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A lot of early Horatio Hornblower fic is no longer online. Stories for which I can no longer find active links have been removed from this recs set.

Hornblower Recs for All Occasions

Part IX: All this other stuff is lovely, but where's the love for the original Hornblower slash pairing? (Hornblower/Bush)

Before the movies, and before there was Archie, there was Hornblower/Bush, the original Hornblower slash pairing. Most of these recs are based on the the characters as seen in the last four movies, but some are informed upon by or wholly based on the books.

Another Sunrise by [personal profile] commodorified - Taking that final step, crossing the line from interest to action is always a perilous moment. Left to their own devices, it's sometimes uncertain whether or not Horatio and William would ever take that chance. Fortunately, Marna knows better then to leave those two to their own devices. This is a story about choices, about looking at all the reasons to hold back and then choosing to move forward instead, about choosing to embrace life and all the risk and joy that choice entails.

Adrift by [ profile] rach74 - A look at Horatio and William's relationship after Hornblower's marriage, and what happens when Horatio pushes their relationship past the restraints with which William is comfortable. I love this story because it's really all about Bush and how much of the weight of the relationship rests on his shoulders. It is William who recognizes the strictures and controls that bind their relationship, and the importance of the invisible division between Hornblower's life at sea and his life on land with his family. Bush is subordinate to and in love with and occasionally in awe of a willful and complicated man; sometimes it seems like that should make theirs a rather lopsided relationship. In Adrift, Rach recognizes how instead it is Bush who has ultimate control over their relationship, giving it the structure Hornblower can't see, guarding the precarious balance between the personal and the professional, and keeping Hornblower emotionally grounded.

Cold to the Bone by [ profile] allaire - A short and painfully perfect look at Hornblower's growing feelings for Bush and the barriers he builds around himself to keep that attraction at bay. A perfect exploration of the tense dynamic between Hornblower and Bush in Duty, Allaire perfectly captures the guilt, fear and insecurity that causes Horatio to cut himself off from those he cares for the most.

Flawlesss by [ profile] coreopsis - On board the Renown, Hornblower finds himself captivated by watching Bush shave. A simple premise which makes for a s short but far from simple story. Coreopsis's writing is gorgeous and vividly descriptive. A spare and elegant look at the tension and passion that underlies Horatio's strict self-control.

Trial Run by [ profile] la_reine_bleu - A first and last time for Hornblower and Bush on the eve of Horatio's wedding. Breathtakingly hot and painful in equal measure, this is a spot-on look at a Horatio who can only ask for what he wants when he knows he can't have it anymore. [ profile] la_reine_bleu wrings a world of emotion out of a few choice words, distilling all of Horatio and William's relationship down to this one night and this one fic.

Once Burned by [ profile] idler_1814 - When Horatio Hornblower takes command of the Hotspur, he does so with William Bush at his side, as a colleague and trusted subordinate; but what he really needs is a friend, someone not to take the place of Archie Kennedy, but to stand in his place now that he's gone, to balance the Captain and the man. Idler perfectly captures Hornblower's predicament; his need of a confidante, the ease with which Bush fits into that role, and his fear that to open up again will only lead him to another insurmountable loss. Her Bush, meanwhile, is a marvel, happily subordinate to Horatio and yet a strong leader of the men in his own right, and possessed of flashes of keen insight that make it easy to see why Hornblower is drawn so to his companionship. Idler charts their precarious relationship through a well-drawn portrait of the Hotspur's life on blockade and the result is a subtle and elegant portrait of a friendship in flux.

The Garden of Prosperine by [ profile] dastier - The slashiest of the original books is undoubtedly Flying Colours, in which Hornblower and an injured Bush spend several months killing time in the french countryside, hiding out from Napoleon's troops and waiting for an opportunity to make their return to England. It's classic fic-fodder -- isolation from all that is familiar, canon h/c, a lot of unaccounted for time -- and I'm continually amazed more writers haven't made use of it. Dastier's writing has a very distinctive style, lyrical and almost dreamlike, preferring suggestions and implications to emotional or physical explicitness.

A Wild, Unaccustomed Thought by [ profile] eyebrowofdoom - This is a bookverse story, but it's set during the events of Retribution and Loyalty. [ profile] eyebrowofdoom paints a vivid picture of Horatio Hornblower, as seen by William Bush and of Bush as seen by himself. She has a true gift for a beautifully turned phrase -- "his flesh was unmoved by his will the way the sea is unmoved by a swimmer", "before Hornblower, Bush had not known that fancy was the underside of brilliance" -- equal parts elegance and illumination. Everything about this story reads as real and human and possible; it's lovely and intense, awkward and terrifically sexy.

Tactics of Desperation by [ profile] rach74 - Another bookverse story, set in the nebulous period between Flying Colours and Commodore Hornblower when Bush is posted on-shore at the Sheerness dockyards. [profile] rach74 imagines what might happen when the normally pragmatic and imperturbable Bush is faced with a future where he may never serve at sea again. We see Bush at his worst here, unhappy in his present and despairing of his future. By contrast we see Hornblower at his best, fierce in his convictions and loyal to his friends, recognizing but not wallowing in his own faults. Rach takes an unlikely premise and makes it ring painfully and beautifully true.
recsforalloccasions: Black and white cat making Paul Gross Arms \o/ (Default)
A lot of early Horatio Hornblower fic is no longer online. Stories for which I can no longer find active links have been removed from this recs set.

Hornblower Recs for All Occasions

Part VIII: I just watched Mutiny and Retribution and I have two new loves, Lt. William Bush and Lt. William Bush's voice.

The glorious Lt. Bush. In Book-canon he's Horatio's sidekick. In movie canon, he's the third member of a glorious partnership. Any way you mix and match 'em, Horatio, Archie and William are a force to be reckoned with and all together they are truly a sight to behold. William is integral to all the concluding recs sets, but I wanted to start off with a few gen Bush-related stories that didn't fit in anywhere else.

Sharing the Watch by Derry - During the brief calm after Sawyer's incapacitation in Mutiny, Lt. Bush finds himself sharing a watch with Archie Kennedy and reassessing some of his assumptions about both Kennedy and Hornblower. Derry shows us a William Bush who has found himself completely embroiled in a conspiracy far outside his control while still uncertain of both the character of his main co-conspirators and their opinion of him. It's a complete outsider's perspective of Horatio and Archie and it's illuminating and fascinating. In particular, Derry does an excellent job of showing how so many of Archie's mannerisms and attitudes might look to someone unfamiliar with his history, and the suggestion of class-suspicion between Archie and William feels spot-on.

Revelation by [ profile] rosiespark - Technically this rec really belongs in my last set. Unfortunately, it hadn't been posted yet when I posted that set, so I'm fitting it in here because I can't not rec it. Yet another look inside William and Archie's Kingston sickroom. Here, William bears witness to Archie's terrible courage. We see Archie only through William's eyes, and through those eyes we see William too. William doesn't miss much. The more Archie works to cover his pain, the more William feels it for him, but he is always restrained, working just as hard as Archie to keep his emotions in check. [ profile] rosiespark illuminates just those attributes in both William and Archie that make them so compelling, with sharp descriptive language and an eye for the little details that make an often-told story feel forever fresh.

And all I could think was Oooh, threesome!

Homecoming by [ profile] rach74 - The second story in Rach's wonderful Kingston Days Universe. Now recovered from their wounds, Archie and William return to England and to Horatio's presence and wrestle with Horatio's place in their lives. Archie and Horatio have a history William knows he will never fully understand, and William and Archie have a love that stands out in stark contrast to their friend's loneliness. The result is a tender and true integration of polyamory into a strong and stable central relationship. All three men are perfectly realized. Rach highlights William's uncertainty, Archie's willful optimism and Horatio's stubborn self-reliance and the strength and love they find in each other.

Afraid to Call it Love by [ profile] nindulgence - Three sailors, a beach and... that would be telling *g*. Seriously, this story is a best if you know as little as possible about it going in. A short, sweet, post-Kingston LKU full of witty banter, keen character insights and the cleverly nuanced writing Nin does so well, this story is an absolute must-read, even if I can't tell you why.

Sweat and Smoke by [personal profile] damned_colonial - Ah, the gunnery drill in Mutiny. Sweat and smoke and gunpowder, William Bush shouting "FIYAH!", Horatio showering naked on deck... [personal profile] damned_colonial offers us Archie's point of view on one of the slashiest scenes in canon; and it seems the goings on on deck are nothing next to Archie's plans for the future. A scorching hot fic all about innuendo and implication and the heat of anticipation that fits seamlessly within the events portrayed on screen.

The History Books by Severa - Much of the Archie/Horatio/William fic out there is relatively short, tiny glimpses of a might have been. This is one such piece, a quiet morning as William wonders where his place is, within the history that Archie and Horatio share. A perfect look at the uncertain hesitancy of new relationships come the light of day.

Respite by [ profile] the_dala - In a lovely LKU snippet set just post-Retribution, William dreams of what might have been and wonders about what's to come for the three of them. Respite is a beautiful, bittersweet look at a stolen moment of happiness and the beckoning reality that guarantees such moments will forever be rare and precious. I especially love Dala's William here, his protective concern so carefully concealed but his love so very very clear.

Three in a Bed by [ profile] rach74 - Another morning snippet. In the quiet moments before his companions wake, Archie worries about the changes Horatio's promotion might bring. There's something very tender and domestic about this little scene, a feeling of closeness between the three men that goes beyond sex. And Rach describes it perfectly, every word and every motion ringing true.

Few Words Suffice by [ profile] deralte - In a happier future that might have been, William, Horatio and Archie celebrate their good fortune with a night on the town before leaving Kingston. [ profile] deralte subtly shows the growing bond between the three, while perfectly capturing their alcohol-addled personalities. Short and happy and completely smut-free, this is one of those little bits of fic that just always makes me smile.
recsforalloccasions: Black and white cat making Paul Gross Arms \o/ (Default)
Hornblower Recs for All Occasions

Part VII: I just watched Mutiny and Retribution and I can't seem to stop wallowing in the beauty and the tragedy of it all. (Canon-ending Fic)

Passing by [personal profile] dira - Dira's one and only Hornblower story, although if we all make really big eyes at her maybe she'll write some more. *g*. Dira's prose is simple and elegant and her feel for the characters is rock-solid. In the early morning of the day Archie goes before the court martial, William helps him get ready. William is perfectly realized here, frustrated and conflicted as he struggles with his inability to effect events around him through any means but this small act. Everything about this story is perfect, William's frustrated strength, Archie's determination and fierce bright-burning love, the confidences shared between them, the layers of trust conveyed in the act of one man dressing another. And the ending, a favor asked, a promise made, and I find tears in my eyes every time I read it.

Vigil by [ profile] the_dala - The night before the denouement of the trial, a frustrated and sorrowful William keeps vigil at the bedside of a feverish and restless Archie Kennedy. Although not actually in the room, Horatio's presence is very strongly felt and the web of relationships and potential relationships between the three men is very much in evidence. Dala too shows us an impotent William, offering his friend the only gift he has left. Heartbreaking, painful and true.

Cold Comfort by [ profile] rach74 - A brief slice of time in a Kingston sickroom, Cold Comfort is a poignant counter to Rach's LKU Kingston Days stories. William and Archie, lay side by side in a prison sickroom thinking about how things could have turned out differently. Rach has a real feel for William, here she captures perfectly what it must feel like to share a room with a dying man, knowing how close you came to sharing his fate, knowing that you may share it even if you survive your wounds. It's a short scene, gently drawn, that feels honestly and painfully real.

Continental Drift by [ profile] the_dala - Six interlinked drabbles from the perspectives of six different men during and in the moments following the last scene in the infirmary. In only 100 words apiece Dala brings out the essence of this moment and the complexity of relationships and feelings that surround it. This really is an example of fic at it's finest, just absolutely perfect.

The Falling Glass by [ profile] destina - Horatio and Archie's relationship seen in five moments over the course of Retribution. The intensity of emotion captured in the first two scenes, the heat and intensity of the attraction and love between Archie and Horatio that is laid out so vividly, makes the inevitable heartbreak of the ending hit that much harder. Destina has a vivid sensual writing style that makes for an intense and powerful story.

Rappeller by [ profile] nifra_idril - A variation on the "five things that never happened to..." concept; four ways Horatio won't remember Archie and one way he will. [ profile] nifra_idril captures five perfect snapshots of Horatio and Archie's relationship, from their time on the Justinian to that last moment in Kingston. Together they are laid out in a beautiful lyrical style that captures the feel both of their time together and of Horatio's life alone. Simply a gorgeous piece of writing.

Anniversary by [ profile] nindulgence - A different kind of post-Kennedy fic, It's seemingly a normal day on the Hotspur, except somehow it's not. The Captain's twitchy and foul-tempered, the First Lieutenant's keeping his distance, the crew members who've known the Captain longest are exchanging knowing looks and Midshipman Orrock wants desperately to know why. It's a clever perspective that makes a simple story something much more. As usual, Nin's writing is spare and graceful, not a word out of place and she really makes Orrock - an underused character in fic - come alive.

The Virtue of Fools by [ profile] versaphile - A story about moving on in the aftermath of Kingston. I have a particular fondness for movieverse Horatio/William writers who don't ignore Archie and his place in Horatio's past. In The Virtue of Fools, Versaphile confronts the (figurative) ghost of Archie Kennedy head on, with a gutwrenching and beautiful story about the price of mourning too much. It's not about letting go of the past, it's about making room for the future. A gorgeous bittersweet love story with strong characterizations and a beautifully spare style that fits perfectly with both characters.

By His Side by [ profile] oh_kaity - The morning of Horatio's wedding, William remembers the man who should be standing by his Captain's side. A bittersweet reminder that William knows whose place he's taken and yet will never really take. By His Side has rather a unique perspective, William remembering and reflecting on Horatio and Archie's relationship: the parts he saw, the parts he didn't see and the parts he wasn't supposed to see. [ profile] oh_kaity puts it all together in a story that is touchingly -- tragically -- real.
recsforalloccasions: Black and white cat making Paul Gross Arms \o/ (Default)
A lot of early Horatio Hornblower fic is no longer online. Stories for which I can no longer find active links have been removed from this recs set.

Hornblower Recs for All Occasions

Part VI: I just watched Mutiny and Retribution and I have a new appreciation for the fine art of denial... ooh pyramids!! (Live Kennedy Universes).

How unhappy were the slash fen with the ending of Retribution? So unhappy they developed a whole new genre of fic dedicated to making it not have happened: the Live Kennedy Universe or LKU. Some LKUs devise complicated schemes to explain Archie's survival, others suggest clever AU twists to the ending to allow him to live and some choose to gloss over the how of his survival and focus on what that means for his future and the future of the other characters. Here is a sampling of some of the best of the genre, but this is far from all of them; there are LKUs in almost every successive recs set.

No Quarter Given by MissKittie - MissKittie deftly resurrects Archie with the help of some old friends (and an elusive Irish physician) and then sends him headlong into a plot right out of the best adventure novels; true love, fiercely-fought battles and even a mysterious masked privateer make for a thrilling tale. Unlike many longer LKUs, which tend to be told from Horatio's perspective, much of No Quarter Given is told from Archie's perspective, allowing us to see his confusion and doubts upon suddenly waking up very much alive. We also get to see something we'd never see in canon, Archie -- separated from Horatio -- taking charge as a natural leader and even a hero. MissKittie is particularly good at showing Archie's fierce strength and leadership potential, both as seen by those around him and as obscured to him by his own self-doubts. While I have my quibbles with the ending, overall this is a most delightful take on Archie's resurrection.

Relativity by [ profile] ndannais - Crossovers are of course almost de riguer in LKUs, from brief mentions of characters to full-blown crossovers drawing equally on the characters and events of another fictional universe. Relativity is the second kind of story; a crossover with the TV series The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne, it relies heavily on characters and devices from that universe. I can attest however that the story is completely understandable and eminently enjoyable even if you (like me) have never even heard of let alone seen an episode of TSAoJV. The villains, and the source of Archie's miraculous resurrection, come from TSAoJV, along with a delightful band of allies for Horatio, Archie and Admiral Pellew to fight along side, but the real heart of the story is in the relationship between Archie and Horatio. With a series as slashy as Hornblower it's hard to write a first-time story set after the 6th movie, but [ profile] ndannais pulls it off with commendable aplomb. Full of time travel, mysterious agencies (government and otherwise) and daring escapes, Relativity seamlessly integrates the familiar Hornblower characters into a plot right out of a pulp adventure film without doing either a disservice.

Kingston Days by [ profile] rach74 - After a slightly AU ending to the events of Mutiny and Retribution, Horatio returns to service while Archie and William Bush stay behind in Kingston sharing lodgings while they recover from their wounds. The setting is perfect for friendship to develop into something more and, this being fanfic, that's exactly what happens. Rach takes a relatively unusual pairing and makes it not just plausible but absolutely believable. Her characterizations are spot-on and she captures the feel of the changing relationship perfectly. Archie and William do not start off on the best terms in the series, but by Retribution antipathy has turned to respect and even friendship. Kingston Days is a fabulous exploration of that changing dynamic and where it could lead.

A Plant of Slow Growth by [ profile] versaphile - A look at the shifting and evolving bonds of friendship between Horatio, Archie and William, starting on the Renown and continuing through the events of the following episodes, as they might have been should Archie have lived. [ profile] versaphile delicately maps the changing dynamics between the three men as events find them drawn towards or pushed away from each other. She also deals quite satisfyingly with exactly how Archie would have felt about some of Horatio's behavior in Duty and Loyalty. A lyrical and gradual story well worth the reward.

A Matter of Necessity by [ profile] clotho123 - A short, insightful look at the long-term implications of Archie surviving and staying in the navy. The same small but pivotal point in time is seen first from Horatio's then from Archie's perspective; an acknowledgment that sometimes to keep something you have to let it go.

The Privateer by [ profile] clotho123 - An unusual take on the LKU, incorporating book canon all the way through Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies, although it's really not necessary to have read the books to appreciate this story. Archie survives Kingston, but without Horatio ever knowing. Years later when they meet again it is as two very different men who have lived very different lives. This is a dark look at the man Horatio is becoming in the later books compared to the bright eyed young man from the earlier movies. In many ways Archie is Horatio's conscience, and without his influence it is easy for Horatio to become brittle and cold. But Horatio is a balancing force for Archie too, and we see that in Archie's chosen life as an adventurer, privateer and revolutionary. What makes this story great is that while the outlook is bleak, the posited reality is eminently possible.
recsforalloccasions: Black and white cat making Paul Gross Arms \o/ (Default)
A lot of early Horatio Hornblower fic is no longer online. Stories for which I can no longer find active links have been removed from this recs set.

Hornblower Recs for All Occasions

Part V: Hey, this is the British Navy, where's all the drunken debauchery??

You have to love a fandom where drunken (and sometimes even sober) shore leave debauchery is a genre all its own. It's such a simple concept, two sailors, one bed. Or maybe two sailors, one table, or one sailor, one witty companion, one bed. Really, it's all negotiable and it's all great sexy fun.

Advantage by [personal profile] damned_colonial - It's rather a different kind of shore leave for Archie Kennedy when he meets up with the incomparable and irrepressible Miss Sophy Stanton-Lacy in Gibraltar. Sophy hails from the Georgette Heyer novel The Grand Sophy and she is a perfect match for the mischievous Midshipman Kennedy. Advantage is a light tale, a charming and sexy shore leave encounter. Both characters are terrifically rendered, and Horatio -- in his brief appearance -- is also spot on. But even more then capturing the characters, [personal profile] damned_colonial manages to capture the fabulous Heyer style and then takes it places Heyer never did, but many readers always imagined.

On Account by CopperCowries - There's a lot to love about this story, but what endears it to me the most is the location, quite possibly the worst rented room ever to grace a first time fic. CopperCowries positively revels in that room. From the smog-encrusted window to the remarkably dilapidated bed, she really captures the feel of the worst lodgings a couple of cash-strapped recently-ex-POWs could possibly find themselves in. And then, having created such a thoroughly unappealing location, she manages to make the reader completely forget about it and only have eyes for the two frustrated sailors within it. And oh, are they ever frustrated. A classic example of the perils of non-verbal communication: just because it's non-verbal, that doesn't mean they're both speaking the same language.

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by [ profile] the_dala - The lovely Dala turns her hand to Hornblower and her fabulous gift for characterization on Horatio and Archie. It's the first shore leave post-Ferrol and you know, somehow, Horatio and Archie keep completely failing to leave their room. Dala captures young Horatio and Archie perfectly. There is an endearing playfulness to their relationship, yet at the same time it's clear that they're both well aware of the risk they are taking. Short, sweet and sexy, serious without being sappy, this is a truly charming and delightful story.
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is clearly quite an inspiring story. And I am oh so glad of that, for it inspired [personal profile] black_hound to draw some extremely yummy (and very not work safe) art. Hornblower Life Drawing Class - Assignment One

Drawing by [personal profile] elke_tanzer - A short, utterly charming little character sketch set in the wee hours of the morning after. Archie wears his heart on his sleeve, and sometimes -- when he's feeling possessive -- on Horatio's. Well maybe not so much his sleeveā€¦ There is a wealth of detail imparted in this humorous and sexy little slice of time. Elke Tanzer really has a feel for the Archie/Horatio relationship, and for the doubts that plague even the most confident of souls.

Clear for Action by MissKittie - With his Lieutenants exam coming up, Horatio thinks Archie out to be studying navigation. Archie prefers to brush up on boarding maneuvers. A heady mix of pure, unapologetic, scorching-hot sex and deliciously terrible naval metaphors, this is what every PWP should aspire to be.

With Pleasure by [ profile] widget285 - Widget takes a rainy day in Plymouth, adds two sailors on their first shore leave in months, mixes liberally and comes up with this steamy little tale. It's wet and rough and insanely, breathtakingly hot. Widget has a real gift for descriptive narrative. You can feel the clammy wet Plymouth air, nearly taste the water dripping down Horatio's neck. The sex in With Pleasure is blisteringly hot, but Widget gives the fic added depth with a well-placed reminder that Archie Kennedy -- though grown into a strong and capable officer -- is still not quite finished making himself whole again.

Liquor & Liquorish Lieutenants by CopperCowries (Part of the series The Laurel & The Rose) - So what did happen when Archie and Horatio drank Portsmouth dry? CopperCowries is one of many authors to take that one line and run with it. Here, as part of her The Laurel & The Rose series, we see two sides of Horatio and one steadfast side of his friend and lover, Archie Kennedy. CopperCowries captures Horatio's personality perfectly here -- in particular his ever-present tendency to worry and stress and find things to feel guilty about and adeptly shows exactly how frustrating it can be to be in a relationship with someone like that. But that's later, first we get to see the upright Lt. Hornblower very very drunk and very much in love. Featuring one of the most believable depictions of drunken antics I've seen, this is an entertaining and imminently believable story.

Interlude's Pledge by [ profile] la_reine_bleu - In the space between Frogs & Lobsters and Mutiny [ profile] la_reine_bleu gives us a separated Horatio and Archie; different postings, different shore leaves, only the rare chance to meet up for a night or two. Theirs is an uncertain world -- and an uncertain profession -- how do you maintain a relationship with someone who you see only rarely, always knowing that every encounter may be your last? It's not an unreasonable predicament and [ profile] la_reine_bleu addresses it in a lovely style. Interlude's Pledge is romantic without being schmoopy, dramatic, but not without it's moments of humor. Much of the credit for that delicate balance goes to [ profile] la_reine_bleu's beautifully sparing and bittersweet prose. [profile] la_reine_bleu does a great job of populating all her stories with distinct and original OCs, who even when making only brief appearances help to inhabit and bring Horatio and Archie's world to life.
recsforalloccasions: Black and white cat making Paul Gross Arms \o/ (Default)
A lot of early Horatio Hornblower fic is no longer online. Stories for which I can no longer find active links have been removed from this recs set.

Hornblower Recs for All Occasions

Part IV: I've heard disturbing rumors about what happens in the next two movies and I'm already practicing my denial, so um, how about distracting me with more Horatio/Archie stories?? (Shore Leave Tales)

Of course there are a lot of Series One Hornblower stories that don't take place during any of the episodes, the majority of these are shore leave stories. Ranging from brief encounters and interludes to long swashbuckling adventures, these are some of the most varied and entertaining stories in the fandom.

Baser Impulses by [ profile] nindulgence - Nin neatly turns fanon convention on its head and turns it into this perfect little gem of a story. Archie Kennedy is only human. It turns out, so is the seemingly-perfect Horatio Hornblower. Nin's Horatio and Archie are fabulous. This is an Archie Kennedy who both loves and resents his friend's perfection; meanwhile Horatio is both the voice of upright virtue and the man of action, processing all the facts and coming to a snap decision Both are rendered here perfectly, and the whole is once again wrapped up in Nin's deliciously sparing prose.

Relative Awakening by [ profile] la_reine_bleu - A week's shore leave post-Ferrol and Archie invites Horatio to spend it with him at the family estate. What follows resembles nothing so much as a classic romantic comedy. There are awkward encounters with relatives, mistaken interests and misunderstandings, comic misadventures, and all throughout the slow, growing awareness that Horatio Hornblower has fallen in love with his best friend. [ profile] la_reine_bleu has a great way with words and this story is liberally sprinkled with fabulous one liners. Her supporting cast of Kennedy relatives and hangers-on are both delightfully eccentric and refreshingly believable. This is truly a sweet and funny treat.

The Gentlemanly Art of Conversation by [ profile] widget285 - A week's shore leave provides the perfect opportunity for Lt. Horatio Hornblower and the newly confirmed Lt. Archie Kennedy to explore and experience London. And they do just that. Widget brings Regency London to life, from society parties to Vauxhall Gardens. The theme of conversation and revelation/self-discovery via conversation is woven expertly throughout the story and adds an added dimension to an already-excellent tale. The characterizations are delightful. Archie is witty and introspective, clever but still able to be completely blindsided. Horatio meanwhile is both the shy young man, nervous around high society, and the dashing and confident officer with absolute faith in his instincts and a willingness to take the riskiest of chances. Really, just a fabulous story.

Close to Flying by MissKittie - While visiting Archie's family, Horatio Hornblower finally comes face to face with his sexuality -- on horseback. And in sex, as in riding, he finds that he can handle anything if he has Archie Kennedy to hang on to. MissKittie does a fabulous job writing from Horatio's point of view -- his nervous awkwardness, his tendency to over-analyze everything, his near-pathological need to heap guilt upon himself, and his implicit love of and trust in Archie Kennedy. Everything about this story is awkward and sweet and very realistic. A delightfully different take on the first time story.

Masquerade by [ profile] clotho123 - There is a great freedom in costumes, as Horatio discovers when he and Archie attend a Masquerade at Vauxhall Gardens. Seen from behind a mask, the world becomes a romantic, otherworldly place. Cloaked in masks and dominoes the familiar becomes strange, the common-place mysterious, and long-denied feelings become very much possible. [ profile] clotho123 brings regency London to life beautifully, in a swirl of details that never bog the story down but rather bring it more fully to life. Masquerade is a fascinating and compelling look at the inhibitions that keep people apart and the freedom that comes from wearing a mask.

Rumpelstiltskin by [ profile] widget285 - Archie and Horatio learn a universal truth: if you go home to visit your parents, you don't get to have sex. In Dr. Hornblower's cozy little cottage, the hospitality is lovely but the privacy is rather nonexistent. Archie is understandably frustrated but Horatio has a solution. The result is a sweetly charming and smolderingly sexy encounter that perfectly exhibits the more playful side of Horatio and Archie's relationship. The sex is hot, the characterizations are perfect and where else do you get to see two officers in the British Navy having a roll in the hay?

Flying by mickleditch - A short snippet of time -- could be almost anywhere or anytime -- Horatio and Archie sitting on top of a cliff. For once they are not having sex -- although it's on both their minds -- instead, they're just talking, in that way you do when laying back in the grass on a bright sunny day under a beautiful blue sky. Mickleditch perfectly captures what I love so much about the Horatio/Archie pairing. It's about flirting and love and attraction. And it's about healing and trust and risk. Really, it's about flying.

A Common Sailor by [ profile] la_reine_bleu - [ profile] la_reine_blue uses all the tropes of the classic ghost story to create this fresh, shiver-inducing tale. Blending the ghost story elements perfectly with some terrific and terrifically funny Horatio/Archie banter, [ profile] la_reine_bleu does a great job of keeping her readers on their toes. She plays with tension excellently here, ratcheting it up and letting it down, then ratcheting it up again. As always, her use of language is excellent here, blending humor and tension perfectly and bringing the English countryside spookily to life.

A Midsummer Night's Dream by mickleditch - A seemingly-simple story with unexpected depth. The magic of Midsummer eve brings Horatio and Archie together, but come the light of day everything is much more complicated. Mickleditch weaves a beautiful and sensual romance full of magic and hope and possibilities, and then manages to bring in the harsh challenge of reality without upsetting the balance of the story. Mickleditch does a fantastic job of capturing the changing moods and complex fears of Archie Kennedy and the persistence -- and patience -- with which Horatio works to earn and keep his friend's trust.
recsforalloccasions: Black and white cat making Paul Gross Arms \o/ (Default)
Hornblower Recs for All Occasions

Part III: I just watched The Wrong War/Frogs and Lobsters and I have a new love, Major My Lord Slutbunny, the Earl of Edrington. (Edrington recs)

All my recs so far have been for stories taking place during the first four Hornblower episodes, and that has been intentional. The intent of these sets is to group recs chronologically. I'm breaking that here for the first of the following recs, because it is very much Edrington-centric and truly too good not to rec.

A Witness to Courage by Naomi - This is a gen story, and one of the rare gen stories that made me not even miss the romance. It's 1809 and the shattered remnants of the British forces in Spain -- including the 95th -- are huddled in Corunna after a 250 mile retreat to the coast. Captain Horatio Hornblower's is among the ships that arrive to evacuate the survivors, among them Horatio's old acquaintance Major Edrington. Naomi's characterization of Edrington is both perfect and heartbreaking. Based on a true event, this is a gut-wrenching and powerful look at the terrible cost of war and the terrible strength of courage.

Namesake by [ profile] nindulgence - While Archie and Horatio's entire adult lives have been spent with the navy and it is generally clear what they've been doing since they were about 17, Edrington's life both pre and post Frogs & Lobsters is an open book. Here Nin paints a picture of a much younger Edrington. The young not-yet-the-Earl of Edrington and a friend, waking up of a Sunday morning. Light and happy, like a single brilliant ray of sunlight, this story just glows; a delightfully subtle crossover with Pirates of the Caribbean that does credit to both fandoms.

Major MacPherson's Ass by [personal profile] commodorified and [personal profile] damned_colonial - Another look at the young Edrington. Major MacPherson's Ass presents two familiar characters, Edrington and Pellew, in a completely unfamiliar time and place. The result is a searingly hot, stunningly rendered look at a relationship balanced at a turning point. This is an extremely smutty story -- and you may never look at a butter dish the same way again -- but what makes it truly outstanding is the way the emotional resonance and character decisions are blended seamlessly into the sex. Simultaneously bittersweet and mind-meltingly hot, Major MacPherson's Ass is both perfect smut and so much more.

Sharpe's Comrade by [ profile] raggedrose - Edrington seems to lend himself well to crossovers. Here, [ profile] raggedrose takes advantage of their shared occupation and similar time periods, to throw Major Edrington together with Lt. Richard Sharpe and then she contrives to separate them from the rest of their force, dependent on each other for their survival. In Edrington and Sharpe we have two honorable and skilled soldiers, who couldn't be more likely to make terrible first impressions on each other. [ profile] raggedrose skillfully shows both men's honor and the slow but inescapable transformation of their relationship.

But I still also love Archie Kennedy:

All the King's Men by [personal profile] commodorified - This story is, in one word, stunning. It's a beautifully written, character-driven Archie/Edrington with what is easily the longest, hottest sex scene I've ever read. But this story isn't just about the sex, the mind-blowing to-die-for sex is just part of the whole. What this story is really about is Archie. It's about Archie figuring out who he is and what he needs and learning to define himself as himself and not through his relationships with others. All the King's Men starts off literally minutes after the last scene of Frogs & Lobsters and takes an old standby of Hornblower fandom--the shared shore leave--and gives it a fresh face and a neat twist. The characterizations are perfect, the story is a delight and--no matter how many times I read it--the smut continually leaves me devoid of both breath and speech.

Hellespont by [ profile] nindulgence - Nin has a true gift for prose, every sentence diamond-sharp, every word perfectly chosen. Here, she turns her eye on Archie Kennedy and the Earl of Edrington. A perfect snapshot in time, Hellespont offers a glimpse into Archie and Edrington's relationship; everything they have and a few things that never will be. A gorgeous story that will simply take your breath away.

In fact, what I was really thinking was Threesome!

Time & Chance by [ profile] widget285 - An unexpected encounter on a snowy street lead Horatio and Archie to a renewed acquaintance with the Earl of Edrington. Widget is the queen of Horatio/Archie/Edrington and this story clearly shows why. There is witty banter, outrageous flirting, rather a lot of drinking and finally, simply fabulous smut. Widget expertly balances the three men's distinct personalities and relationships making the story absolutely believable and the sex all the hotter for the clear emotional underpinnings.

Satisfaction by [ profile] widget285 - Widget throws Horatio, Archie and Edrington together for a week in Edrington's country house for a delightful and sexy classic bedroom farce. Horatio is flustered, Archie is impish and the incorrigible Major Edrington has his eye on both of them. The resultant story is a delight, both funny and sincere, farcical but never untrue to the characters. Satisfaction is a fabulously long and never falters or loses its steam, a perfect blend of humor, smut, and love.
recsforalloccasions: Black and white cat making Paul Gross Arms \o/ (Default)
A lot of early Horatio Hornblower fic is no longer online. Stories for which I can no longer find active links have been removed from this recs set.

Hornblower Recs for All Occasions

Part II: I just watched The Duchess & The Devil and -- in between attempts to climb through my TV set to comfort Archie -- all I could think was 'My God, they made it even slashier!' (El Ferrol Fic)

Oh the glory of The Duchess & The Devil. I have a terrible terrible weakness for El Ferrol first time fic. There's just something about it that feeds my need for angst and my need for smut in perfect balance. Clearly I'm not the only one that finds the episode very inspiring. There is a wealth of excellent fic that takes place during and alongside the events of The Duchess & The Devil

Resurrecting by MissKittie - The perfect mix of angst and romance, Resurrecting fits perfectly within the larger narrative of The Duchess & The Devil. Starting in Confession with Horatio and Hunter's discovery of Archie in their cell, and concluding in Absolution after Horatio and Archie's return to El Ferrol, Resurrecting is really the story of Archie Kennedy -- damaged and scarred by all the pain life has given him -- finding a way to the pieces of his life back together and learn to live and to love again. The romance is very believable, the doubts and fears and desires on both sides beautifully articulated, but what I love the most about this fic is the subtle and gradual way that Archie's healing is shown. The broken man at the beginning of Confession and the healing, hopeful man at the end of Absolution are very much and very believably the same man.

Spanish Compendium by CopperCowries (Part of the series The Laurel & the Rose) - CopperCowries 's whole The Laurel & The Rose universe is well done, and one of the best things about it is the way so many of the stories within it stand fabulously on their own. This, the second story in the series, is my favorite. It's also yet another El Ferrol first time story, which might just be part of the reason why. Cimmarionwillow does an excellent job of capturing the unreal, almost dream-like idyll El Ferrol becomes for Horatio and Archie after they're return. It's the perfect time and place to start a physical relationship. They are free of commitments, confined but not deprived, with plenty of privacy to both learn each other's bodies and sort out a lot of their emotional baggage. But every idyll comes to an end, and there's a bittersweet tang to the end of the story, where the question of what will happen once they've left prison and have to keep all of this hidden lingers.

Better for Trying by Always_Winter - Many authors have tried to write about Archie's experience inside the oubliette; Always_Winter doesn't just show them, she inhabits them. In a series of interconnected vignettes, we are there with Archie as isolation and depravation finally break him when nothing else would. A harrowing, heartbreaking, yet beautifully rendered look into the disintegration of Archie's psyche.
recsforalloccasions: Black and white cat making Paul Gross Arms \o/ (Default)
A lot of early Horatio Hornblower fic is no longer online. Stories for which I can no longer find active links have been removed from this recs set.

Hornblower Recs for All Occasions

Part I: I just watched The Duel/The Even Chance and all I could think by the end was 'My God, the slash!' Also, I've fallen in love with Archie Kennedy. (Duel-Era Fic)

Ah the joys of young midshipmen in love. The Duel is a rich source of material for stories about young, clueless Archie and Horatio fumbling their way towards love. At 17 or 18 Horatio's cluelessness is not yet frustrating and still rather endearing and the dark presence of Jack Simpson over everything and the knowledge of how the episode ends, lends a strangely poignant note to even the happiest of Duel-era stories.

Tutelage by [ profile] widget285 - This is along story that fits perfectly entirely within and alongside the events of The Duel. [ profile] widget285 creates a perfect balance between the growing attraction of Horatio and Archie and the growing tension with Jack Simpson. Slowly and in parallel, she ratchets up both the giddy attraction and the crushing tension until in both cases something simply has to give. The story told here is at times painful, but at heart its incredibly hopeful; embracing change and love and the infinite possibilities of youth.


recsforalloccasions: Black and white cat making Paul Gross Arms \o/ (Default)

April 2017

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