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C. S. Forester

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C. S. Forester is the pen name of Cecil Smith (1899-1966), an English novelist whose rose to fame with tales of adventure with military themes, notably the 11-book Horatio Hornblower series about naval warfare during the Napoleonic era and The African Queen, which was made into a famous movie.

Forester had a complicated early life, including imaginary parents and a secret marriage. During World War II he came to America to write propaganda to help get that country enter the war on the Allied side, and eventually settled in Berkeley, California. He was married twice, and had two sons.

The popularity of the Hornblower series, built around a central character who was heroic but not too heroic, has continued to grow over time. Its only rival at this time are the seafaring novels of Patrick O'Brian, who set a 17-novel series in similar circumstances.

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