Flying Colours is a novel in the Horatio Hornblower series by C. S. Forester, following immediately after A Ship of the Line.
Royal Navy Captain Hornblower is a prisoner of war of the Spanish in the Napoleonic Wars (the circumstances of his capture being covered at the end of A Ship of the Line). While being taken to Paris to be tried (and executed) on the trumped up charge of piracy, he, Lieutenant Bush and seaman Brown escape. They find shelter for the winter with the Comte de Graçay and his widowed daughter-in-law Marie, despite the Comte having lost all three of his sons fighting for France. During their stay, Hornblower has an affair with Marie.
With the coming of spring, the three men travel to the French port of Nantes disguised as Dutch customs officers. Hornblower engineers the seizing of the cutter Witch of Endor (previously captured by the French from the British Royal Navy), frees some prisoners to man her, fights off or sinks several French boats and returns in triumph to England.
Upon being acquitted in a court-martial over the loss of his ship, HMS Sutherland, he becomes financially secure and a national hero. Furthermore, with the deaths of his wife and Lady Barbara's husband, he is free to court the woman he loves.
Best part of story, including ending:
Any Hornblower story is a good one. There is much adventure, in realistic detail, some romance and a very happy ending.
Best scene in story:
The taking of the Witch of Endor is satisfying.
Opinion about the main character:
Hornblower is his usual ingenious self.