463-1-3 sells for $18.95 (plus $3.00 shipping) and is available form Kedging Publishing Company, 1124 W. 8th Ave., Spokane, WA 99204   


Sun, Nov. 25th, 2018, 03:07 pm
A Progress Report

As you probably know, I'm paralleling (auditing?) NaNoWriMo this month.  I'm not officially participating, but I am trying to get back into writing on a regular basis.  So far I've managed to get a little something done everyday except one.  (I was busy selling books and prints of paintings at a high school craft fair.)  When the month began I'd completed nine chapters, 140 pages and about 38,500 words in the third Stone Island Sea Story.  And I wrote the majority of that way back when I was on sick leave recovering from my first hernia surgery... about ten years ago.

Anyway, when I ended yesterday I'd written another six chapters, 108 pages, and about 33k words.  If I can keep going until the end of the month I'm sure I'll more than double the word count and should come close to doing the same with pages. By then I should be on the home stretch, and even if I slow down a tad bit, I can see having it completed by the end of the year.

Then of course it'll be time for some rewriting, some revision, and as much editing as I can do before (or while) letting a few others take a look.  I know the final word count will come down as I work on refining it, and there are a few scenes that might end up being pared down or eliminated all together.  That seems to be the case with how I write now.

Eva worked on Thanksgiving, and in the afternoon and evening so we've postponed our dinner until today.  Jessica will be over later and we'll have our turkey... only a few days late, but easier than trying to cram it all in on a day when we all can't really enjoy it.  And that means that I may not get to the writing today... a bit of a break would be nice and I'm quite satisfied with what I've accomplished so far this month.

Reading wise I'm continuing on with Captain Horatio Hornblower: Vol II: Ship-Of-The-Line.  Rough guess is that I'm about one third to half done with it.

Coco at Thanksgiving last year. Still a wee pup then, maybe 11 or 12 wks old.

Here he is at the start of this month, showing off his new Seattle Seahawks jacket and examining my shoe!

Fri, Nov. 23rd, 2018, 02:52 pm
Bonus Book Review

As you no doubt know, I'm in the process of reading C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower stories for probably the eighth or ninth time in my life.  I'm reading them in order of his fictional life and career, and not the order in which Forester wrote them.  As I complete each volume I am trying to remember to post the review that I have written in the past.  I recently finished reading Captain Horatio Hornblower, vol I, Beat to Quarters (or The Happy Return) and here is my review of it.  As far as I know, it was the first Hornblower book ever published.  (Once again I have no cover art/cover image available so I'm substituting one of my paintings.)

I've just started reading Captain Horatio Hornblower, vol II, Ship Of The Line
Beat to Quarters/The Happy Return

(All Plain Sail, a typical USN frigate, but closest I have to HMS Lydia)

By C. S. Forester
Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney
           In the early nineteenth century, Captain Horatio Hornblower voyages from England, avoiding all contact with land or other ships, and makes a perfect landfall along the Pacific coast of Central America.  His secret mission is to support a rebellion against Spain and further England’s efforts against France’s ally.  But when he arrives, he finds the rebel leader mad, and that Spain has changed sides.  These events counter the original intent of Hornblower’s orders.  Having already captured a ship larger than his thirty-six gun frigate, Lydia, he is now forced to pursue and defeat Natividad again.  His life is further complicated by the presence of Lady Barbara Wellesley and the cavalier attitude of Spanish authorities in Panama.
            This story takes place a good way into Hornblower’s career, but it was the first of the series written by Forester.  Many back story details do not match those in later books covering the earlier portions of Hornblower’s life.  Beat to Quarters reads as if William Bush is serving with Hornblower for the first time.  No mention is made of them having been lieutenants in Renown, or captain and first lieutenant aboard Hotspur.  In this accounting, Hornblower had been a lieutenant, rather than a post captain during the capture of the Castilla, as later described in Hornblower and the Atropos.
            Hornblower’s age does not add up either.  He is mentioned as being thirty-seven years old, and if he was indeed born on July 4, 1776, this story would have taken place in 1813.  Yet C. S. Forester’s Hornblower Companion shows the majority of this adventure occurring in July of 1808.  This book mentions six years have passed since capturing Castilla, while more recent writings suggest that Hornblower went directly from commanding Atropos to captaining Lydia.
            These discrepancies can be attributed to Forester writing the Hornblower books in non chronological order.  They were not written in order of his career, but were penned at various times to fill gaps existing in the over all story.  The author appears to have been developing the story over the entire time it was being written.
            These are minor complaints regarding an excellent story.  As always, Forester’s writing is clear, precise, and a pleasure to read.  Written in the 1930s, it reflects the style and sentiment of an earlier time.  Profanity and graphic detail are nearly non-existent, and much of the narration is from a greater distance than is currently acceptable.  While some readers might be offended by national and racial stereotyping, it is relatively mild and simply reflects the time in which the story was written.  Perhaps it also is indicative of the time in which it is set.
            It is the creation of the complex character known as Horatio Hornblower in which Forester excels.  Here is an individual who comes across, not as a hero, sure of his abilities, but as one with perhaps more than his share of human frailties.  Despite his intelligence and bravery, Hornblower cannot see himself as others do.  It is his fear of failure, his feeling that he is unworthy, that drives him to achieve the impossible.  Even then, success is not a mark of accomplishment, but a sign of survival.  Hornblower’s inability to see his true worth makes him that much more human.  Therefore he does not come across as a larger than life character, but as one whom nearly everyone can identify with.
            Beat to Quarters/The Happy Return is the first part of a three part series, usually referred to as Captain Horatio Hornblower.  It was soon followed by Ship of the Line and Flying Colours.  Those three stories were combined in the early 1950s movie Captain Horatio Hornblower, starring Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo.  As it usually happens, many details of the story were changed in producing the movie.  A few characters exist in the film that did not appear in print, even though scenes can often be identified and crossed from one version to the next.  A notable characteristic of the film is that about three-quarters of it deal with events from the first of the three books.  These events are covered in great if not always exacting detail.  The last portion of the movie basically provides a visual synopsis of the remainder of the overall story.  Ship of the Line and Flying Colours are pretty much glossed over as the film winds its way to a conclusion.
            Unlike past reviews of C. S. Forester’s Hornblower books, this reviewer did not note any technical problems regarding the author’s descriptions of vessels or weaponry.  If any existed, it may have escaped attention due to a more concentrated search for inconsistencies between this and other stories of the Hornblower saga.
            As the United States of America prepares to celebrate its 235th Anniversary, let all those who appreciate the character of Horatio Hornblower prepare to celebrate his Birthday as well.  We might all wonder at C. S. Forester’s motivation in designating July 4, 1776 as the date of birth for his most famous character, but regardless of his reasons, Happy Birthday USA, and Happy Birthday Horatio Hornblower! (Obviously I wrote this review a few years ago.)
            This reviewer considers himself to be quite fortunate in having copies of the three earliest Hornblower books dating from the time of first publication.  They can not with certainty be said to be first editions, and their physical condition is such that they are probably not of any great value.  Yet they are old enough to give Copyright dates of 1938 and 1939.  Nor do they list any ISBN or Library of Congress information.

Fri, Nov. 23rd, 2018, 02:34 pm
Weekly Book Review

Here's another set of reviews from the files of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  If you are interested in books by relatively unknown independent authors, you might want to visit the web-site.  Visit the "Members" page to learn about members and the books they've written.  The "News" page and latest editions of the newsletter list those available on Amazon.  Possibly you might discover an author whose books you really enjoy!

Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

         Private investigator Emily Trace is called upon to determine why the classic car runs great, except at a certain spot along the road.  Delving into that situation also reveals problems with the internet and strange lights in the sky.  As Christmas time approaches, and as the coldest snowiest winter in years engulfs the town, she tackles these mysteries while also investigating the deaths of her late husband, his grandfather, and most recently, an arson fire.  She is aided by a deputy sheriff, her office staff, a former teacher, and friends who are not from this world.  Is there an extraterrestrial plot to conquer Earth?  Will she discover and stop it in time?
         Sue Eller writes in an easy conversational manner.  The story is in first person; as if the reader is listening to Emily relate her tale while sitting at the kitchen table drinking cup after cup of coffee.  Even the little asides, which writers today are admonished to avoid, fit right in with the casual tone and add, rather than detract from the narration.  While the story is for the most part light and perhaps even cozy in nature, it also touches on some deeper darker aspects of human nature.
         This blend of Science Fiction and Mystery is enjoyable, easy to read, and hard to put down.  Taming of the T-Bird is available on-line in both e-book and paperback versions, and in bookstores near the author’s home of Spokane, Washington.   

Reviewed by Bob Hildahl

         This is the second book of the Emily Trace Mystery series. It's about Emily Trace who has a detective agency in Spokane, Washington called "E.T. Investigations." She drinks coffee to excess, which I can clearly identify with, and she has an amusing "bird" clock in her office that sings out different bird songs on the hour. It's wintertime, snowy and freezing cold.
         The story begins with her first client telling her a strange tale. He purchased a used T-Bird, but every time he drives it home from work, it quits on him at the exact same spot. At the same time, bright lights swoop over him and seem to be headed for Tekoa Mountain. Then the car starts right up again! Can Emily solve this mystery?
         While she is working on the T-Bird mystery and the possibility that aliens are trying to take over our planet, her mother-in-law's house burns to the ground. And the fire marshal suspects arson. Could this be related to her husband, Jared's unsolved murder? After all, this was the reason she started her detective agency to begin with.
         If you like science fiction and mysteries, you must read this book. It is well written with great characters. The story is exciting and it's a hard book to put down from the first chapter to the end.
         Available in Spokane area bookstores and on Amazon and Kindle.

Reviewed by James Parry
         In this, the second in the Emily Trace Mystery series, Emily, through her E.T. Detective Agency, continues her relentless pursuit of her husband’s killer.   However, she, once again, (because of the misinterpretation of “E.T.”) finds herself entangled with clients wanting to find the cause(s) of supernatural happenings.   Emily is able to solve all of their extraterrestrial problems, but we will have to wait for the third book to find out who caused her husband’s death. Is it related to the alien problem or is it a totally separate case?  Stay tuned.
         A well-written, fast-paced book in which Emily speaks to the reader in a first-person, conversational tone.  A wonderful, easy read that’s out of this world!  Great for the sci-fi fan and/or the murder mystery aficionado.
         Available at Auntie’s, Hastings, & Amazon (I think?)

Reviewed by Kate Poitevin

         Well, Sue Eller has done it again!  The sequel to Meadowlark Madness is every bit as engaging and entertaining.  The whole gang is there with a few new additions.  Emily is getting used to clients "from out of town" and handles them with her usual humor and quirky asides. But all is not fun and games.  There are sinister things happening in her private life and Darla might also be in danger.  Ms. Eller touches on the pain and fear of domestic violence with grace and sincerity.  If you liked the first one, you must get 'Taming of the T-Bird'.  Dang, I must have a cup of coffee ...

Reviewed by Larry Danek

              A really entertaining book!
         This is the second in the Emily Trace series by Sue Eller and I found it to be as good or better than her first one.  It's a scifi / mystery story that is entertaining and fun to read.  I couldn't put it down
         I recommend this book to one and all.

Tue, Nov. 20th, 2018, 04:15 pm
Excerpt: 3rd Stone Island Sea Story

A few days ago someone on Twitter asked if writers ever included odd or unusual references in their work.
I responded and quickly mentioned the excerpt below. (from chapter seven of Darnahsian Pirates) 

            Evangeline left and Pierce settled into the comfortable chair.  He nudged the candle closer and picked up a book he’d brought with him, one that he’d been reading during the voyage from London.
            He was engrossed in the story when she returned.  “I’m sure you are tired, my dear.  You should sleep.”
            He chuckled in an absent-minded sort of way.
            “You find that amusing?”
            “Oh, not that.  It’s a coincidence here in what I’m reading.  It’s a continuing story, spread out over several books.  Our hero meets the young lady of his dreams in the seventh chapter of the first book.  Now, in the third, they are once again together, in the seventh chapter.  I just thought it a bit odd, that’s all.”

By chance, Edward Pierce met Evangeline in Chapter Seven of Beyond the Ocean's Edge, and aside from a brief meeting at the end of Sailing Dangerous Waters and in an earlier chapter in the third book, they are once again together in Chapter Seven of the Third book.


Thu, Nov. 15th, 2018, 04:13 pm
Midweek Update

So here we are, halfway through the month.  I've manage to get a little something written on Stone Island Sea Story no. 3 on everyday but one, including today.  Actual word count for the month is at 18,381 and I have about 64 pages.  Having actually worked at it for fourteen days, I'm averaging just over four and a half pages a day and 1,313 words a day.  If I stay on pace I should end up completing a touch over 38,000 words by the end of the month.  The overall story is at a shade over 57,000 words and just over 200 pages now.

Preliminary sketch or doodle for  "Helm, Steer Between Them," cover art for Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story (book # 2)
I possibly could be a couple thousand words, a few pages ahead of where I am, but yesterday I decided I needed to make out an "event calendar" covering the time in which these stories take place.  I was starting to lose track of when certain events happened in the earlier stories and I wanted a quick a ready reference for those things.  Don't want some sharp eyed math genius reader to realize they made a voyage via sailing ship half way around the world in three weeks, or something like that.  So laid out a chart on a spread sheet, going from 1801 up to 1812 or so and then skimmed through the first two books to get a basic idea of when certain key points took place.  Hopefully it will help me from being too far off with regards to  times, distances, etc.

An in progress look at what became the cover art for the second book.
I'm sure I've mentioned now and then that I'm more of a "pantser" or instinctive writer than a plotter, planner, or outliner type.  I don't out line, but I do have a basic plan in my head.  I try to follow it some what, but I'm always open to change as I go along.  It's the stuff I've already written I need to keep track off.  Thus I created a list of characters several years ago.  Sometimes I even use that if I can't remember exactly how I spelled a character's name.  (Is it Newbury or Newberry?)  And everyonce in awhile I remember that a certain character existed and I want to bring him or her back, but don't remember the name at all.  Maybe a sign of growing a little older.  BTW the list of charactors is on the web-site.  I think it's under "RESEARCH" and probably is the only thing there.  It might have or provide a couple spoilers, so beware if you have a problem with them.

So anyway, that's where I'm at with trying to get back into this writing thing.

Thu, Nov. 15th, 2018, 03:42 pm
Bonus Book Review

As I'm sure I've mentioned several times as of late, I'm in the process of reading the Hornblower series by C. S. Forester one more time.  As I'm reading, I'm trying to post reviews I've previously written of those books.  I finished this one a few days ago, so, here is...

Hornblower and the Atropos

(I don't have the cover art for this book so I'm substituting one of my sunken ship paintings.  It might be appropriate as they do seek to salvage a fortune in gold from a sunken ship.)

C. S. Forester
Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

            After reading Hornblower during the Crisis, a work which felt unrefined and not quite ready for publication, it was a joy to begin Hornblower and the Atropos.  This book follows the former in terms of Hornblower’s life and career, but it was written at an earlier time.
            The beginning presents a rare view of Hornblower as husband and father.  He is accompanied by Maria, expecting their second child, and little Horatio as he journeys via canal to London.  There Hornblower is to take up his first command as a post captain in the Royal Navy.  Despite his sometimes callous treatment, it is apparent that Hornblower has grown quite attached and protective of Maria.  While he seems to relish domestic life, it is clear that the Navy and devotion to duty are at the forefront of his priorities.
            Once in London, finally in command of HMS Atropos, and facing the eminent birth of his second child, Hornblower is detailed to organize the water-borne portion of Lord Nelson’s funeral ceremony.  History does not readily provide the name of the individual who actually orchestrated this event, but Forester does well to give the responsibility to Hornblower.  With attention to detail and a sharp fear of failure, the relatively junior post captain succeeds, even when faced with the near sinking of the barge carrying Nelson’s remains.  While quite hilarious in some ways, this incident is another challenge for Hornblower to overcome.
            Further endeavors include the capture of a French privateer masquerading as a British trawler, the recovery of treasure from under the noses of the Turkish authorities, and the capture of a large Spanish frigate.  Further complicating Hornblower’s life is the presence of a German prince, a relative of King George III, his Secretary of State, three divers from Ceylon, and a rather unpleasant salvage master.
            Hornblower and the Atropos is one of the better books in the saga.  He comes across as a likable and real individual, carrying for his wife and family, dedicated to his duty, and all the while, unsure of his abilities.  As always, Hornblower cannot realize that others, his superiors, see and appreciate those skills.
            This book is Forester at his best.  Even so, as with nearly all of the series, certain technical questions arise.  Once again there is the title vessel’s classification.  Quite often Atropos is referred to as a sloop, even though rated at twenty-two guns.  Normally a sloop-of-war carried fourteen, sixteen, or eighteen guns and was captained by a master and commander.  Being a vessel of twenty guns or more, Atropos would have rated a post captain in command and would have been referred to as a “post ship” or a “sixth-rate.”  When Atropos faces Castilla, the latter is described as carrying forty-four eighteen pounder guns.  A typical forty-four gun frigate would have carried that many guns or more, but not all would have fired the same weight of shot.  Twenty-eight or thirty guns firing the nominal weight of shot would have equipped the gun deck.  Weapons mounted on the forecastle and quarterdeck would have been of lighter weight, nine pounders, perhaps, if they were traditional naval guns.  Carronades may well have fired shot heavier than those on the gun deck.
            The copy of Hornblower and the Atropos read for this review was published by Back Bay Books in 1999.  ISBN is 0-316-28929-9.  Cover price was at the time of printing, $13.95 US.

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