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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 4 July 2016
Having narrowly escaped Madagascar, in this episode Flashman ends up in the Anglo-Sikh War (the first one actually, 1845-46). Not wanting to join battle, he thinks he is being clever by volunteering for the political service. In fact, this lands him in the worst possible viper's nest, i.e. the mad & murderous court of Lahore. Thankfully, as always he manages to find some female friends: the maharani Jeendan (a former dancing girl, mistress of the previous ruler Ranjit Singh) and her slave girl Mangla. After many intrigues, some more deadly than others, Flashman still witnesses some of the important battles of this atypical war - atypical in the sense that the Sikh army had been organized entirely on European lines. As a result, the battles very much resembled those fought in the Napoleonic wars, rather than those between small European armies and a huge but unorganized 'local' host. Needless to say, the Koh-I-Noor ("the mountain of light"), that most famous of diamonds, also features in the story.

I find the Flashman books mighty interesting and entertaining. They provide an odd combination of fiction and facts, of serious background research and coarse humour, of adventures on the battlefield and between the sheets. I am learning a lot about the Victorian period and its many wars (on that score: I recommend Saul David's "Victoria's Wars" to those who want to have all Victorian wars - at least up to 1861 - in just one book) - frankly I think Flashman ought to be obligatory reading at every school in Britain.
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on 21 December 2014
Great read: My second time around for this series and much more convenient on the Kindle than on the paperbacks. The many explanations of events and words in the text are easy to access using the cursor keys and OK button, returning to the text by pressing the Back button. Much better than some Kindle editions I have bought in the past. A Ripping series of yarns with a good historical background. Easy to become absorbed and delightfully racy throughout. The language that George MacDonald Fraser put into Flashman's mouth and thoughts seems understandable and yet typical of the era it is set in.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 June 2011
For a long time people had expounded the brilliance of the flashman and the books are damn fine to read, i don't think it needs me or anyone else to write a review saying about the high quality of the writing and characters... but for me the real brilliance comes to the fore when the book is read by the likes of Rupert Penry-Jones / Toby Stephens / Jonathan Keeble or Timothy west.
I love to listen to the Flashman books on audio format when im on holiday, the only issue i have is to make sure i dont start talking like a Victorian cad whilst going to the bar to get a drink.

If you love the books and have not tried the audio format yet do so, i promise you its a whole new way to experience the world of Flashman, and if you are new to the Man...go will love him.
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on 30 April 2000
I am nearly halfway through the collection and this one based on the great battles for northern India continually matches the detailed content and fast paced humour that has become a trademark for our Great British hero Flashman and of course George MacDonald Fraser. Start with the original Flashman novel and work through them to this, you will be most amused!
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on 20 June 2015
The history of this book in the series was brand new to me and didnt quite sit right, seemed to be wedged in. However, that small down was more than made-up for with possibly the most cunning, devious, intelligent, sexiest femme fatale yet. The relationship between our hero and the princess, her servant, her family, her palace, her jewels, and her army sizzles throughout.
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on 31 July 2009
Having enjoyed the previous Flashman novels, I was expecting the usual treat, an exciting and humorous adventure story.

Yet I was sadly disappointed with this book, it felt stale and terse and was certainly not of the previous high standard set by earlier books.

This is definitely one Flashman that could be dropped from the series which would not be missed.

The historical content and accuracy are second to none as usual, but it is the character relationships and plot that felt `stodgy' thus affecting and interrupting the flow of the story.

I shall continue with the Flashman series as I'm sure the previous excellent reading standard will return with the next book.

Read this book if you are a fan of Flashman but don't expect the usual brilliance.
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on 16 April 2012
I'm beginning to wonder about Flashman... is he really a work of fiction? I merely ask this because his world is populated by such extrovert characters - sluttish maharanis who perform strip-tease before their troops in order to keep them under control, bandit courtiers whose adventures would be considered preposterous if they appeared in fiction, praying politicians who happily send off their agents to "roger" the opposition in order to manipulate events. All of the characters are larger than life... and REAL! So who's to say that Flashman really IS a work of fiction?
Only joking. Once again George MacDonald Fraser opens up another moment in the history of the nineteenth century, once again he shows us what a fabulous era it was. There's trouble brewing in the Punjab! The natives are stirring and it's no joke because the Khalsi are probably the best army outside Europe and more than a match for the British. The future of the British in India is in the balance... who do you call? Flashman is pushed into the breach... The problem with being thought of as a hero is that you're too cowardly to refuse anything... Our Flashman... what a lad
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on 12 June 2014
This is a good read and well up to the usual Flashman standard. My only complaints would be 1) it's fairly ridiculous to suppose that an arrant coward would allow himself to be railroaded into taking part in a war that didn't concern him, as he was not on active service when it started, nor was he a part of the Company's Indian Army. And 2) in this novel we see the start of the invidious, all-pervading jingoism that marred a lot of these books. It is a little tiresome to have it rammed down one's throat that the British Empire was the best thing to ever happen to the world, and a shining beacon of probity, decency and enlightenment, when in fact the Raj was a monstrous evil to those who suffered under the Imperial jackboot, whose countries were raped, looted and despoiled, and whose people were slaughtered by the million, all to bring wealth to Britain...or rather, to England. A good story but a skewed, unreliable vision of history that tells only one side of the story, and one interpretation of the 'facts'. Recommended, but not unreservedly.
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VINE VOICEon 11 October 2007
Flashman has no time to recover from his exploits in Madagascar (Flashman's Lady) and he has to say goodbye to his wife Elspeth for now.

With the British Empire at its zenith in the 1840's the geographical scope for adventures as part of the British Army are worldwide. Here Flashman is whisked off to India, and somehow volunteers for a secret service mission in the court of the beautiful nyphomaniac Maharani. Our lovable rogue, Flashman, is jumping out of one bed and into another, and out of one frying pan and into another. Will he never learn!

Pick this book up now. The fast paced action, wanton women, colourful charactors, military jingoism, and more wanton women, will ensure that you keep the pages turning. So read on and discover whether Flashman can secure the India border of the British Empire and live to fight another day, and seduce another lady.
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on 18 August 2013
Flashy re-routed from Madagascar ( Flashman's Lady ) back to the intrigues & horrors of India for skulduggery ( & shirking ) in the Punjab. As ever you'll learn more history from GMF's books than elsewhere.
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