Flashman Hardcover – 17 Dec 2009
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'Flashman is a wonderful creation, by a master storyteller. We'll forever delight in his evil antics' JEFFREY ARCHER
‘Politically incorrect, lascivious and fiendishly handsome, Flashman is the greatest ’ BORIS JOHNSON
‘Flashman is one of the great characters of modern fiction; a rogue, a lover, and always an irresistible read’ BERNARD CORNWELL
‘Flashman, Sherlock Holmes, Toad of Toad Hall, Bertie Wooster. Any writer would give his eye-teeth to have created a character as good as those. GMF was one of the greats’ CONN IGGULDEN
‘The perfect fictional creation’ TONY PARSONS
‘A first-rate historical novelist’ KINGSLEY AMIS--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
To those unacquainted with the story, Harry Flashman is the cad and bully expelled for drunkenness at the end of Thomas Hughes' classic novel 'Tom Brown's Schooldays'. From here, Macdonald Fraser takes up the reigns of his story almost immediately, as a disgraced seventeen year-old Flashy is sent home from Rugby school to make his explanations to his father. After duly bedding his father's mistress, young Flashy joins the 11th Regiment of Light Dragoons commanded by Lord Cardigan. Here he discovers he has a talent for riding and for foreign languages, cheats at a duel, and by a totally self-inflicted twist of fate ends up at the frontier of the British Empire in Afghanistan, and subsequently at the infamous retreat from Kabul (1842), a military disaster which resulted in the loss of more than 16,000 troops and civilian workers (and only one survivor), from which he of course runs away.
MacDonald Fraser was a damned fine writer, and his attention to historical detail is such that the books are brimming with highly accurate information throughout the series, and from which I have actually learned a great deal. In this first installment Flashy encounters a slew of historical figures; Lord Cardigan, General Elphinstone, William Hay Macnaghten, Akbar Khan.Read more ›
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?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great fun. Now for the next in the series. Reminds me a bit of PG Wodehouse. High hopes for the rest.Published 1 month ago by Where Is Belgium?
Want to learn about British military history in the 19th Century ? Forget about stuffy text books . Read about it all in the Flashman papers . First class !!Published 1 month ago by Adrian Kempster
This book was chosen by me as a consequence of reading again Tom Brown's School Days. It was enjoyable in being able to see Flashman in more detail. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bellringer
I don't think I'd go quite as far as P.G. Wodehouse who gushes effusively about being a 'watcher of the skies' when some new comet or planet is discovered. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sebastian Palmer
Enjoyable read with interesting historical information will definitely carry on with Flashman storiesPublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great fiction full of humorous touches and quite non-U but our politicians should have read this and learned the lessons bfore
Great story full of humour and truth. Read more