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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 8 August 2017
The Flashman series are an alternate view on the 'ripping yarn' type of stories (though not always with the humour given the context of some of the events). The author is a wonderful story teller who manages to weave fiction into fact in a believable manner. There is considerable historical accuracy. I won't repeat what many other said with regard story lines etc but will say that I have the series and have read them twice. They are fun and an easy read but are not politically correct, which as someone who has lived in a country that had segregation in living memory, I do find sits uncomfortably on occasion especially given the author's reported views. If you take the perspective that they are pastiche of early writers and their views, you can laugh at the backwardness of the individuals and most certainly not find them something to emulate. Flashman is a total cad after all.
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on 7 April 2014
Flashman returns to India on a mission to counter Russian rebel rousing in India. He ends up going undercover and gets into various scrapes and encounters at historic battles during the Indian Revolt. Really interesting way of introducing you to periods of history that you knew nothing about and there are plenty of footnotes and references for you to find out more of what actually happened. Fact is often more exciting than fiction but I like the way the author blends real events into Flashman's story making it so accessible to those who want a quick introduction and not through a history book.
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on 15 March 2010
I'm about half way through the Flashman series now and have to rate "Great Game" as my favourite so far - Flashman seems to be an (even) more interesting character in this one as we see seem him affected by what he witnesses in the Mutiny. Historically fascinating as ever and feels better paced than some of the others. Has some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Not sure the person who writes the blurb on the back of these books actually reads them, though - Flash does his best to "keep the British end up", of course, but it's hardly the raunch-fest alluded to; maybe they've led a sheltered life. Terrific stuff, nonetheless.
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on 25 July 2017
An extremely entertaining book with a lot of historical facts woven into the story and it is unimportant if they follow each other correctly
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on 4 June 2017
Every Flashman book gets five stars. They never fail to entertain on the highest level. I just wish there were more in this world.
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on 28 June 2017
superb !
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A bit let down As there was no dust cover as shown in ad
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on 18 November 2001
Another rip-roaring adventure from the British Army's most noble cad. This adventure sees our reluctant hero caught up in the events surrounding the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58.
In a conflict notable for the sheer barbarism surrounding many of its shocking events, Flashy is at liberty to display his most dubious qualities of fear, funk, bluff and deceit. As a master of disguise (sometimes masquerading as a British officer) and armed with his consistent luck (Flashy would say bad luck) and his unfailing charm, he develops the uncanny ability to be present at almost every major event that made up the Indian Mutiny.
Whether its witnessing the first sparks of rebellion at Meerut, taking part in the ultimately horrific Siege of Cawnpore or risking his life to get a message from Lucknow to Campbell's relieving force (if this wasn't how it happened, it should have been), Flashy is there with his bowels in spasm and his innards
dissolving.
He manages too to meet a veritable 'Whos Who' of Victorian notables. Apart from the usual gang of Queen Victoria (Vicky), Prince Albert, Lord Palmerston (Pam), William Howard Russell and Lord Cardigan (Jim the Bear), our erstwhile warrior rubs shoulders with most of the notables of the Indian Mutiny, on both sides. On the British side he meets Sir Colin Campbell, General Wheeler, Johnny Nicholson, Major Vibart, Henry Kavanaugh, Sir James Outram, Lord Canning and Sir Hugh Rose, whilst on the rebel side he meets Nana Sahib. If you care to read about the true events surrounding the Indian Mutiny you will see these names figure prominently. History alas, was not so kind to our trembling friend Flashy.
Whilst enabling Flashman to display his usual cowardly, selfish and licentious side this conflict does enable us to glimpse a different side to Flashy too. He is genuinely appalled and angered, for instance, by some of the sights he sees during the conflict, particularly the decapitated body of his former lover and a babys hand "...like a little white crab in the dust." at Cawnpore Well. Was that also real tears we saw him shed as his schoolchum Scud East expired in his arms on a barge at Cawnpore ghat ? Careful Flashy, who knows where this could end.
He also manages to lose his heart to the enchanting Rani of Jhansi who is central to this whole tale. She is the reason he goes to India, and she soon becomes the reason he wants to stay. Beautiful she may be and clever, but we never get to know just what makes her tick, despite Flashys best attentions. Was she an enthusiastic rebel or did she have little choice but to join in ? Who knows, but she made an impression on our 'hero' and that's for sure.
Baddies abound, most notably an old adversary from 'Flashman at the Charge', Count Nicholas Ignatieff. The Russian Count is probably the most worthy foe that our hero has encountered since Rudi von Starnberg, whose voice incidentally, acts as a spur to rouse Flashman from meeting a particularly gruesome end.
For every baddie however there is a hero, no not Flashman, but his 'protector' the Afghan, Iderim Khan. This unfortunate chap had the misfortune in the first Flashman novel, 'Flashman', to be sworn to protect Flashy. Taking up his promise in this novel he has a thankless task to protect our fraudulent Hector, but manages manfully until the deception at Cawnpore. In fairness to Flashy though, there are times in this novel when he gets dangerously close to being, well, a soldier. At Cawnpore he, wait for it.......fights !

Another worthy edition to the Flashman papers then, a little slow at first, but in time you will be enthralled as you are swept up in the whirlwind of another Flasy escapade in the 'Age of Empire'. MacDonald Fraser yet again seamlessly merges historical fact with fiction in a way in which we are simultaneously educated, entertained, shocked and amused. If you didn't know much about the Indian Mutiny before this book, you know most of it by the end. Get a dusty old textbook to fill in the gaps...if you must.
The end of the novel is very clever, as we find our hero both lauded and ridiculed, as he receives the 'spoils of war' but also a rude awakening in the shape of a nasty, indeed libellous piece of literature in which he features prominently.
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on 1 February 2009
In FLASHMAN IN THE GREAT GAME, Flashman is in India in 1857, doing undercover work for Lord Palmerston, when the Indian Mutiny erupts. Consistent with his other Flashman novels, George McDonald Fraser shows an immense talent for comic plausibility in FitGG as he moves Flashman into the thick of the action. This time, Flash witnesses the outbreak of the rebellion at Meerut, survives the siege and massacre at Cawnpore, does his duty at the fortress at Jhansi, where the Brits have laid a siege, and watches horrified as the beautiful Rani Lakshmibai, who Flashy may have bedded, dies in battle at Gwalior.

As a Yank, the Indian Mutiny was mostly new to me, and I frequently found myself on Wikipedia, trying to learn more about the issues and events of this terrible war, where both sides behaved with great cruelty. In doing so, I gained further respect for Fraser, who communicates the information that's on Wikipedia but with flair, occasional humor, and admirable concision. In his hands, the Mutiny becomes a tale of great adventure, where Flashman becomes a surprisingly sympathetic character, who seems mean-spirited only among other Brits.

In the first 100 pages of FitGG, Fraser sets up his story and introduces his characters. Admittedly, these pages are a little slow. But, thereafter, hold onto your hat! This is an exciting and first-rate action narrative, with Flashy, really an ordinary man, illuminating history.
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Though the Flashman series by George MacDonald Fraser has been in print for decades, this was the first Flashy book that I read. Ok, I've been inexcusably tardy; I've been busy.
As created by the author, the fictional Harry Flashman is an officer in the British Army during the reign of Queen Victoria. In FLASHMAN IN THE GREAT GAME, Flashy, by this time a colonel, is asked by Prime Minister Lord Palmerston to go to India to investigate unrest among sepoy troops, a potential uprising perhaps being fanned by Harry's old nemesis, Count Ignatieff of Russia. After Flashman arrives, he's forced to go underground by assuming the identity of a native enlistee in the 3rd Cavalry, Bengal Army - just in time to become embroiled in the Great Mutiny of 1857.
Despite Flashy's growing reputation for heroism among the Army and Her Majesty's government, he's actually the greatest of cowards. His only interests are staying out of harm's way and having sex with as many women as possible. He's a rascal and a bounder of the first order. For female readers, Flashman is the man Mom warned about. For male readers, he is, perhaps, Everyman at heart. The charm of his memoirs, "The Flashman Papers", from which each book of the series is an excerpt, derives from the total honesty by which Flashy readily admits to his character deficiencies. It's only through canny opportunism, unwelcome circumstances, and luck that Harry's renown for derring-do increases with each installment.
The appeal of Flashy's rascality aside, the strength of these stories is apparently the historical research that Fraser did to create the backdrop for Harry's adventures. In FLASHMAN IN THE GREAT GAME, the event is the savage 1857 uprising of Indian troops against their British masters that resulted in massacres of whites - men, women, and children - at such places as Meerut, Jhansi, and Cawnpore. The British reprisal was merciless. And Flashy is there to tell us all about it, as well as explain the cultural and religious factors that contributed to the bloodbath. As an instruction about something I knew nothing about, Harry's narrative more than justifies the cost of the book. (OK, so I got it free from an email pen pal. But, you get my meaning.)
I was torn between awarding 4 and 5 stars. I settled on 4 as the safe option since that leaves room for improvement, which I may discover as I read additional volumes in the series. I do have to say, however, that I found Fraser's McAuslan trilogy more humorous and appealing, perhaps because the time, place, and protagonist are more contemporary.
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