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Flashman: A Novel Paperback – August 1, 1984

4.4 out of 5 stars 259 customer reviews
Book 1 of 12 in the Flashman Papers Series

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Editorial Reviews


'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 AMIS --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

The author of the famous Flashman Papers and the Private McAuslan stories, George MacDonald Fraser has worked on newspapers in Britain and Canada. In addition to his novels he has also written numeous films, most notably The Three Musketeers, The Four Musketeers, and the James Bond film, Octopussy . George Macdonald Fraser died in January 2008 at the age of 82.

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Product Details

  • Series: Flashman
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reissue edition (August 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452259614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452259614
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (259 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It is hard to believe that this first book of the Flashman series is now nearly 30 years old. Written as if it is an actual published memoir (later books put "a novel" on the cover, probably to protect the publisher from receiving annoying letters of shock and outrage from the truly ignorant and profoundly clueless). This is a book for lovers of historical fiction, military fiction, or British history, but will be enjoyed by those who otherwise would never read in these areas. They are books of humor, following a knave and poltroon -- Harry Flashman -- as he stumbles into many of the great events of the 19th century (often fleeing irate husbands). Events he has visted so far include Little Big Horn, the Chinese Boxer Rebellion, the Indian Mutiny, the American slave trade, and the Prussian court where he was forced to act as a royal imposter. To the world he is seen as a great heroic figure, a development that Flashman finds hilarious yet endlessly useful. This first book introduces the Flashman character, beginning with his being expelled from school, forced into the British Army, and suddenly finding himself in the midst of the disasterous British Afghan campaign. The only books that ever left me laughing harder were the original three books of what should have remained the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy" by Douglas Adams. Highly recommended, though with this warning: reading this book and its successors will leave you considerably more educated about the important events of the last century without you even realizing it is happening
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Format: Paperback
I discovered and read George MacDonald Fraser's masterful "Flashman" series in my teens (I'm now crouching this side of forty), at the same time I first read Ian Fleming's James Bond novels.
From Bond I've learned how to play baccarat, how to pull an Aston Martin out of a skid, and how to climb through a tunnel of scorching hot metal.
I have never in my life had to do any of these things.
On the other hand, from Flashman I've learned lessons I use every day of my life:
* When the trouble starts, keep your head down, or better yet, in a totally different country.
* Never be afraid to accept credit for something good you did. That goes double for something good you didn't.
* Never volunteer.
* Wine, women, and song? To hell with the song.
* There's no shame in living as a coward. Beats dying as a hero.
* Always have an escape plan. If not, steal someone else's.

Game, set, match: Flashy.
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By A Customer on March 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
The Flashman papers - the memoirs of the fictional 19th century British officer Harry Paget Flashman - are the product of George MacDonald Fraser's fertile imagination. If they had really been found in a Leicester saleroom in 1965, as Fraser tells us in the preface of the first Flashman book, their discovery would have been as serendipitous as the discovery of the ruins of Pompeii. These books are really special, and it's a pity that more people don't know about them.

The first of eleven books in the series, Flashman: From the Flashman papers, 1839-1842 recounts Harry Paget Flashman's adventures as a young adult, primarily his participation in the First Afghan War. The book presents certain thematic elements that recur delightfully throughout the series: Flashman's propensity for finding himself at the center of major historical events, brushing shoulders with important historical figures like the Duke of Wellington and Queen Victoria; his uncanny luck in getting out of the stickiest situations imaginable while getting credit for heroic deeds not his own; and his unbridled hedonism.
Flashman is a talented equestrian and linguist. His positive characteristics end there. By any objective measure he is a deplorable human being. Flashman is a coward, a lecher, and a libertine; and yet, oddly, most readers will wind up liking him. Some have compared him to James Bond, but that would be an insult to 007, who was after all a decent guy.
This contradiction is hard to explain. How can we like a guy who has a deplorable character and yet always seems to come out on top? Perhaps he appeals to the irresponsible freedom-loving id in all of us. There is a part of us that envies someone who can sin often, get away with it, and never feel burdened by a guilty conscience.
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Format: Paperback
It was great fun and embarrassing to read this first book in what I am sure is an impressive series. Why embarrassing, you may ask; well I am an Indian.

Fraser certainly knows how to write a great satirical historical fiction. I have no idea about the Afghan war and for all its worth I would believe Flashman's papers as the truth. Fraser writes it that well. Flashman confesses to being a coward and a scoundrel and impressively is hailed as heroic, brave and loyal. This itself seems to bring truth to his story. It is so fantastical and detailed that one may believe his words by the end of half the novel.

I being from the lot of India's black n***** savages am quite impressed by the perspective of the Englishman - a soldier and a gentleman. His description of that era is accurate in its disgust. The action, in bed and battle, is a very telling account of a foreigner in a hellish land (hell for the Englishman, home for some others).

It starts off with Flashman's disgrace and elimination from school. He has a flash of an idea to take it easy in a cozy regiment. Depending on his dad's fortune he gets the colours and can't help continue being a scoundrel. He is then further disgraced by getting orders to go to India to assist the East India Company. Here the story keeps getting funnier, interesting and irresistible. His adventures in India seem to bring him glory whether he keeps going worse or not. Hailed for learning the native tongue he is rewarded by an assignment to Afghanistan. Poor fellow is a victim of his own success.

Soon the Afghan chapters turn rapidly as you breeze through his adventures with the Gilzais and Ghazis and Kabulis. He turns every misadventure into glory without lifting a finger. It's as if an angel of scoundrels watches over him.
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