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Mr American (Flashman Papers) Paperback – 1 Sep 2008

26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New Ed edition (1 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006470181
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006470182
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The author of the famous 'Flashman Papers' and the 'Private McAuslan' stories, George MacDonald Fraser has worked on newspapers in Britain and Canada. In addition to his novels he has also written numerous films, most notably 'The Three Musketeers', 'The Four Musketeers', and the James Bond film, 'Octopussy'. George Macdonald Fraser died in January 2008 at the age of 82.

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Review

Praise for ‘Black Ajax’:

‘Mr Fraser is a great historical novelist and in Black Ajax he is at the very top of his form. Damme if he ain’t.’
Christopher Matthew, Daily Mail

‘This is not a flashy novel, wearing its learning noisily. It’s rigorous, intelligent, meticulously horrifying. Wonderfully well done.’
Nicci Gerrard, Observer

Book Description

“Every page is sheer unadulterated pleasure.” The Times

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Free Radical on 7 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the George Macdonald Fraser book for people who don't usually read George Macdonald Fraser. The story of the American with a secret past coming 'home' to Edwardian England unfolds at a more leisurely pace than anything in the Flashman series, but it still has all the hallmarks that made Fraser such a superb writer: peerless dialogue, vividly realised characters (both fact and fiction: Edward VII, Kid Curry and a young Winston Churchill all make appearances), tautly-written moments of high drama and a beautifully observed sense of time and place. It reminded me slightly of RF Delderfield, only better written...and with added Flashman! Buy it - it's a quiet classic.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Iain S. Palin on 1 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback
The names of George MacDonald Fraser and Harry Flashman are inseparable, and deservedly so. Few series of novels have combined history, character, humour, and sheer sustained entertainment as they have. But those who pick up this excellent book expecting another of the same are in for a shock.
It is the story of Mark Franklin, an American former outlaw who has made a fortune with a lucky strike in mining and comes to Edwardian England to settle down in Norfolk, the county his ancestors emigrated from several generations before. He becomes a country squire and city gent, marries into the upper classes, and has a surprisingly eventful time. And no, this is not a romp, it's a lovingly slow-paced detailed and substantial novel, brimming with introspection, description, and first-rate dialogue as Franklin discovers that the risks, the threats, and the bad guys may not be as obvious as they are Out West but they are real nonetheless There is a touch of a Henry James "American innocent abroad" about this strong quiet incomer, but his ability to cope is not in doubt.
For many readers the high spots will be Franklin's occasional encounters with the aged but still lively and unscrupulous Flashman, but there are many excellent characters and scenes that these should not be allowed to diminish.
Sometimes the author's lovingly-detailed background information and scene-setting gets a little too detailed and goes on a bit too long but this is a minor concern when set against the book's many good things. As an enjoyable and (as always with MacDonald Fraser) informative read it is highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By BeeGee on 7 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
I have to say that, as a dyed-in-the-wool Flashman fan, it took me three attempts (over the course of at least an equal number of years) to actually read beyond the first couple of chapters or so, but am pleased, overall, that I finally did.

I have mixed feelings about the tale, however, but will not allow that to detract from, having eventually gotten used to the slower pace of Mark Franklin's life to that of the aforementioned Harry Flashman's, I was hooked and read it through almost without a pause.

Fraser was an astonishingly adept story teller and I have read most of his works, including his autobiographical "Quartered Safe Out Here" and as someone who comes from a long line of pugilists (my maternal grandfather having once championed the Staffordshire "Potteries" as a bare-knuckle boxer) I particularly enjoyed GMF's "Black Ajax". His storytelling is not in dispute, in this particular work either, except in a few instances:

1) Almost an entire chapter is devoted to a game of "Bridge" with nary an explanation as to just what is going on, exactly, to a none afficinado of the card-game, such as myself. This almost caused me to put the tome down, never to return to it.

2) Can I be the only reader who spotted the two plausible ways as to how the book would likely end (only to be proven wrong on each assumption) in that I assume GMF dropped the red-herring of all red-herrings when a certain gift was given for auction to a charity, the uncovering of which would have allowed Inspector Crawford to get his man. I hope and suspect that Mr Frazer's decision NOT to develop that angle was, indeed, a false trail rather than a plot-hole - it surely must have been, else why bring the subject of the auction and the gift up at all?
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Joe HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 April 2002
Format: Paperback
It's late summer 1909 in Liverpool and a Yank steps off the boat from America. Mark Franklin is an authentic Westerner, his luggage containing Stetson, saddle, gun belt and two .44 Remington pistols.
I've been to England many times, and I love it. Unfortunately, my family's roots are not in the UK, nor have I had the longed-for opportunity to take up permanent residence there. In MR. AMERICAN, it's Franklin's great good luck to have made a fortune from a Nevada silver mine. This allows him to return to England in search of his roots - his forebears having immigrated to the Colonies hundreds of years before - and purchase the house, Manor Lancing, which dominates the Lincolnshire village of his ancestors, Castle Lancing.
I learned in English Lit 1A that every novel incorporates a conflict, which, in MR. AMERICAN, is subtle. To modern fiction readers, fed a steady diet of lurid murders-most-foul, global conspiracies, and courtroom duels, it may not seem like much of a conflict at all. Author George MacDonald Fraser, a Brit himself, has chosen to introduce into Edwardian society of pre- WWI England a rugged individualist matured in the late-19th century American West, and develop what happens. The WASP values that Franklin possesses from such a background - chivalry, self-reliance, forthrightness, loyalty, lack of class pretension, suspicion of authority - are occasionally at odds with the upper class social circle that soon adopts him.
For the reader, Mark will present as an appealing, stand-up fellow.
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