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Harry Flashman: the unrepentant bully of Tom Brown’s schooldays, now with a Victoria Cross, has three main talents – horsemanship, facility with foreign languages and fornication. A reluctant military hero, Flashman plays a key part in most of the defining military campaigns of the 19th century, despite trying his utmost to escape them all.
If only Flashman had got on with his dinner and ignored the handkerchief dropped by a flirtatious hussy in a Calcutta hotel … Well, American history would have been different, a disastrous civil war might have been avoided, and Flashman himself would have been spared one of the most hair-raising adventures of his misspent life.
If only … But, alas, the arch-rotter of the Victorian age could never resist the lure of a pretty foot. This latest extract of the Flashman Papers soon finds Flashman careering towards the little Virginian town of Harper’s Ferry, where John Brown and his gang of rugged fanatics were to fire the first shot in the great war against slavery.
‘If ever there was a time when I felt that watcher-of-the-skies-when-a-new-planet stuff, it was when I read the first Flashman’
'There is a little of Flashman in all of us – but not enough.'
'The Flashman Papers do what all great sagas do – winning new admirers along the way but never, ever betraying old ones. It is an immense achievement.'
'In our crass, humourless, anaemic, politically correct age, there could be no better tonic or treat than the outrageous Flashy's bold descriptions of action in battle or bedroom. To relish George MacDonald Fraser is to rediscover the joy of reading.'
‘Everything we expect from a Flashman adventure is here: lechery, double-crossing, real people, the epic poltroonery from which Flashman emerges as saviour of the hour…my one complaint about the series – surely the great mock-historical romp of the past half-century – is that MacDonald Fraser does not add to it often enough.'
Mail on Sunday
’Thanks to Fraser’s passion for history, his rare gift for rattling narrative and his infectious delight in robust, rollicking language, we can rejoice in a work of genius worthy of being ranked with – there can be no higher accolade – P.G. Wodehouse’
About the author
The author of the famous Flashman Papers and the Private McAuslan stories, George MacDonald Fraser worked on newspapers in Britain and Canada. In addition to his novels he also wrote numerous screenplays, most notably The Three Musketeers, The Four Musketeers, and the James Bond film, Octopussy.