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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another delightful dose of treachery, whore-mongering and skulduggery
The second instalment in the exploits of the most fascinating of characters, Harry Flashman, begins as the first finishes in 1842, but then leaps forward to a period some 4 years later.

Flashy, fortuitously lauded after his yellow-bellied antics at the First Afghan War has become somewhat of a national hero, having been decorated by the Queen, and though he has...
Published 9 months ago by Rob Payne

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too derivative but still good value
Being a fan of the lovable coward Flashman, I expected ribaldry and attention to historical detail, and was not disappointed in this regard. The major flaw was not in style but merely in the complete lifting, albeit acknowledged, of the crucial premise of the plot central to the story from The Prisoner of Zenda. Given the invention displayed in the other novels this left...
Published on 23 Jun 2001


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another delightful dose of treachery, whore-mongering and skulduggery, 17 Nov 2013
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The second instalment in the exploits of the most fascinating of characters, Harry Flashman, begins as the first finishes in 1842, but then leaps forward to a period some 4 years later.

Flashy, fortuitously lauded after his yellow-bellied antics at the First Afghan War has become somewhat of a national hero, having been decorated by the Queen, and though he has clearly done nothing to deserve it, he will certainly not complain. Flash is still married to the beautiful but vacant Elspeth, who he now concedes is cheating on him ('You would never have thought, to see her angelic face, golden hair, and expression of idiotic innocence, that she was the biggest trollop that ever wore out a mattress'). After escaping a police raid on a brothel in London, Flash is rescued by Spanish dancer Lola Montez (and future mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria), insulting a young Otto Von Bismarck ('foul-mouthed foreign dog!') in the process. Flash beds her, naturally, and years later he accepts an offer he can't refuse and follows her to Munich. Yet again his propensity for wanton fornication lands him in deep water and he unwittingly becomes embroiled in an evil plan devised by the dastardly Otto, to swap him with a Danish Prince to satisfy his own political agenda.

MacDonald Fraser writes with the same wit and dedication to historical accuracy that made the first volume such a joy to read. Royal flash is just as damned funny and informative, if not more so. It has in fact encouraged me to read up on this period of history and particularly about the quite incredible story of legendary femme-fatale Lola Montez, from her Irish beginnings to Countess of Landsfeld.

We are again drawn by MacDonald Fraser to inexplicably liking a protagonist who toadies, cheats and copulates his way across Europe with little regard for anything or anybody except saving his own skin. Flashy's instinct for survival is what makes us root for him, and he will do absolutely anything, beg, lie and flee, to ensure that he does. He even exhibits the occasional bout of uncharacteristic bravery, when no other option is available to him of course.

Just like the first outing, Royal flash features a slew of real historical figures that are woven skillfully into the story, though this is the only Flashman novel to be set in a fictional setting. Aside from Von Bismarck and Montez, the boxer John Gully, Prince Edward, Ludwig I, even composer Franz Liszt all feature among others. He is a wonderfully complex character, Flashman, delightfully honest, witty and crass, and superbly constructed by MacDonald Fraser in another winning installment of the Flashman papers. Absolutely brilliant.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flashman..., 20 Mar 2003
If 'Flashy' played for England, we would all be singing, 'There's only one Harry Flashman.' As any reader of this type of novel will know, protagonists of this kind do not come along too often. Having discovered 'The Flashman Papers' a few years ago; our cowardly cad in 'Royal Flash' never fails to impress.
After being lured away from London, the dishonest poltroon is made an offer that even he cannot refuse. The chance to impersonate Royalty and sample the regal life, in return for a tidy sum. But as 'Flashy' discovers, there is no such thing as an easy ride. Finding himself once again embroiled in deceit, intrigue and giddy-up passion - he displays his quick thinking and utter resourcefulness when confronted with the malevolent Statesman Bismarck.
There is certainly something special about Harry Flashman. Is it his talent for self-preservation that we admire, or his natural ability to be the number one love rat? Personally, I think more of us can associate with him than would care to admit. Squirming through life in his usual disastrous way, he somehow lives to shirk another day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hurray for Harry, 12 Feb 2013
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Flashman is a cad, without a care for anybody but himself, but at least he is truthful about it. `Royal Flashman' is the second (3rd chronologically) in George MacDonald Fraser's tales of the cowardly hero and the best I have read yet. This time Flashy must travel to Germany where he thinks he is off for a treat with a certain seductress, only to become wrapped up in a conspiracy that could have been ripped from the pages of `The Prisoner of Zenda' (and probably was). `Royal' is a slower paced Flashman novel than previous outings and is based in fewer locations. For this reason I think it may just be the best.

As always `Royal' is told as if Flashman is retelling the tales of his youth via his papers, filtering through Fraser. Whilst other books in the series have Harry running away from one perilous situation to another, this time Flashman has little choice, but to head into trouble. There is a certain charm to Flashman's caddishness and this is apparent more than ever in `Royal'. He admits freely to be a coward, selfish, whoremonger etc. but this upfront nature means that you can't help but forgive him a little. At one point he even berates himself for going a little too far.

With the character of Harry Flashman becoming far more rounded in this book, Fraser is able to concentrate on the adventure itself. The story of swapped identities is a great one, only improved by the fact that Flashman was only heading over to Germany for carnal reasons in the first place. It is Fraser`s eye for historic detail that raises the entire `Flashman' series of book and this is the case again here. The powder keg of a divided Germany is ready for Flashman to light the fuse.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Royal read., 26 Jan 2009
By 
J. Cooper (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
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At the beginning of this book, the plot appeared to be a little bit unbelievable and I wondered whether it was going to be a successful and engaging story. Could Flashman pose as Royalty for a sustained period of time? Would it work?

I can definitely say that it did, this book was highly entertaining and outrageously funny. I love this author's writing style which is superbly original. Flashman reminiscing in his old age of his younger more adventurous years almost makes you feel/believe that he is a real person from history it's a superb literary feat.

As ever, the author's notes at the back of the book summarise the real event to which Flashman refers to in the novel. This gives the reader a snippet of true historical fact to supplement and enhance the story.

I'm certainly glad I have read this book and will continue with this series with high expectations.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 19 Nov 2000
By A Customer
I'm reading the Flashman books for the first time, and with this, the second volume, I really started to feel hooked. The first installment was good but I felt it stalled a bit in places, but this one really tears along. I also preferred the European setting to the Afghanistan of volume I. It's funny, hugely entertaining, and yes, you will learn a bit of history as you go along. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. (I've already got Volume 3 here, and I've just ordered the next 4).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Right Royal Adventure, 20 April 2014
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Flash once again embarks on an adventure he doesn't plan, comes to situations we could never predict, acts the scoundrel and coward! And yet, always managing to keep his wits, and somehow finding time to show off his 'Clark Gable' allure (the ladies can't resist his whiskers!)
Definitely a good read! As is Flashman and so far... Flash for Freedom!
Also posted in good time :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The plot fairly gallops along like Harry Flashman in a top class Bordello for a week with unlimited credit!!!, 5 Sep 2013
By 
Glenn Cook (South Cave, near Hull UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Royal Flash (Flashman Papers) (Audio CD)
This is A REVIEW of the ABRIDGED Audio book read by Rupert Perry Jones.

A confession... this is not my favourite Flashman Book in the series but any Harry Flashman is a dammed fine read and the same goes for this abridged version read by Rupert Perry-Jones.

Jones has read The Flashman Books before on CD- I can wholeheartedly recommend Flashman and Flashman on the March as really fine listening books.

Their stories are brilliant and original and are 5 star listens this is a 4 because of the story.

The story is enjoyable but is a real play on the Prisoner Of Zenda so in my mind looses a star because it's... let's face it a rip off of that story. Flashman has no need to copy?
Anyway back to the review.

Rupert Perry-Jones has just the right voice as a young Harry Flashman, which in a way is strange because to my mind the narrator is an elderly Flashman who reminisce in his 'papers' But Rupert does a splendid job.
he has a good voice- great descriptions and when he does the voices of the characters you really can 'see' them there.

It s five CD 6 hour abbreviation and doesn't waste an ounce of time in a slow plot line.

The plot fairly gallops along like Harry Flashman in a top class Bordello for a week with unlimited credit!!!

I will not delve too deep into the plot- others have done that before and so well- but whay you should be asking is

Is the reading Any Good?
Is the story Brilliant?
Is this a worthwhile purchase?

The answer to all three is a resounding

YES.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Royal Flash-enjoyed, 21 Oct 2012
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Some 20 years ago, I picked up one of the Flashman books and enjoyed it. When I purchased a kindle and as I perused the titles, I got "The Great Game" I enjoyed the irreverant attitude and found the detail to life and attitudes of the times and background to the campaigns interesting. I have since purchased three more of the books starting with the first Flashman and continuing in chronogical order. When you start a book you want to continue reading it, and when you reach the end, you want to start the next book in the series. Well worth the money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If the Queen ever invites you to Balmoral, RUN!, 26 Dec 2011
So hot on the heels of Flashman, George MacDonald Fraser pitches our loveable villain straight into another outrageous adventure. Before reading 'Royal Flash', make sure you've read 'Flashman' by the same author. If you loved that, you'll love this...

The second book in the series has the same great narrative of the first offering, and I feel bad in criticising aspects of the book, such as the opening chapter, which starts with an aged Flashy reflecting back, which is rather wordy and unnecessary. That doesn't last long however, and it's just a few pages before the reader is rapidly catapulted into the start of the story proper, with Flashy merrily whoring and viciously insulting his way around the clubs and knocking shops of St James in London. And making terrible ememies in the process. Sets everything up for a royal yarn with all the loveable ingredients of a classic Flashman novel. The book does lack the usual thread of great historical events, such as the charge of the Light Brigade, the Sepoy Rebellion etc., but whislt the historical richness is rather lacking (only German unification is covered here, forsooth), the narrative is as good as ever, with the sub-plots and one liners pure golden royal genius.

Look out for: Flashy stalking deer at Balmoral. It isn't long before the hunter becomes the hunted. Oh and you may be confused as to why he cannot look at a hairbrush again without breaking out in a sweat over a beautiful harradin with a penchant for using it to encourage her mate during coupling sessions. WHACK! Faster Flashy, FASTER! WHACK!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Royal Fun, 7 Aug 2011
George MacDonald Fraser picks up in "Royal Flash" where he left off in "Flashman". Fraser artfully blends historical figures into his stories along with a fictional character he stole, um, I mean pays homage to, in this delightful series. After covering the years 1839 - 1842 and his service in the first Anglo-Afghan War, "Royal Flash" cover 1842 - 1843 and then 1847 - 1848 in this second installment of "The Flashman Papers".

Fraser inserts Otto von Bismarck as Flashman's major nemesis in this story, and as for Flashman's legendary womanizing, Fraser is kind enough to hook him up with Lola Montez, among others. Fraser also doesn't mind borrowing heavily from Anthony Hope's "The Prisoner of Zenda" (1894) either, though in the Flashman universe it was Anthony Hope that borrowed from Flashman's adventures. At any rate, nothing is out of scope as far as I can tell from being selected for Flashman to have his hand in. There are a host of other historical figures which play minor roles in the novel as well.

In a brief meeting involving Lola Montez, Otto Bismarck takes an immediate dislike to our anti-hero, and from that meeting Bismarck later devises a plot to gain power and get revenge on Flashman all in one go. This plot involves a "Prisoner of Zenda" like plan, though in this case the switch which sees Flashman forced to pretend to be Carl Gustaf, a prince of Denmark. This plot involves the Duchy of Strackenz a fictional place (the only fictional setting for a Flashman novel). Though Strackenz is fictional, Fraser makes it a part of the Schleswig-Holstein Question which was a real situation between Denmark and Germany involving the two duchies.

As with the first book, there are too many references back to "Tom Brown's Schooldays". In one case it felt natural and part of the story, but in the other instances it felt forced and certainly was unnecessary considering this is the second book of the series and Flashman's origin has already been established. It also seems unlikely that Flashman would be so fixated on Tom Brown when one looks at his life since that period.

All things considered I am giving "Royal Flash" 4-stars, as it is almost as good as the first in the series, but at the same time it obviously cannot be as original, and the fictitious setting also takes away from it slightly, as do the unnecessary references to Tom Brown. Nevertheless, it is still very fun to read, and there is even some history to be learned.
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Royal Flash (Flashman Papers)
Royal Flash (Flashman Papers) by George MacDonald Fraser (Audio CD - 21 Nov 2005)
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