For George MacDonald Fraser the bully Flashman was easily the most interesting character in Tom Brown's Schooldays, and imaginative speculation as to what might have happened to him after his expulsion from Rugby School for drunkenness ended in 12 volumes of memoirs in which Sir Harry Paget Flashman - self-confessed scoundrel, liar, cheat, thief, ...
For George MacDonald Fraser the bully Flashman was easily the most interesting character in Tom Brown's Schooldays, and imaginative speculation as to what might have happened to him after his expulsion from Rugby School for drunkenness ended in 12 volumes of memoirs in which Sir Harry Paget Flashman - self-confessed scoundrel, liar, cheat, thief, coward -'and, oh yes, a toady' - romps his way through decades of nineteenth-century history in a swashbuckling and often hilarious series of military and amorous adventures. In "Flashman" the youthful hero, armed with a commission in the 11th Dragoons, is shipped to India, woos and wins the beautiful Elspeth, and reluctantly takes part in the first Anglo-Afghan War, honing a remarkable talent for self-preservation. "Flash for Freedom!" finds him crewing on an African slave ship, hiding in a New Orleans whorehouse and fortuitously running into rising young American politician Abraham Lincoln...
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I picked up Flashman because it references Ruritania, a particular interest of mine and slogged through to find the reference. The book is well written and interesting from an historical perspective. However, I really cannot encourage anyone to read it. The lead character (in this instance a true anti-hero) is despicable. I have no doubt such people did then and still do exist, but does anyone really want to know them? Had the author made him humorous, Flashman might, possibly, have been bearable. This was not the case. I will definitely NOT read any of the sequels.
Jul 31, 2008
If you are looking for a great read with a bit of historical adventure you've found it. Be prepared for some very sexist humor and attitude but overall a VERY entertaining book. Despite all of his flaws, and there are many, Flashman is a memorable character whom you can't help but like. His brutal honesty and ability to extracate himself from some very sticky situations make for a great story full of action and laughter as well as some historical accuracy.
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