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Flashman [Hardcover]

George MacDonald Fraser
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
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Book Description

17 Dec 2009
For George MacDonald Fraser the bully Flashman was easily the most interesting character in Tom Brown's Schooldays, and imaginative speculation as to what might have happened to him after his expulsion from Rugby School for drunkenness ended in 12 volumes of memoirs in which Sir Harry Paget Flashman - self-confessed scoundrel, liar, cheat, thief, coward -'and, oh yes, a toady' - romps his way through decades of nineteenth-century history in a swashbuckling and often hilarious series of military and amorous adventures. In Flashman the youthful hero, armed with a commission in the 11th Dragoons, is shipped to India, woos and wins the beautiful Elspeth, and reluctantly takes part in the first Anglo-Afghan War, honing a remarkable talent for self-preservation.Flash for Freedom! finds him crewing on an African slave ship, hiding in a New Orleans whorehouse and fortuitously running into rising young American politician Abraham Lincoln...

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 972 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman (17 Dec 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841593257
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841593258
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 452,219 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.

Product Description


'The Flashman Papers do what all great sagas do – winning new admirers along the way but never, ever betraying old ones. It is an immense achievement.' Sunday Telegraph

‘Not so much a march as a full-blooded charge, fortified by the usual lashings of salty sex, meticulously choreographed battle scenes and hilariously spineless acts of self preservation by Flashman.’ Sunday Times

‘Not only are the Flashman books extremely funny, but they give meticulous care to authenticity. You can, between the guffaws, learn from them.’ Washington Post

‘A first-rate historical novelist’ Kingsley Amis

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

Book Description

Flashman and the Great Game takes our man into the world of Kim, as he spies for the British, dallies with a luscious maharani and - despite spectacular acts of spinelessness - not only survives the bloodbath of the Indian Mutiny but emerges with a Victoria Cross and a knighthood.Impossible to put down and some of the greatest comic writing of the last 100 years.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply The Best 19 Feb 2003
A friend of mine last year had to spend some time in the delightful town of Kabul. Prior to his departure I managed to secure a copy of this book for him; I hoped that he would see the funny side of me giving him a story which involved one of the greatest military defeats ever retreating from the very place he was being sent to.
I knew though that I was also giving him the start of the most enjoyable series of books I had ever read, and that if he gleaned even half as much enjoyment from it as I had, then he would have his stay brightened considerably.
For those of you who have never heard of Harry Flashman before, he is the bully and cad from Tom Brown's Schooldays (and incidentally the only character worth remembering amongst the various hypocritical do-gooding manly little Christians that are otherwise described). The story starts where his exit from Rugby in Tom Brown had ended, his being expelled for drunkenness. He consequently joins the army, not with a view to doing any valuable service but as an occupation he could loaf and skive to his hearts content (not that much has changed at Horse Guards since). With a constant eye for the ladies his tale makes an interesting one (especially as he was such a nasty piece of work) even before he was posted to Afghanistan. When he arrives in India we discover, as he does, that he has a talent for horse-riding and languages as well as with the ladies, and so makes an interesting correspondent for us as readers, as he can be shifted to wherever the action is with relative ease. The fact that when the author does so he tends to either be chasing skirt, or running away like the coward he is (directly into trouble more often than not), again makes the whole thing more interesting.
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A1, 100%, top-hole read 10 Sep 2004
By Splossy
The first and possibly best of the Flashman tales. If you've not read and Flashman books then you've not lived. You've certainly not read anything like them. He's the original anti-hero. You've no doubt watched heroic action films and thought "why doesn't he just shoot the guy in the back right now and run for it?...I would" - well Flashman would too and a whole lot worse, if it gets him off the hook or into bed with his many lovers.
It's a unique blend of historical research, incredible adventures, philandering, thieving, bullying and above all - brilliant story-telling shot through with a breath of refreshing cynicism. Utterly brilliant stuff. I just wish George McDonald Fraser could write some more.
One caveat - GMF tells it like it is. If people in 1820 used a certain word for slaves then he uses it too. If you are a bit PC you might not like it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rogue, bounder, cad...and hero? 27 Sep 2010
By John Middleton TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Flashman is a rogue, bounder, and cad: the archetypical anti-hero. Duplicitous and sneering, yet publicly charming, the most noble thing he does in this opening volume of the Flashman Papers (12 in all) is to seduce his father's mistress. After that, its off to foreign parts - India and Afghanistan - surrounded by historical figures and partaking of historical events, all told with wit and mocking insight.

In the 1960's George Macdonald Fraser set out to write some stories set in the golden age of the British Empire - well, golden from a certain point of view, anyway. To do this, he set an anti-hero loose in Victorian England, and gave him free reign to do as he would, so long as he reported truly. The Flashman Papers were the result - and apparently on first publication, some papers assumed that this was not a work of fiction, but a true history.

Sexist, racist, and whatever else, Flashman is unique. He gives us a new pair of eyes on which to view the past, and GMF tells the story in fine style. In addition, the history that Flashman occupies is true, and (comparatively) rigorously footnoted. Here Flashy is leaving school (as told in Tom Brown's Schooldays) and joining the Army, getting mixed up in the great events of the day.

This is superb reading, true history written as fiction. It is both laugh out loud funny and sombering, a wonderful window into the past.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
By Nicholas J. R. Dougan VINE VOICE
Flashman is great reading and I recommend the novels thoroughly. George MacDonald Fraser (GMF) died just a week ago and some of the obituaries have hinted that one should be ashamed to have read this obscene, racist, nostalgic pulp fiction for men who should know better.

If you have read the books or other reviews, you will realise that Flashman is an "anti-hero". This first novel was set against the background of the disastrous 1841-2 campaign in Afghanistan, which led to the total destruction of a British Army. Synopses of the books regularly describe him as "impostor, coward, cad, blackguard, scoundrel, villain, arch-cad, poltroon and amorist". Nevertheless, the late Auberon Waugh wrote "twice as good as Buchan, and twenty times better than Fleming", but this points up an interesting distinction: John Buchan's Richard Hannay, though crafted from 1914 to the 1930s, was as conventional a Victorian hero as you might like to meet while Ian Fleming's James Bond was perhaps Britain's first "anti-hero", pre-dating Flashman by almost 15 years in print. While Bond was certainly ruthless, lucky, arguably cynical and even psychopathic, however, he was no coward. Flashman is a contrast both to the Victorian hero and the post-war anti-hero.

What makes them so readable? GMF wrote Flashman's dialogue idiomatically in a style that seems genuinely redolent of the Leicestershire "squirarchy" into which he was fictionally born. Supposedly the great-grandson of an East India Company "nabob", his father a bluff countryman MP who loses his seat after the Great Reform Act of 1832, and whose manners are (possibly) worse even than his own. "Dammee, Sir, d'ye know what a dragoon's commission costs?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I grew up on a diet of GMF
His work is exemplary, a couple in the series got a little stayed, but this one is a charm. Witty, intelligent and always re-readable, ever since I was 17 first edition forward. Read more
Published 6 hours ago by inedxr
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Gripping!
A book full of one exciting adventure/predicament after another. Get into the mind of Flashman (first person - so much better! Read more
Published 4 days ago by Louisa
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsurpassable. Supremely entertaining. Hilarious!
It's apparent that GMF laid out a grand plan before he wrote any of the books, sketching out the plot for each. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Excalibur
5.0 out of 5 stars Flash!
Great intro to a great character. - I truly recommend these books to anyone who likes this kind of thing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by stymie
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it
Absoutely loved it - all the stories are brilliant and the humour is excellent. Will definately read the rest of the series.
Published 2 months ago by M. Orr
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo!
The only problem with the Flashman books is that there aren't enough of them. No one else writes historical fiction with such an entertaining touch - most end up leaden and bogged... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Gill Kirk
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
A book where the hero is a rascal, liar, coward, cheat and rapist and he knows and admits it. I still enjoyed it nevertheless. What's more he almost totally gets away with it.
Published 3 months ago by Jason
3.0 out of 5 stars educative
Interesting how a novel like this can say a lot about how Little we have learned from history. This is the Afghan war of the 1830s that much resemble the past decade. Sad but true!
Published 4 months ago by Caroe
5.0 out of 5 stars a good page turner
made me laugh out loud and it has a good storyline based on actual events and you have to love an hate the anti hero flashman
Published 4 months ago by average joe
4.0 out of 5 stars A good old fashioned rouse
Not yet finished but enjoying so far. Thoroughly dislikable character so good to follow his adventures. A book very much of its day
Published 5 months ago by Steveb
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