Top critical review
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Strictly for diehard Flashman fans only.
on 6 January 2000
Basically about Flashman getting his nuts in the pickle again, and emerging with undeserved kudos.
I'm a dedicated Flashman reader, and until this one thoroughly enjoyed every one of 'em; so much so I've not only re-read them umpteen times, but also recently re-read them in chronological order, and whilst doing so have considerably increased my knowledge of Victorian history. Much of the enjoyment has been that the subject matter of each book has been interesting- until this one came along.
Unless you're American, you've probably never heard of John Brown (other than in the song, and even then it's a little known song these days). It's not a bad book as such, but an enormous shame that now the author is getting on in years he didn't write about Rorke's Drift (but this is covered a little in the latest excellent "Flashman and the Tiger") , or the Alamo, or one of a number of more interesting and better known historical episodes hinted at in earlier works in the series. I hate to say it but this is just a Flashman Formula book, a sort of "Flashman by numbers" if you will. It doesn't improve much with re-reading either, and I'm afraid that if it weren't for a few minor episodes within the story which link in to other Flashman novels, I probably wouldn't even recommend it to fellow Flashman followers. Don't let this put you off the others though, as with the slight exception of "Royal Flash" they're the most enduringly enjoyable novels I've ever read!