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FLASHY AT HIS BEST
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.