Hornblower in the West Indies follows Horatio Hornblower in the last active service of his illustrious Royal Navy career. The rear-admiral is made commander-in-chief of the West Indies region. This provides a loose framework for five unrelated adventures.
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After arriving in the Caribbean, Hornblower learns of a plot to free Napoleon from Elba. With no force available to stop the Imperial Guard from accomplishing their mission, he has no choice but to lie, telling the enemy commander that his emperor has died. Afterward, considering his honor compromised, he decides to resign his position. He is astounded when he reaches port to learn that Napoleon has indeed perished.
Next, he concocts a sneaky way to disable (and later capture) a faster slave ship while she is in port. Quixotically, he gives full credit to his captain, despite not liking the fellow.
Hornblower and an aide are kidnapped by pirates, but manage to escape.
A rich half-British, half-Venezuelan millionaire named Ramsbottom visits Hornblower while on a tour of the region, or so he says. The man later impersonates a Royal Navy officer and confiscates the Spanish army's artillery train, which he then uses to support the South American struggle for independence. The guns prove vital in securing a decisive victory at the Battle of Carabobo.
Finally, Hornblower's wife arrives, to accompany him home after his very successful tenure. On their way back, a hurricane crosses their path, leaving their ship a wreck. Hornblower keeps his wife and the other survivors alive until they are rescued.
Best part of story, including ending:
It's a bit more episodic than the other Hornblower novels.
Best scene in story:
In the last story, when it seems that they may not survive, Lady Barbara tells Hornblower that he is the only man she ever loved (not her first husband).
Opinion about the main character:
His quirks and foibles make him a more rounded, believable character.