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Flashman on the March (The Flashman Papers, Book 11) Paperback – 30 Jul 2015
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There are certain authors whose very names are an absolute guarantee of quality, and George Macdonald Fraser has long been one of those. His Flashman books are much loved, and the exploits of his engaging rogue have been delighted readers for years. But is Flashman on the March up to the customary Fraser standard? After all, the number of Flashman books is now legion, and even the authors most dedicated admirers would admit that some Flashman outings (while diverting enough) have lacked the freshness of the early books. It's good to report, therefore, that Flashman on the March is almost vintage Fraser, with all the elements that have won him an ironclad following largely in place. There are, of course, two elements that make these books such fun: the vivid and pungent historical detail (always effortlessly integrated, and never self-consciously laid on as in so many historical novels, serious or otherwise); the author's refusal to be politically correct (the Flashman books have always played fast and loose with the accepted views of morality and society, and their bawdy, amoral charms are refreshing in an age in which such things are looked at askance -- even if Fraser, like Frederick Forsyth, is far better encountered in his entertaining books rather than in his more splenetic role as pundit).
Here, that least heroic possessor of a Victoria Cross, Sir Harry Flashman, finds himself catapulted into a highly dangerous assignment in Abyssinia: he is to rescue British prisoners from a demented emperor. Abyssinia (as seen through Fraser's highly colourful imagination) is a land of lethal seductresses, terrifying warriors and a jawdropping female monarch whose idea of what she should feed her lions is unorthodox. It's up to Flashman (as so often before) to triumph over insuperable odds by the most unlikely methods. Needless to say, untrammelled sexual activity is firmly on the menu. If you're a George Macdonald Fraser fan, or a Flashman fan, what are you waiting for? --Barry Forshaw
'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 AMISSee all Product description
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Apparently Flashman has spent much of the 1860s in America (fighting for both sides in the civil war) and in Mexico, where he ended up as an aide to Emperor Maximilian, the ill-fated Habsburg who was going to straighten out that poor country. This installment starts with Flashman having to run from Trieste, to escape the wrath of Admiral Tegethoff (Victor of the Battle of Lissa and commanding the ships that brought Maximilian back from Mexico) who is not amused by Flashman's romantic exploits on board with a relative of his. The proposal by an old friend he meets, now working in the diplomatic service, that Flashman escort a shipment of gold coin to the expeditionary force into Abyssinia, suddenly seems an excellent idea.
And so Flashman ends up in the Abyssinian campaign, a British rescue mission for a handful of hostages taken by the demented Emperor Theodore of Abyssinia. Unable to get away with just delivering the gold, the expedition's commander Napier and some 'politicals' press him into an extremely dangerous mission into the Ethiopian hinterland. I won't give away much, but I can say it is a breathtaking series of adventures, ending with the storming of Magdala, Theodore's mountain stronghold.
As always, this episode is again steeped in amazing research by MacDonald Fraser, and the reader learns all he (or she) ever wanted to know about Abyssinia, its spectacular nature (Flashman actually falls off a waterfall in the Blue Nile) and dangerous, violent inhabitants.Read more ›
The original "Flashman" novel features the anti-hero Harry Flashman, based on the "Tom Brown's Schooldays" bully, a well aimed ironic body blow at the mores and morals of the Victorian age. In this first book Flashman is a purely self serving coward, a rapist, a toady and a casual racist. In short he is a portrait of the dark side of the Victorian Gentleman, quite an easy target which George MacDonald Fraser hits repeatedly with gusto.
It might be imagined by the time "Flashman on the March" has been reached, our author may have slightly run out of steam but MacDonald Fraser has retained his infectious enthusiasm for the military adventures of the period. What he has lost, though, perhaps from his long studying of the great figures of the Victorian Age, is ,it seems, his desire to belittle the morality and values of the time. So, here, Harry Flashman, although acting in violently cowardly fashion when his life is actually in danger, behaves generally almost heroically: he has at least two clear opportunities to avoid his dangerous mission, and it is only his desire to retain his reputation, his name, that drives him to accept the hair-raisingly deadly adventure. Can the most heroic of warriors say much more ?
Undoubtedly, the Sir Harry shown here is less entertaining and less memorable than the figure he cuts in the earlier books, and "On The March" is more a standard adventure yarn than a clever skit on the Victorian adventure yarn.Read more ›
Unfortunately, I gather Flashman passed away after writing this volume. If you haven't read any of his other papers this would be a strange place to start. It is, however, a fine place to end.
'Flashman on the march' is no different from all other books in the series which means: fast-paced, and filled to the brim with MacDonald Fraser's unique mix of ludicrous humour and historical fact. Need I say that there's some delectable women in there too?
Most recent customer reviews
GMF is the master at his craft. I returned to this book after reading it a number of years ago and still found it fantastic. The level of research makes these novels what they are.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Perhaps not as good as some others but still a ripping yarn with the usual ingredients.Published on 15 Jun. 2015 by PT