3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The rumbustious adventures of a cowardly cynic,
By A Customer
This review is from: Flashman (The Flashman Papers) (Paperback)
Flashman's saving grace, as he tumbles through the greatest events in Victorian history, is that his jaundiced view of others is also applied unsparingly to himself. And yet, as he dismisses famous Victorian warriors as incompetent buffoons Flashy manages a persuasivenes that makes him difficult to dismiss. As he meets Queen Victoria, and her overweening court, Flashy ponders on the sexual activities of the Queen and her consort. Flashy's carnal musings are a refreshing corrective to the usual adoration of the Queen. I prefer Flashman's cynical view of the preening grandees to that of the sycophantic masses with their gullible adoration of their heroes.
The squirming, lying, scared and promiscuous Flashman may seem to have no virtues. Yet there is, at the heart of his philosophy (if his attitude can be so dignified), a refreshing readiness to cut through the posturing that makes up so much of the life of public figures and others. From his cowardly, and cowering, vantage point he provides a painful view of life which is perhaps only acceptable when it comes from the likes of Flashman.
The book is an entertaining combination of the high adventures of a scoundrel who has no illusions about himself or anyone else. The readiness of the world to acclaim him as a hero underpins the story with a very funny running gag. The gullible onlookers are fooled and Flashy may have more to say to us, and about us, than we find comfortable.