In 1810, during the Napoleonic Wars, after returning home from a successful voyage to the Americas, Captain Hornblower is appointed to command his first ship of the line, HMS Sutherland. He has to work with Admiral Leighton, an inexperienced, over-cautious and incompetent commander who has married the love of Hornblower's life, Lady Barbara Wellesley. They only have half the crew they need, so they have to enlist a large number of fighting men in a hurry.
They put to sea as part of the fleet sent to harass Napoleon's flank, and blockade the Mediterranean coast of Spain to prevent supplies from reaching the French. He is successful at first, and when the Sutherland reaches the blockaded Catalonian coast of Spain, the crew stages astonishing solo raids against the French. But the fear of defeat and capture looms over captain and crew as the Sutherland single-handedly takes on a French squadron of four French ships of the line.
This report prepared by John Van der Kiste