C. Northcote Parkinson

The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower
Devil to Pay

Michael Joseph 1970, John Murray 1973
A book review by Danny Yee © 1997 http://dannyreviews.com/
If publications are a guide, Parkinson must rank as the foremost fan of C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels. Devil to Pay is the first in a series of six novels in direct emulation of Forester. It introduces Richard Delancey, a lieutenant under a shadow after a dispute between officers and captain in his previous ship, who begins to make a name for himself as a secret agent and volunteer revenue officer. Parkinson is not in Patrick O'Brian's class as a novelist or Forester's as a storyteller, but this series is still a find for the naval fiction devotee.

A more rewarding treat for Forester fans is Parkinson's fictional biography of Horatio Hornblower himself. With photographs, appendices, and an index, this is a fairly serious example of the genre (Parkinson also wrote a biography of Wodehouse's Jeeves). It fills in the gaps in Horblower's career using "documentary evidence" uncovered since Forester wrote his stories and is actually more interesting than Forester's own Hornblower Companion. But Parkinson doesn't take The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower too seriously, using it to gently parody a certain style of biography as well as to entertain fans.

January 1997

External links:
The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower
- buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
Devil to Pay
- buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
Related reviews:
- C. Northcote Parkinson - Britannia Rules: The Classic Age of Naval History 1793-1815
- more biography
- more naval history + fiction
- more war fiction
%T The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower
%A Parkinson, C. Northcote
%I Michael Joseph
%D 1970
%O hardcover, index
%G ISBN 071810787X
%P 304pp

%T Devil to Pay
%A Parkinson, C. Northcote
%I John Murray
%D 1973
%O hardcover
%G ISBN 0719528380
%P 273pp