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on 13 January 2003
Flashman's Lady is by far my favourite of the 'Flashman' series. It sees our (anti) hero getting himself in the way of pirates, psychotic large breasted despots and some quite sharp bowling! In this volume he travels to Singapore, Borneo, Madagascar and most exotically of all a certain cricket ground in St John's Wood.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Flashman volumes I feel great envy. To be able to read them again from scratch would be a joy. However, the name of Harry Flashman may be familiar to you from Tom Brown's Schooldays by Thomas Hughes. He was the main villain of the piece who eventually got kicked out of Rugby for getting drunk. The first volume (Flashman) details what happens to Flashy from the moment he was kicked out to when he managed to secure the thanks of Parliament for his herioc deeds in the Army in Afghanistan. The fun of Flashman is that he is a complete bounder and coward, with a magnetic attraction for disaster and personal danger. He usually tumbles into each escapade as a result of trying to get his leg-over a member of the fairer sex; the volume 'Flashman's Lady' is no exception.
So, due to his scurrilous behaviour with some bookies at a cricket match, and a Duke's Mistress he ends up voyaging half way around the globe with his wife and her father at the expense of a suspiciously generous Eastern trader. No sooner have they all arrived in Singapore then the Trader kidnaps the wife, whilst Flashy is Shanghied at a brothel, before being forced to pursue her into a pirates nest.
Now with most novels of this kind I would have just given away about two thirds of the plot, and as like dissuaded you from picking the thing up for a scan, however, with this particular beauty I have barely scratched the surface. Even so, I could try my damndest to spoil the story for you, and could even succeed, but I could never spoil the book itself. For we know that Flashy will survive (it's his memoirs after all) the joy is in the journey, and how he manages to scrape through with reputation intact. The added bonus of ths volume (and why it is my favourite) is the extracts from his dotty wife's journal. They are genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, providing you have a little empathy about you.
I would always recommend reading the Flashman series in order, but if you only want a taste of it, then you can do no worse than this volume. It is an absolute gem and worth every penny you can spare to secure a copy.
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In the 1966 screen adaptation of A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield) advises his daughter Meg (Susannah York):
"If (God) suffers us to come to such a case that there is no escaping, then we may stand to our tackle as best we can. And, yes Meg, then we can clamor like champions, if we have the spittle for it. But it's God's part, not our own, to bring ourselves to such a pass. Our natural business lies in escaping."
One of the most endearing qualities of author George MacDonald Fraser's anti-heroic protagonist, Harry Flashman, is his natural cowardice, which he freely admits with a certain degree of pride. Flashy is an expert at escaping; More would have been impressed.
In that volume of his memoirs entitled FLASHMAN'S LADY, Flashy is still young in the mid-1840s. His talent for a prudent and precipitous departure has yet to mature, as evidenced by his delayed response when beset by thugs in a dodgy section of Singapore:
"I'm not proud of what happened in the next moment. Of course, I was very young and thoughtless, and my great days of instant flight and evasion were still ahead of me, but even so, with ... my native cowardice to boot, my reaction was inexcusable ... in my youthful folly and ignorance, I absolutely stood there gaping ..."
The larger portion of this book's plot involves the kidnapping of Flashy's beautiful but scatterbrained wife, Elspeth, by a certain Don Solomon Haslam, a moneyed and mannered member of English high society who's not what he seems. Harry's determination to stay out of harm's way is severely taxed as he pursues Elspeth's rescue into the pirate-infested interior of Borneo, and later into Madagascar, where Flashy finds himself the slave of that island's mad and despotic queen, Ranavalona.
A chief attraction of Fraser's Flashman series is the knowledge it gives the reader about historical and factual, but arcane, events and places. In FLASHMAN'S LADY, the reader is apprised of the private war against the pirates of the East Indies by the eccentric English imperialist, James Brooke, and the reign of terror perpetuated by that female Caligula of the period, Queen Ranavalona I of Madagascar. Indeed, the author's research into the latter has prompted me to place a non-fiction history of the subject on my Wish List.
Deep down, I think, Flashy's personal appeal is based on the realization that he's Everyman, whether one would wish to admit it or not. Our natural preference is to escape, and it's only through blundering circumstance, good luck, or an odd quirk of fate that any one of us might, like Harry himself, be perceived a hero by our fellows.
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on 4 July 2005
I have come to the Flashman papers quite late (nearly 40 years after they first appeared). I am now working my way through them in chronological order of which Flashman's Lady is the 3rd book, but it was the 6th to be released. Put simply this is the best I have read yet, the writing has matured and so have the characters with Flashman more of himself and less constrained by the original portrait of him in Tom Brown's Schooldays. This adventure sees Flash attempting to counter the not-so subtle advances on his wife which lead to what is surely the funniest cricket match ever written and thereafter out to Singapore and Borneo before concluding in Madagascar. What is amazing is that the key characters are all unbelievable and yet real historicial people faithfully recorded and they only really make sense in either Flashman's world or British colonial history. If you haven't read Flashman my honest advice is to start at the first book and then read all of them because they follow a thread. In my experience though it is this book which brings together Flashman's cynicism and earthy view of the world and the Empire into a convincing view of his times. The Flashman books get better and better and if you have read Royal Flash and were disappointed then don't give up as things take off magnificently from here on in.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 June 2011
For a long time people had expounded the brilliance of the flashman and the books are damn fine to read, i don't think it needs me or anyone else to write a review saying about the high quality of the writing and characters... but for me the real brilliance comes to the fore when the book is read by the likes of Rupert Penry-Jones / Toby Stephens / Jonathan Keeble or Timothy west.
I love to listen to the Flashman books on audio format when im on holiday, the only issue i have is to make sure i dont start talking like a Victorian cad whilst going to the bar to get a drink.

If you love the books and have not tried the audio format yet do so, i promise you its a whole new way to experience the world of Flashman, and if you are new to the Man...go on..you will love him.
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on 31 May 2001
As Flashman immediately pitches in with his cynical views on cricket you know that you can relax and enjoy the kind of robust iconoclasm which has now become unfashionable. The adventures follow at the usual breakneck speed with Flashy caught up in a series of historical events.
Normally unimpeachable Victorian heroes fail to impress Flashman who views Empire heroics as stupidity. There are, as usual, sexual adventures including the requirement on Flashman to service a sadistic, psychotic and omnipotent queen. Flashman's own potency, under the circumstances, is wondrous. This is the kind of high octane entertainment, with a mix of adventure and comedy, which is unique to Flashman. Escapist adventure at its best.
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Flashman is somebody you will love. Not only does he travel the world, he shapes history. His adventures are every boys' dreams.

Relax and enjoy the ride of your life from cricket at Lords to human barbeques in Madagascar knowing that our non-PC, amoral, lovable-rogue, Flashman will somehow come out smelling of roses.

Buy it, read it, enjoy it.
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on 5 March 2001
Although this is the 6th volumn of the Flashman Papers, it should be read after Vol 1 in strict chronological order as it fills a gap in Flashmans memoirs. This book bridges the return of Flashman from Afgahnistan and his escapades in Royal Flash. Although readers may not agree with Flashmans sentiments, like me they may find the lack of Political Correctness refreshing. Written in the style and expression of the early nineteenth century, Fraser adds to the air of authenticity with the usual genuine historical notes. This book isn't the type that will have you laughing out loud as you read but it will make you smile as "Flash" continues his anti-heroic romp through the Victorian age.
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on 21 August 2000
This book sees old Flashy in fine quivering form. From the books early description of idyllic cricket at Lords, Flashman becomes involved in a 'gentlemans wager' that sees him mixed up with JB Brooke and his fight against the pirates of Borneo. The narrative of a pirate ship coming into view through a thick fog paints as evocative a picture as you're ever likely to read. Throw in the raving mad Queen Ranavalona and the diabolical tortures she forced upon her subjects all told with the characteristic wit and intelligence of GM Fraser and you have this book. Very funny and hugely enjoyable.
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on 27 December 2002
Flashman's Lady is by far my favourite of the 'Flashman' series. It sees our (anti) hero getting himself in the way of pirates, psychotic large breasted despots and some quite sharp bowling! In this volume he travels to Singapore, Borneo, Madagascar and most exotically of all a certain cricket ground in St John's Wood.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Flashman volumes I feel great envy. To be able to read them again from scratch would be a joy. However, the name of Harry Flashman may be familiar to you from Tom Brown's Schooldays by Thomas Hughes. He was the main villain of the piece who eventually got kicked out of Rugby for getting drunk. The first volume (Flashman) details what happens to Flashy from the moment he was kicked out to when he managed to secure the thanks of Parliament for his herioc deeds in the Army in Afghanistan. The fun of Flashman is that he is a complete bounder and coward, with a magnetic attraction for disaster and personal danger. He usually tumbles into each escapade as a result of trying to get his leg-over a member of the fairer sex; the volume 'Flashman's Lady' is no exception.
So, due to his scurrilous behaviour with some bookies at a cricket match, and a Duke's Mistress he ends up voyaging half way around the globe with his wife and her father at the expense of a suspiciously generous Eastern trader. No sooner have they all arrived in Singapore then the Trader kidnaps the wife, whilst Flashy is Shanghied at a brothel, before being forced to pursue her into a pirates nest.
Now with most novels of this kind I would have just given away about two thirds of the plot, and as like dissuaded you from picking the thing up for a scan, however, with this particular beauty I have barely scratched the surface. Even so, I could try my damndest to spoil the story for you, and could even succeed, but I could never spoil the book itself. For we know that Flashy will survive (it's his memoirs after all) the joy is in the journey, and how he manages to scrape through with reputation intact. The added bonus of ths volume (and why it is my favourite) is the extracts from his dotty wife's journal. They are genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, providing you have a little empathy about you.
I would always recommend reading the Flashman series in order, but if you only want a taste of it, then you can do no worse than this volume. It is an absolute gem and worth every penny you can spare to secure a copy.
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VINE VOICEon 24 June 2012
John Updike supposedly said the Flashman books were 'potboilers' - there is something formulaic about the tales, but they're worth reading for the verbal swagger, the humorous turns of phrase and the accents he reproduces so brilliantly. I listened to Timothy West read this one on audiobook. Fraser's works are a way of absorbing our history as fun. I love the way that he mocks English institutions by drawing some of their more extreme characters.

This story shows that match-fixing in cricket has been going on since the game began. It reminds us of the lunatics that built the British Empire and the savagery that it uncovered. Plus we get some politically-incorrect psychological insights into the female sex through the delightful Elspeth and the rapacious Queen Ranavalona I. Capital stuff!
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