Top positive review
“I was sufficiently recovered from my nervous condition – or else the booze was beginning to work ...
on 11 May 2016
Royal Flash is the second of the Flashman novels. Written in 1970 by George MacDonald Fraser, Fraser based the book on the plot of The Prisoner of Zenda. Set during the Revolutions of 1848 the story is amusing enough. It is set in the fictional Duchy of Strackenz. This makes it the only Flashman novel to be set in a fictitious location. The story sees Flashman fleeing from a police raid on a brothel he was visiting, Flashman meets Lola Montez and Otto von Bismarck. Some years later a tempting offer sees Flashman in Munich. Here Bismarck has him abducted and blackmailed. His mission: to imitate Prince Carl Gustaf, a fictional member of the Danish royal family. Gustaf is to marry Duchess Irma, the ruler of the fictional Duchy of Strackenz. But according to Bismarck the prince has contracted a sexually transmitted disease. This, of course, would be embarrassing if uncovered by his future wife. This turns out to be a lie. In fact the prince is in prison in Jotunberg Castle. Flashman is a doppelgänger of the Prince. He is trained to take his place until the Prince is cured. Accompanied to Strackenz by Bismarck's accomplices, Rudi von Starnberg, Detchard and de Gautet, Flashy weds the Duchess. Shortly afterwards, while out hunting, Flashman finds out that Bismarck meant to double-cross him and kill him. But he turns the tables on his attacker and tortures the information out of him and kills him instead. He is then captured by Strackenzian nationalists and forced to help them storm the Jotunberg Castle. They are successful, but Flashman and von Starnberg fight in the dungeon, with Flashman escapes death. He then goes back to England, with the help of Montez, who robs him along the way.
In Royal Flash we see old Flashy in all his guises. Coward, scoundrel, lover and cheat. He uses his wits and skill to out of all manner of sticky situations. Well researched and full of detail, the mixture of history, humour and adventure makes for a great read.