Horatio Hornblower is a fictional Royal Navy officer who is the protagonist of a series of novels by C. S. Forester. He was later the subject of films and television programs.
The original Hornblower tales began with the 1937 novel The Happy Return (U.S. title Beat to Quarters) with the appearance of a junior Royal Navy captain on independent duty on a secret mission to Central America, though later stories would fill out his earlier years, starting with an unpromising beginning as a seasick midshipman. As the Napoleonic Wars progress, he gains promotion steadily as a result of his skill and daring, despite his initial poverty and lack of influential friends. Eventually, after surviving many adventures in a wide variety of locales, he rises to the pinnacle of his profession, promoted to Admiral of the Fleet, knighted as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, and named the 1st Baron Hornblower.