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Flashman: A Novel Paperback – August 1, 1984
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Praise for the Flashman series
“Hilariously funny.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Great dirty fun!”—Grand Rapids Press
“The most entertaining anti-hero in a long time… Moves from one ribald and deliciously corrupt episode to the next… Wonderful and scandalous.”—Publishers Weekly
“Raises dastardliness to the level of an art… One of the most amusing and sardonic novels I have ever read!”—Omaha World
“As irreverent and picaresque as Tom Jones and always more dramatic… Flashman is a one-man demolition squad!”—Chicago Today
“Marvelously entertaining… A delight!”—Providence Journal
About the Author
George MacDonald Fraser was a bestselling historical novelist, journalist and screenwriter. He is perhaps most famous for his series of Flashman novels, featuring his antihero Harry Flashman. In addition to his novels, he wrote numerous screenplays, most notably The Three Musketeers and the James Bond film Octopussy. George MacDonald Fraser died in 2008 at the age of 82.
Top customer reviews
It is a pseudo-documentary based in the mid 1800’s (reviewers note: it was written in 1969). It starts with Harry Flashman being booted out of school for a particularly violent drunken brawl . Fearing getting a real job Flashman joins up with the 11th Regiment of the Light Dragoons, which he had hopes for because of their smart uniforms. After deliberately throwing a duel between himself and a fellow soldier , which was caused by him bedding his comrade’s lover, he reassigned to Scotland where he is living with a successful, yet lower economic class, merchant family. He instantly falls for one of the daughters , he sleeps with her and is forced to marry her.
This then leads to the army finding out , and for giving into the cardinal sin of marrying below his class he is given two options, resign or be transferred to India. In India he is successful on horses, with women and with picking up the languages the British army, recognizing his talents , send him to Afghanistan where in the opening days of the Afgan uprising during the ill-fated Anglo-Afghan war , the first edition (mid 1800’s) not the second millennium edition.
The book is fascinating and a must read for everyone. If someone enjoy reading about the exploits of someone who has success without deserving it than this book is great, brain candy with some actual knowledge conveyed. If you desire an interesting and non-dogmatic exploration into what is happening in Afghanistan, the second half of the book, will also enlighten you and provide useful examples to impress your friends at a dinner party. Just make sure not to make the mistake of many early reviewers of the books in the 1970s and tell people this is an actual memoir.
Thoroughly researched to include the actual events that occurred during the war, and many of the historical figures, the book is a complete work of fiction. That is something that you have to constantly remind yourself of throughout the whole book. In a day and age where the typical American male is stuck with brooding, goth like, anti-hero’s , Flashman is a welcome relief. He is a man’s man. He can outdrink , out bed, and out escape any person on the planet. He will become your role model and when everyone becomes like him, the world will be a better place for it.
The Plot: Young Harry Flashman is expelled from Dr. Thomas Arnold's Rugby School where he has been sent down for drunkeness.
The young wastrel enlists in the army following in the footsteps of his dissolute father. Flashman is stationed in Scotland where he seduces and weds Elspeth Morrison. This less than brilliant but beautiful blonde is the daughter of Mr. Morrison who is a manufacturer. Flashman is sent to India and later to Afghanistan. He is captured by Afghan rebels and nearly tortured to death. Flashman participates in the British Army's retreat from Kabul resulting in a massive slaughter of the troops, Indian sepoys and British women and children. Flashman returns home a national hero for his efforts in the first Afghan War. He is nevertheless a scoundrel who is a rapist, coward and a seducer of women all ages, shapes and sizes! His wife Elspeth has been unfaithful during his long sojourn abroad. Flashman is received by the Duke of Wellington and is presented a medal for valor given him by young Queen Victoria. Give Flashman credit for being honest about his military exploits!
The Review's Assessment of the Novel: I found this book to be at times hilarious and at other times it blazes with adventure worthy of a nineteenth century James Bond (the author Fraser wrote the screenplay for Octopussy). Flashman is the narrator of his career poking fun at British Victorian hypocrisy and incompetence in the British colonial army. He is able to paint with a broad brush the sights and smells of exotic locals in Afghanistan and India. Flashman serves as the first person narrator of his amazing career. Though the book is fictional the author claims he discovered the Flashman papers in the 1960s. The papers were suppposedly written by the elderly Flashman during his retirement.
The Flashman novels are a delight! The series is not for the squeamish or those adverse to coarse language. The Flashman books are well written and researched. If you want to enjoy a few hours in the company of a rogue who will entertain and enlight you then be quick to sign up in the British army alongside that magnificent cad Harry Flashman. Enjoy!!!