For all those who read Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander series (or watched the movie with Russell Crowe), you should discover the first naval adventure series about Horatio Hornblower written by C. S. Forester.

Written around the time Britain faced Germany in the Battle of the Atlantic, Horatio Hornblower shines as an intelligent, courageous, and professional naval officer who also has both a conscience and an eye for the ladies.

Although the 11 books weren’t published in chronological order, it’s best to begin with Mr. Midshipman Hornblower and follow his career through to Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies. It’s a journey that will not only teach you the parts of a sailing ship, but will inspire you to courage and honor.