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1. The Complete McAuslan
2. The Reavers
3. The Light's on at Signpost
4. Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing
5. Flashman on the March (Flashman
6. Flashman, Flash for Freedom!,
7. Flashman and the Dragon
8. The Steel Bonnets: The Story of
9. Royal Flash (Flashman)
10. Black Ajax
11. Flashman in the Great Game: A
12. Flashman and the Tiger
13. Mr. American
14. Flashman and the Redskins
15. Flashman
16. Exploits and Adventures of Brigadier
17. Flashman at the Charge
18. The Candlemass Road
19. Flashman's first omnibus
20. The Hollywood History of the World

1. The Complete McAuslan
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 608 Pages (2009-08-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$9.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1602396566
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
George MacDonald Fraser's hilarious stories of the most disastrous soldier in the British Army are collected together for the first time in one volume. Private McAuslan, J., the Dirtiest Soldier in the World (alias the Tartan Caliban, or the Highland Division's answer to the Pekin Man) first demonstrated his unfitness for service in The General Danced at Dawn. He continued his disorderly advance, losing, soiling or destroying his equipment, through the pages of McAuslan in the Rough. The final volume, The Sheikh and the Dustbin, pursues the career of the great incompetent as he shambles across North African and Scotland, swinging his right arm in time with his right leg and tripping over his untied laces. His admirers know him as court-martial defendant, ghost-catcher, star-crossed lover and golf caddie extraordinary. Whether map-reading his erratic way through the Sahara by night or confronting Arab rioters, McAuslan's talent for catastrophe is guaranteed. Now, the inimitable McAuslan stories are collected together in one glorious volume.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure cream from a Master
George MacDonald Fraser was a fantastic writer. All of his books are excellent
reads, whether you read his fiction or non fiction. The McAuslan stories are
somewhere between. They are really autobiographical tales of his service in a
Scottish Highland infantry regiment immediately after WWII. If you're not a big
reader of military history books you'll still enjoy these immensely entertaining
vignettes. Fraser could turn a phrase and his character sketches are brilliant.

I was truly sad to finish this book, I wish there were more. Fortunately there
are still Fraser books out there I haven't read yet, I'm still looking forward
to "Pyrates", "The Steel Bonnets" and the few "Flashman" books I haven't
gotten to.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unfettered Enjoyment
Whether you are a fan of George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series or not, these stories are priceless.Set mostly in North Africa following the end of World War II, the hilarious antics of the Highland soldiers and the wry observations of their Subaltern, Lt. Dand McNeill(undoubtedly Fraser) provide a vivid picture of a peacetime unit with few enemies about besides each other and all the trouble in the world to get into.Some of the oddest and funniest characters are MacAuslan, "the dirtiest soldier in the world, Wee Wullie, and the author's alter-ego McNeill.Some of the stories will make you laugh out loud.More than one may leave you with a tear in your eye.Fraser had that gift.Sentimental without being maudlin.Hilarious without being nonsensical,You can also smell a hint of a hot desert breeze as you read, with just a hint of the malodorous MacAuslan.The rendition of the Glaswegian dialect seems genuine, and may be a bit daunting at times, but you'll find yourself rooting for the "wee boys" throughout this wonderful book by a master storyteller.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Complete McAuslan
All the books I have read by this author have been outstanding.Generally very different, but outstanding.As regards McAuslan, I have had many relatives that were in Highland units over the years, and the things that happen in the McAuslan books are things that happen in a Highland unit.Just don't read it in a place where breaking down in gales of laughter would be inappropriate!

5-0 out of 5 stars Flashman, move over!
For all that have read the Flashman series of books, this is a great change of pace by an excellent writer.The stories of life in a Highlander regiment, and the trials of tribulations of a new junior officer are well worth the reading.Short enough to read one story, and lay the book by until the next opportunity, enough dialect to connect with his "Jocks"- but not so much that a Yank gets lost in the Gaelic.The McAuslan stories are hilarious- and sometimes, sobering.Anyone that has ever served as a junior leader in the military will quickly connect with Mr. McNeil- especially if they had a McAuslan of their own.

5-0 out of 5 stars Calling these "McAuslan Stories" is a misnomer
Although Private McAuslan is most certainly the single most striking character in these collected short stories, it's inadequate to think of Fraser's writings in this volume as centered upon that Highland Sad Sack when one finds here such a wealth of situation, circumstance, and ingenuity in revealing the life and times of a junior officer in the roaring years of turmoil shortly following World War II.

If McAuslan is prominent by dint of the special problems - Dear God, SUCH problems! - he and his kind impose upon fresh young shavetails pulling their first tour of duty with troops, the reader of this review (who had better be thinking of ordering this collection posthaste) should be disabused.Nothing so bland, so one-note, is ever to be found in the prose of George Macdonald Fraser.

A bit of a warning, though. The reader entering upon these stories really ought to be well-grounded in both military history and English literature to fully appreciate the real nuggets of Fraser's wit.While anybody can enjoy them, I really do doubt that someone who can't instantly recall, say, the career history of Sir Henry Morgan is going to achieve the sort of choking, convulsive response that wracked my flabby form when, reading through "The Servant Problem," I came across the words "That's Panama."

And for decided, prickly, deliberate, in-your-teeth "political incorrectness"....

Well, hell. If you're a Fraser reader, you know what you're in for, and it's what you'll be spending your money to get out of this book.

If you're a "Liberal," to hell with you. ... Read more

2. The Reavers
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 288 Pages (2009-04-07)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.63
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307388050
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
After twelve gloriously scandalous Flashman novels, the incomparable George MacDonald Fraser gives us a totally hilarious tale of derring-do from a different era.

It's the turn of the seventeenth century (sort of) in the wild Borderlands of Scotland. The irresistible Lady Godiva Dacre and her "chocolate-box pretty" companion Mistress Kylie Delishe find themselves caught between the dashing Bonny Gilderoy (think Johnny Depp on a horse in a tunic) and Archie Noble (Steve McQueen in Elizabethan garb). A casket of jewels, an accidental murder, and an estate at risk are the order of the day. Amidst preposterous alliances and ridiculous complications of the heart, our heroines discover a fiendish Spanish plot to overthrow the king. What ensues is an utterly uproarious thrill ride filled with lecherous mischief, diabolical intrigue, and a cast of supporting characters that only George Fraser could deliver. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars `It was a dark and stormy night in Elizabethan England ...'
Spoiled, arrogant, filthy rich and breathtakingly beautiful, the young Lady Godiva Dacre is exiled from the court of Good Queen Bess [who can't abide red-haired competition] to her lonely estate in distant Cumberland.Poor Godiva.The turbulent Scottish border is no safe place for an Elizabethan heiress: ruthless reivers; black-mailing ruffians; fiendish Spanish plotters intent on regime change.What's a girl to do?She has no-one but Kylie, her blonde school chum. Or does she? What about the dashing highwayman, and that rugged English superman?Hmmm.

From its taut [!] opening sentence [over300 words worth] this [moral] tale is a totally frivolous nonsense.It is, as George MacDonald Fraser firmly stated in his foreword - completely over the top and written for the fun of it. If you can't read it in the same vein, then pass it by.I think that George MacDonald Fraser had a lot of fun writing this book (his last) and I certainly had a lot of fun reading it, notwithstanding my concerns about Frey Bentos and the European Union.

Perhaps the last word belongs to the author's statement from the foreword: `If we seem to treat history lightly in this regard, that is not to say we are false to it; mad fancy may go hand in hand with sober fact, as long as the two remain distinct.' Indeed.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

2-0 out of 5 stars pathetic purple prose
I'm sure there's a story in here somewhere but slogging through the author's artificial folksy speech, overwrought prose, and mindless rambling draws on my nerves and gets tiring fast. It was fun at the introduction, but becomes tedious by the second chapter and near unreadable after that. I just want him to get on with the story. I'm glad I didn't pay full price for this.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Reavers
A rollicking adventure in the style of the Burt Lancaster movie "The Crimson Pirate", "The Reavers" blends Elizabethan history with broad contemporary humor.It is a fun read, especially for lovers of 1940s adventure movies.Not as scholarly as most of Fraser's books(and YES I include the Flashman series), more like "The Pyrates", this story is sarcastic, funny, randy and a fine conclusion to a magnificent career.

5-0 out of 5 stars As a newbie to Fraser, I loved this book!
As a newbie to George MacDonald Fraser's work, I loved this book. The first few pages were a challenge, since it was all blithely-written nonsense to give the reader some background, and the characters had not yet set foot in the scene.But once they did, I found myself really laughing at the over-the-top dialogues.It's obvious that Fraser really does know his history -- this is no guess-work by an amateur -- but boy, does he have fun with it.Much of the dialogue and references might make more sense to those of us who do happen to have some knowledge of the history of the period, and especially of the Anglo-Scottish borderlands and the broad Scots dialect;but since I'm lucky in that regard, I managed to follow the jokes.I have to say that this book is what I really hoped the Terry Pratchett books would be, but never were for me.Anyway, I plan to read more of Fraser's work in the future.I recommend this to anyone who loves jinking word-play and tongue-ferdy nonsense.

4-0 out of 5 stars More swashbuckling silliness from the author of "Flashman" and "Pyrates"
George MacDonald Fraser sadly left us in 2008, but the blessed author left behind some of the most beloved comic novels written in recent years.From his adored "Flashman" series - a perfect comic counterpoint to Bernard Cornwell's bloody Sharpe novels - to the high-sea silliness of "The Pyrates," Fraser's novels have enchanted readers far and wide.

"The Reavers" is not Fraser's best book, but that's far from a critical review - the man set the bar extremely high.This book is akin to "Pyrates" in that it is a stand-alone work of comic gold.Allegedly set in the late 16th century on the English-Scottish border (although with this book, Fraser's historical fidelity is, shall we say, fluid), "Reavers" tells a story of love, political intrigue, and heinous Spanish plots and schemes.

Archie Noble and Ebeneezer Gilderoy are English and Scottish special agents, sworn foes and rivals for the fair, spoiled hand of Godiva, an English princess.Forced to work together to fight off a dastardly Spanish plot to replace the Scottish king with an imposter, this team offers Fraser countless opportunities for him to split your sides with a well-timed jape.Indeed, few sentences lack a punchline - this is a joke-heavy book.

And it is also a bit of a struggle - even though it is far shorter than the epic "Pyrates," "Reavers" is a dense book requiring close attention to what the heck is going on.Fortunately, the jokes come so fast and furious that you don't really mind if you've lost the plot thread, and this isn't actually a Russian novel as far as plot complexity is concerned.

Fans of Fraser have already read this.If you are new to Fraser, don't start with this book - start with "Flashman," jump over to the "Pyrates," and finish with this one.You'll be glad you did. ... Read more

3. The Light's on at Signpost
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 352 Pages (2003-05-19)
list price: US$18.60 -- used & new: US$8.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0007136471
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
From the author of the ever-popular Flashman novels, a collection of film-world reminiscences and trenchant thoughts on Cool Britannia, New Labour and other abominations.In between writing Flashman novels, George MacDonald Fraser spent thirty years as an "incurably star struck" screenwriter, working with the likes of Steve McQueen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cubby Broccoli, Burt Lancaster, Federico Fellini and Oliver Reed. Now he shares his recollections of those encounters, providing a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes.Far from starry-eyed where Tony Blair & Co are concerned, he looks back also to the Britain of his youth and castigates those responsible for its decline to "a Third World country ! misruled by a typical Third World government, corrupt, incompetent and undemocratic".Controversial, witty and revealing -- or "curmudgeonly", "reactionary", "undiluted spleen", according to the critics -- The Light's on at Signpost has struck a chord with a great section of the public. Perhaps, as one reader suggests, it should be "hidden beneath the floorboards, before the Politically-Correct Thought Police come hammering at the door, demanding to confiscate any copies". ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars Like an embarassingly drunk uncle at a tea party...
I genuinely enjoy reading Fraser's fiction and think "Quartered Safe Out of Here" is one of the great memoirs of World War II. However, this book is just one extended rant and ends up making Fraser look silly. The few times he scores points it is on easy targets.Most of the time he is simply trying too hard to be a curmudgeon. There is something pathetic about a wealthy white male feeling victimized by modern politics and one wonders, for all his railing against political correctness, if he doesn't have his own sacred cows that he never examined.Still, his anecdotes are funny and, as always, he writes beautifully.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Flashman, but undeniably Fraser
This is the only one of George MacDonald Fraser's books that I have read (20 to date), that does not merit a 5 star rating.Still, I highly recommend it.

Do not expect Flashman to come running to the rescue after cowering behind a bush.These are the personal reflections of a marvelous author and screen writer.GMF's chapter on political correctness entitled "Angry Old Man 5 - The Truth That Dare Not Speak It's Name" is worth the purchase price by itself, and is truly hysterical, though sadly, spot on.While I did not agree with all GMF's rants, delivered in his distinctive style, it is impossible to take offense.

The book is liberally (forgive the word choice, George), sprinkled with personal anecdotes of some of the biggest names in entertainment and elsewhere.

For those wishing to sample Fraser's work for the first time, Pyrates or any of the Flashman novels will serve perfectly.

4-0 out of 5 stars good, for fans
The book is in three interwoven threads, Fraser's screenwriting experiences, 'interlude's, and 'angry old man', a series of essays about what's wrong with the world.Much has been made of one of the latter, a short rant by an old soldier opposed to Britain's involvement in the 'Fourth Afghan War,' but these essays cover a range of topics, and there is plenty of scorn to go around.The book should be uniformly interesting for fans of Fraser, but not strongly recommended for others.For me, the revelation that he is not done with Flashman was worth the price of admission.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Real Breath of Fresh Air
Mr, Fraser has written a really good book, which makes a lot sense and was fun to read. One gets tired of hearing from the P.C. and the "Caring Brigade", so when I started reading this text it really was a joy to these tired old eyes.
Not that I don't agree with everything with the Author. For example his oppostion to the 4th Afghan War. But Mr. Fraser has earned his right to opposed that war. (Anyone who fought under Slim in Burma has my respect) He also put forth ones of the best arguements against the EU that I have ever read.
I also liked reading about Mr. Fraser's movie career especially about the Musketeers series in this tome. All in all it's one of his better books that I have read of his since "Flashman in the Great Game. I am really looking forward to "Flashman on the March" and just hope that he will get Flashy's involvement in the American Civil war edited soon!

4-0 out of 5 stars With ineffable cheek
"I write as a convinced Imperialist - which means that I believe that the case for the British Empire as one of the best things that ever happened to an undeserving world is proved, open and shut ... We did what we did, and it was worth doing, and no one could have done it better - or half as well."

Bravo! Well, said.

George MacDonald Fraser, author and film screenwriter, has delighted fans for decades with his Flashman series, his Private McAuslan series (THE GENERAL DANCED AT DAWN, McAUSLAN IN THE ROUGH, THE SHEIKH AND THE DUSTBIN), his history of the Anglo-Scottish border brigands (THE STEEL BONNETS), and his autobiography of his World War Two soldiering with General Slim's 14th Indian Army in Burma (QUARTERED SAFE OUT HERE). For those acquainted with these works, THE LIGHT'S ON AT SIGNPOST presents a Fraser not before seen.

This book's thirty chapters are assorted, ten each, into three categories: "Shooting Script", "Angry Old Man", and "Interludes". In the first, Fraser reminisces about script writing for such films as the Musketeers trilogy, PRINCE AND PAUPER, SUPERMAN 1 and 2, FORCE TEN FROM NAVARONE, OCTOPUSSY, and RED SONJA. In the second, the author is at his outraged and irascible best as he rails against Britain's participation in the post-9/11 Fourth Afghan War, the contemptible incompetence of Members of Parliament in general ("government from the gutter") and the New Labour government in particular, the abolition of the death penalty, political correctness, women in the armed forces, the race relations industry, unrestricted foreign immigration, the dismal state of British print journalism and television, greed and dishonesty in professional sports, and Britain's membership in the European Union. Finally, in chapters headed "Interlude", Fraser ruminates on such diverse topics as the Act of Settlement, which bars Roman Catholics from the throne, boyhood trips to Scotland in the family caravan (trailer), the Anglo-American "special relationship", a trip to Russia, the British Empire, and ...

"... the modern craze for garlic and peppers is symptomatic of Britain's decline. Time was when both were unknown here, and the atmosphere was not rendered hideous by a stench reminiscent of an inferior Paraguayan bordello. (I have never been in Paraguay; I merely surmise.)"

For me, the best parts of THE LIGHT'S ON AT SIGNPOST are Fraser's political and social commentaries. Indeed, he uses such language that would cause Liberals to gnash their teeth and rend their robes.Luckily, I'm not a Liberal, so enjoyed his rants immensely. Less absorbing were his remembrances of the film industry, perhaps because I only saw one of the movies mentioned, although his descriptions of the personalities of Burt Lancaster, Oliver Hardy, Edward Fox, Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford, Steve McQueen, and Arnold Schwarzenegger were enlightening.

The book's title refers to the grandstand scoreboard which monitors the Isle of Man's annual Tourist Trophy cross-country motorcycle race. As each contestant passes Signpost Corner, about a mile from the finish line, a light illuminates next to his slot on the scoreboard. Fraser recognizes that his life is coming to its natural end, and he's perhaps just passed his personal and last milepost.

Fraser's books, particularly the McAuslan trilogy, occupy a place of honor on my mental shelves. He's one of the most enjoyable authors I've ever come across, and I salute him as he approaches his finish line. And it's good to know beforehand what a Paraguayan bordello smells like. ... Read more

4. Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 358 Pages (2007-10-17)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1602391904
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

George MacDonald Fraser—beloved for his series of Flashman historical novels—offers an action-packed memoir of his experiences in Burma during World War II.  Fraser was only 19 when he arrived there in the war’s final year, and he offers a first-hand glimpse at the camaraderie, danger, and satisfactions of service. A substantial Epilogue, occasioned by the 50th anniversary of VJ-Day in 1995, adds poignancy to a volume that eminent military historian John Keegan described as “one of the great personal memoirs of the Second World War.”
... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

4-0 out of 5 stars Full of character and characters
George MacDonald Fraser writes of his service in Burma during WWII. It's definitely different
Example. page 215

`Ey, Grandarse, `ear w'at they're sayin' on't wireless? The yanks `ave dropped a bomb the size of a pencil on Tokyo an' it's blown the whole fookin' place tae bits!

Oh, aye. W'at were they aimin' at - `Ong Kong?"
"Ah'm tellin' ye! Joost one lal bomb, an' they reckon `alf Japan's in fookin' flames. That;s w'at they're sayin'!"
"W'ee's sayin'?"
"Ivverybody, man! Ah'm tellin' ye, it's on't wireless! Ey, they reckon Jap'll pack in. It'll be th' end o' the war!"
"Girraway? Do them yeller-skinned boogers oot theer knaw that?"
"Aw, bloody `ell `Oo can they, ye daft booger! They `evn't got the fookin' wireless, `ev they?"
"Aweer, then . Ah's keepin' me `eid down until the Yanks've dropped a few more pencils on Tokyo. An' w'en them boogers oot theer'ev packed in, Ah'll believe ye.?
"Aw, Ah's wastin' me time talkin tae you! `Ey, Foshie, `ear aboot the Yanks? They've dropped a secret weapon on Tokyo, `an the whole fookin' toon's wiped oot!"
"`Igh bloody time. W'ee's smeukin', then? Awoy, Kock, gi's one o' yer H.Q. Coompany fags, ye mean booger!"

It was a fine sunny morning when the news, in it's garbled form, ran round the battalion, and if it changed the world, it didn't change Nine Section.They sat on the floor of the basha, backs to the wall, supping chah and being skeptical. "Secret weapon" was an expression bandied about with cynical humor all through the war; Foshie's socks and Granndarse's flatulence, those were secret weapons, and super-bombs were the stuff of fantasy. I didn't believe it, that first day, although from the talk at company H.Q. it was fairly clear that something big had happened, or was about to."

I'm off to read Paul Fussell's Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best Personal Memoir of WWII I've read.
George MacDonald Fraser's memoir of his service as an enlisted man in the "Black Cat Division" in the Burma Campaign. Written forty years after the fact in the 80s Fraser vividly describes the experience of fighting "the Jap" in Burma, by all accounts the worst theater in WWII. The book as everything, in places it is laugh out loud funny, and in others you might have trouble seeing the print because of the dampness of your eyes.

Fraser has the remarkable ability to make us feel like we know the other members of his squad. When I finished the book, I began to miss Nixon, Grand Arse and the others.

Keegan described Quartered Safe Out Here as "one of the great personal memoirs of the Second World War", all I've got to say is "One of?", ha, it is the best, at least the best I've read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fraser's Quartered Safe Out Here (a review by Thomas W Johnson)
George McDonald Fraser was the highly talented author of the "Flashman at the ...." series.I always enjoyed his work. It was normally previewed in Playboy Magazine and allowed the reader to honestly say he was reading the fiction and not bothered by the photos. In world war 2 Fraser was assigned to a Border detachment. In this mildly fictional work, Fraser's character appears to be part of Cowan's 17th Division working its way south towards Rangoon from Meiktila.Its a great read. Short, well written, lots of conversation between the "other ranks" so we're not bothered by Slim, Scoones, Merservy, etc....He does mention Slim's visit among his stories. This is interesting fiction based on Fraser's experiences in 1945.The story about running into the Japanese bunkers on patrol, and debating whether to throw in both his grenades is almost worth the price of purchase on its own.
I recommend this book for readers interested in the war in Burma, the British infantryman's experience in the war in Burma and readers who are acquainted with Fraser's other works.You won't be disappointed.Readers might want to compare Fraser's work to McCann's Memories of Kohima for first person description of an infantry battle against the Japanese. Its not expensive, an easy read and someone you know will want to borrow the book when you're done.

5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Memoir of the Burma Campaign
"Quartered Safe Out Here", by George MacDonald Fraser, is Mr Fraser's memoirs of his service as a 19 year old Scottish Private (and Corporal) toward the tail end of the Burma Campaign in World War II.Written over 50 years after the war, this book is not meant to be an exhaustive study of the campaign, but covers what he remembers of the battles he fought and gives a delightful depiction of the men he fought alongside ... and with ... in Burma against the Japanese.

Early on in the book, Mr Fraser describes his memories as a long line of grey where he remembers generally what was happening but with few specifics alongside occasional bursts of vivid color where he can remember a tremendous amount of detail - and not all of it relevant.Nearly 50 years old myself, I find that's a pretty accurate portrayal of how my older memories are, too, such as my days in college or when I was in the Service.He fits his recollections in with a broader description of the fighting in Burma during the time he served, in a generally chronological, generally episodic manner in line with his memories.

Where this book really shines is in its day-to-day depiction of the life of an infantryman in this theater.He covers everything from the challenges of the jungle ... heat, monsoons, poisonous critters ... to what he wears and eats, and to his impressions of the many different nationalities/cultural subdivisions that fought in the 14th Army (British, Indians, Sikhs, Gurkans, Africans, and so on).But best of all is his descriptions of his section-mates, a much more experienced, battle-hardened, and humorously sarcastic bunch, that fought and beat the Japanese.There are also battle scenes both large and small, although as the author points out, what makes an action slight or deadly dangerous depends pretty much on your perspective; what higher headquarters may barely notice could be the most dramatic fighting of the war for the people involved.

The book is refreshingly politically incorrect, which is to say honest to the era and to what the men involved truly felt and believed.While in my experience, most veterans of the Western Front in World War II have forgiven and are reconciled to the Germans, the veterans of the Pacific front, virtually to a man, still hate the Japanese and will until their dying breath.

I highly recommend this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars An old soldier's authoritis
This book is not a history of the Burma campaign, but a memoir of a tiny portion of it, from the Battle of Meiktile to mopping up operations after Operation Dracula. The author is very forthright about the sketchiness of his memory of events a half century earlier.He was a young private and then a corporal in a section of infantry that was part of the 17th Indian Division.His aim, and the considerable charm of the book, is to portray the men in his section--their attitudes, their speech, their humor, and now and then their courage.One quickly gets to recognize them, and to share Fraser's affection for them--and so it is a genuine shock when now and then one of them is killed or wounded.

Unfortunately from time to time he lapses from a veteran's tenderness into an old soldier's rant about the degenerate customs and revisionist views of the current day.It is natural enough, I suppose, for an elderly author, but it puts the reader through increasingly dense sections of his opinions about non-Burmese subjects--the dropping of the atomic bombs, the lack of respect for stiff upper lips, the pop-psych interrogations ofTV journalists....It is not so much a question of whether his opinions are correct, or politically correct, as it is a question of whether those curmudgeonly passages add to the flavor of the work or dilute it.
... Read more

5. Flashman on the March (Flashman Papers)
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 352 Pages (2006-11-14)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400096464
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
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Product Description
It’s 1868 and Sir Harry Flashman, V.C., arch-cad, amorist, cold-headed soldier, and reluctant hero, is back!Fleeing a chain of vengeful pursuers that includes Mexican bandits, the French Foreign Legion, and the relatives of an infatuated Austrian beauty, Flashy is desperate for somewhere to take cover. So desperate, in fact, that he embarks on a perilous secret intelligence-gathering mission to help free a group of Britons being held captive by a tyrannical Abyssinian king. Along the way, of course, are nightmare castles, brigands, massacres, rebellions, orgies, and the loveliest and most lethal women in Africa, all of which will test the limits of the great bounder’s talents for knavery, amorous intrigue, and survival.

Flashman on the March—the twelfth book in George MacDonald Fraser’s ever-beloved, always scandalous Flashman Papers series--is Flashman and Fraser at their best. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars A British general goes on a desperate trek to save hostages from a mad king
Flashman is the Zelig of the 19th century, a fictional character inserted by his inventive creator into many and sundry historical events, introducing or reintroducing them to us in a far more entertaining fashion than the history books ever will.

Fraser here puts Flashman in a fascinating but forgotten piece of 19th century history - the British expedition deep into what is now Ethiopia to rescue hostages held by the mad King Theodore.

Led by General Robert Napier, the mission was a resounding success, against overwhelming odds of defeat. Naysayers (virtually everyone) predicted Napier and his troops couldn't make the trek, would run out of supplies or be cut off deep in the wild by fierce Abyssinian troops and would inevitably perish.

Napier not only reached the mountain redoubt where the hostages were being kept but retrieved them with virtually no casualties, then retreated without further entangling the British or seeking to expand the already enormous empire.

Theodore was a fascinating character - an admirer of Britain to the end. His pride, however, is offended when the Foreign Office fails to respond to a letter from him describing a favor he has done them.His madness swings between moments of genial lucidity where he mulls sending his son to a British school, and ones of flaming madness where children might be thrown over cliffs.

Flashman, in Trieste dodging authorities after dallying with a young Austrian girl on a voyage from Mexico, agrees to escort British cash to the Red Sea to bolster Napier's expedition. He thinks he'll be able to head home from there, but Napier - whose support Flashman needs to return to England - sends him on a risky mission: travelling deep inland to enlist the support of a rival queen against Theodore. Without it, Napier's military chances will be lessened considerably.

Flashman's guide is the queen's half-sister Uliba, gorgeous and an intrepid warrior. (And, of course, a vixen. This is a Flashman novel.) She serves as his introduction into the exotic ways of the land, a largely Christian kingdom virtually unknown to Europeans.

And it is she who shows him the savagery of King Theodore, who has not only tortured hostages but laid waste to large parts of his own country, killing thousands of his own subjects. It's a savage place to begin with; torture is common, enemies are dealt with in the most painful possible ways, and warriors often go into battle with the private parts of slain enemies dangling from their spears. Diners are often served raw meat cut from live animals on the spot.

It has its merits, of course, in its legions of gorgeous women who tend to go around topless.
Flashman finds his way into the court of Queen Masteeat and then, inevitably, into the company of King Theodore, whose madness he sees first-hand, and where he eventually witnesses a historic victory, but not before acquiring a respect for Abyssinian warriors.

4-0 out of 5 stars Poorly Executed Xfer to the Kindle

I love Flashman. When younger, I enjoyed Hornblower, but Flashman is more to my taste nowadays. Just the thing for an airplane trip or a summer at the beach.

Now someone tell me why this edition does not have footnotes that work. Lots of other Kindle books handle footnotes. Click, select footnote, click, read footnote, click, return to text. Great. But couldn't the publisher get off his duff and do the job properly?

Fraizer's footnotes about Flashy's historical setting are half the fun.

3-0 out of 5 stars This One Came Out Of Left Field
Look, I've been a Flashman-o-phile for a good 35 years, but this one caught me totally off guard.Think about it - every one of Flashy's campaigns, adventures, trials, tribulations etc., etc. have, in previous novels, been discussed or mentioned, if only tangentially, without exception.Tell me, kind readers, where he or Fraser ever mentioned Abyssinia - ever.I truly don't know where this one came from, but it was a great disappointment and formulaic.That being said, it's still Flashy and it is readable, but hardly one of the best, and as I said above, a great disappointment.Sadly to say, at Fraser's age, the oft hoped for and most eagerly awaited Civil War adventure will probably never come to fruition.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another great Flashman book
For those of us to whom his books brought such pleasure, "Flashman on the March" will always have an air of sadness about it, as it was the last Flashman book the late George MacDonald Fraser ever wrote. As with a prematurely deceased friend, we Flashman fans lament the adventures we'll never experience with our dear departed Flashman: the U.S. Civil War, the Mexican fiasco, Rorke's Drift, et al. However, we're thankful for what we were given, and this book is a worthy finale to the canon. The writing is as excellent as ever, the history as bizarre as it is true, and the story as vivid and enjoyable as any in the series. I appreciate the point of view of those who found this work a bit formulaic, i.e. the usual mix of exotic temptresses, unintended involvement in a horrific Victorian war, the disconnect between character and reputation, etc.However, there's nothing wrong with using a formula that works, and the formula that MacDonald Fraser developed in the original "Flashman" is pure gold. What do the critics want? To read a book about Flashman vacationing in the Lake District? Writing letters to the editor about Irish Home Rule? This isn't the best of the series, but it doesn't disappoint. Thanks for the laughs, GMF.

5-0 out of 5 stars Flashman on theMarch
This book lives up to the high standard of humor previously set in all the other books in the Flashman series - and set in accurate history time-lines.

This is a great laugh all the way through - and very hard to put down.

The book was received in EXCELLENT condition ! ... Read more

6. Flashman, Flash for Freedom!, Flashman in the Great Game (Everyman's Library (Cloth))
by George MacDonald Fraser
Hardcover: 912 Pages (2010-02-02)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$18.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307592685
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Three of George MacDonald Fraser’s incomparable and hilarious novels featuring the lovable rogue, soldier, cheat, and coward: Harry Paget Flashman.

Praised by everyone from John Updike to Jane Smiley, Fraser was an acknowledged master of comedy and satire, an unrivaled storyteller, whose craft was matched only by his impeccable historical research. And his greatest creation was, of course, Flashman. The novels collected here find our hero in the midst of his usual swashbuckling adventures of derring-do: fleeing adversaries in the First Anglo-Afghan War; meeting and nearly deceiving a young Abraham Lincoln in America; alternately impersonating a native Indian cavalry recruit and wooing women in India; and managing, whatever the circumstances, to keep his hero’s reputation unsullied.

A must-have treat for the legions of dedicated Flashman fans, and a delightful introduction for those lucky enough to be encountering him for the first time. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (109)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Rollicking, Good Read
Harry Flashman, bon vivant wastrel and ne'er do well, is the protagonist in this satire of mid-19th century English society and colonialism.Published over 40 years ago, the story is as raucous and entertaining as the day it went to print.

In this, the original Flashman novel, we are introduced to the primary school bully who is bounced from Rugby School at age 17 for drunkenness (among numerous other faults) and subsequently enlists in the 11th Light Dragoons.From this point, hilarity ensues as we follow the exploits of what can only be described as one of the most character deficient cads ever in print.

From a comfortable home office posting with the Dragoons, Flashman is relegated to the colony of India after a brief, disastrous stint in Scotland.Destined for a miserable position with the company troops of the East India Company, Flashman uses his charm and wiles to attach himself to a high ranking British officer, only to discover he is bound for Kabul, Afghanistan.What follows is one of the most humiliating chapters in British military history, and Flashman is in the center of the debacle.

Never before have I encountered such a likeable cad.At every juncture, Flashman seeks fame, pleasure and riches at the least risk to him, and is not above larceny to acquire them.Most refreshing is his candor and self recognition, expressing scorn and disbelief at those willing to risk life and fortune for noble or selfless causes.A rollicking good read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rogue, bounder, cad...and hero?
Flashman is a rogue, bounder, and cad: the archetypical anti-hero.Duplicitous and sneering, yet publicly charming, the most noble thing he does in this opening volume of the Flashman Papers (12 in all) is to seduce his father's mistress.After that, its off to foreign parts - India and Afghanistan - surrounded by historical figures and partaking of historical events, all told with wit and mocking insight.

In the 1960's George Macdonald Fraser set out to write some stories set in the golden age of the British Empire - well, golden from a certain point of view, anyway.To do this, he set an anti-hero loose in Victorian England, and gave him free reign to do as he would, so long as he reported truly.The Flashman Papers were the result - and apparently on first publication, some papers assumed that this was not a work of fiction, but a true history.

Sexist, racist, and whatever else, Flashman is unique.He gives us a new pair of eyes on which to view the past, and GMF tells the story in fine style.In addition, the history that Flashman occupies is true, and (comparatively) rigorously footnoted.Here Flashy is leaving school (as told in Tom Brown's Schooldays) and joining the Army, getting mixed up in the great events of the day.

This is superb reading, true history written as fiction.It is both laugh out loud funny and sombering, a wonderful window into the past.

5-0 out of 5 stars Flashman Series

Would rather have an Unabridged version But if not available, this Abridged version is Very Good!

1-0 out of 5 stars Not suggested reading for your bookclub
This was an unfortunate selection of my book club.While I like reading historical fiction, I refused to finish this book.The main character of this book has no redeeming qualities.He's a coward, a rapist and total jerk.I'm amazed to see so many positive reviews of this book.I do not understand how this book merited sequels.

5-0 out of 5 stars flashy
Since the first time I picked up one of GMF's Flashman novels, about 35 years ago, I knew right from the getgo nothing was to be taken seriously.
Yes , Harry Flashman is a coward, Misogynist,blackguard and scoundrel, ooh just the kind of person mom told me to stay away from. Somehow though i just keep getting drawn back in by the spell of George MacDonald Fraser's anti-hero.
After having read some of the earlier revues, I gotta say, lighten up everyone. No one ever said the books were great literature, what they are, is a great read, all the books.
So what if Harry isn't anyone's idea of the typical Victorian hero, I'll let everyone in on a little secret: he's not supposed to be. Enjoy the stories for what they are, good historical fiction, with a little more than a touch of a hysterically cynical viewpoint of the human condition. ... Read more

7. Flashman and the Dragon
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 336 Pages (1987-07-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452261910
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Unfortunately in China in 1860 a lot of people were depending on Flashman: the English vicar-s daughter with her cargo of opium; Lord Elgin; the Emperor-s ravishing concubine; and Szu-Zhan, the female bandit colossus, as practised in the arts of love as in the art of war.They were not to know that behind his Victoria Cross, Flashman was a base coward and charlatan. They took him at face value, and he took them for all he could, while China seethed through the bloodiest civil war in history, and the British and French armies hacked their way to the heart of the Forbidden City. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars Flashman and the Taiping rebellion
Tricked into making what he perceives as easy money on an opium run, Flashman finds himself in the thick of the Taiping Rebellion. Once again Fraser takes a major event in history and plants his anti-hero right in the midst of it. A fascinating account of the development of the rebellion and its eventual defeat is the core of this book and Fraser does a great job of explaining the events and the principles making this a particularly satisfying Flashman adventure. The cast of characters are true eccentrics in many cases and make for humorous and exciting reading. This is one of the stronger Flashman novels I have read and maintains a nice balance of history and adventure.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Funny Enough...
... and altogether a lot of wasted opportunities for a really good novel. Flashman's encounter with Frederick Townsend Ward sets up the possibility of a truly dynamic historical interaction, but then Ward is sidelined, forgotten, and Flashman gets to spend the bulk of the book in sybaritic captivity again. The Caleb Carr book about FT Ward -- Devil Soldier -- is a much better read than this somewhat uninspired cliff-hanger.

If you're looking at reviews of Flashman and the Dragon, it's almost certain that you already know what you want from George MacDonald Fraser, that piquant blend of odious sexism and nauseous racism with delightful irreverence toward historical figures. In this installment, however, one beautiful woman after another gets the better of Flash, uses him and tosses him away you might say, including the most famous woman in the history of China. The dalliances aren't especially lurid, alas; Flash mentions the various 'pleasures' known only to imperial concubines, but he doesn't depict them. The racism, of course, is as rank as ever, but addressed against the Chinese chiefly in terms of their cruelty and treachery. I found it rather tedious and inapplicable even to hostile stereotypes. Still, I wouldn't recommend this book to any of my Chinese friends except the singer Randy Wong, who can appreciate any dark humor if it's snarky enough. The historical figures of the Taiping era get tepid mistreatment from Flash; the most famous of them, Chinese Gordon, is no more than a walk-on.

What's good, then, about F and the Dragon? Oddly, I'd say the best of the book is the description -- of the opulence of the Summer Palace, of the hollow might of the Imperial Army, of the squalor of backstreet Shanghai and Canton. I'd almost say that Fraser has evolved, in this book, into a travel writer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Flashman novels
I began reading Flashman novels on the recommendation of a librarian in 1984.Flashman introduced me to history as enjoyable bedtime reading. This last month, in 2009, I began reading Flash again. I marvel atcharacters and incidents related so vivaciously and accurately. Making dragon ladies sexy,prime ministers klutzy, and generals comedichelps connect history to humanity. And Flash is funny, direct, and entertaining in some very dramatic settings and events of the 19th century. Rare are the opportunities to be successfully appealed to emotionally and intellectually. The sex is good, too. Long live Flashman!

3-0 out of 5 stars Discredited History, but Still Flashman
Necessary disclaimer: I am a huge fan of the Flashman series and George Macdonald Fraser (check out his McAuslan in the Rough). I've now read eight of the Flashman books (in chronological order 1-4, 7-8, 10 & 12). Nonetheless, I struggled to fully enjoy Flashman and the Dragon - in large part because of its questionable historical accuracy.

Having narrowly escaped personal disaster whilst running 'opium' to Canton, Harry Flashman finds himself unhappily engaged in the British service on a couple of errands as an intelligence officer. First, Harry sails up to Nanking where he meets the leader of the Taiping Rebellion, a Chinese gentleman claiming to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ. Along the way he manages a vigorous romp or two with Triad bandit leader Szu-zhan.

After another miraculous escape, Harry heads north with Lord Elgin and the closing chapter of the Second Opium War. Flashy again manages to get himself captured. This time he's imprisoned in the Forbidden City where the Lady Yehonala (better known as the Dragon Lady or Dowager Empress Ci Xi) makes a nocturnal visit - just to have a peek at the barbarian - with predictable results. Harry escapes one final time and arrives back in 'Pekin' in time to witness the final negotiations to end the war and then the release of Harry Parkes as well as the discovery of a number of murdered British prisoners. Elgin decides to burn down the imperial Summer Palace as payback.

All well and good for a typical Flashman tale, but I found myself distracted by the grotesque way in which the book portrays the Chinese and the Manchu. This distraction came not not only from Flashman's 'papers, but also to the end notes. I expect Harry to express broadly, if cynical, pro-British Empire 19th century views, but expect a little more intellectual honesty from Fraser.

The Chinese and Manchu are presented without exception - either singly or in combination - as devious, deceitful, sexual deviants, weak, opium-addled, and immune to normal human feelings of honor and shame.While the story does hit many of the historical highlights, the record is so grossly distorted that the reader will be forgiven for not recognizing that the Second Opium War was started by the British on a pretext in order to open yet more Chinese ports to more foreign trade, including the importation of opium, and otherwise extend its influence.

The burning of the Summer Palace is presented as an act of British restraint. The reader would never guess that the propriety of this act was hotly disputed between Gladstone and Palmserton and derided by Victor Hugo (not to mention the Chinese and Manchu reaction). Lady Yehonala is falsely portrayed as a wanton sex- and opium-fiend. According to the end notes, Fraser based his story in part on the thoroughly discredited forger and con man Edmund Backhouse. See Hugh Trevor-Roper's Hermit of Peking: The Hidden Life of Sir Edmund Backhouse (History & Politics) and Sterling Seagrave's Dragon Lady: The Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China (published after Flashman).

Learning history from Harry Flashman should be undertaken with great care. Perhaps the better approach is to avoid taking the history too seriously and read them for the pro-imperial but humorous tales of the delightfully detestable Flashy. Flashman and the Dragon is best read as an entertaining period piece reflecting the prejudices of an earlier era.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another "Good" Flashman
The title is unfair because all of the Flashman series is great but the character is always at his best when there is some type of war situation going on.The way in which the best anti hero of the Victorian age gets caught up in the Taiping rebellion and other such events in china is very true to form.

At some points a tragedy and at other times a total laugh riot. The historiography as always is excellent.

Overall-The only sad part is that with the death of the author we will now never know the exact route Flashy took from China to the American Civil War.
... Read more

8. The Steel Bonnets: The Story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 416 Pages (2008-07-17)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$9.51
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 160239265X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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"If Jesus Christ were amongst them, they would deceivehim," it was said of the plunders, raiders, and outlaws who terrorizedthe Anglo-Scottish Border for over 300 years. Theirs is an almostforgotten chapter of British history, preserved largely in folktalesand ballads. It is the story of the notorious raidingfamilies--Armstrongs, Elliots, Grahams, Johnstones, Maxwells, Scotts,Kerrs, Nixons, and others--of the outlaw bands and broken men, and thefierce battles of English and Scottish armies across theMarches. The Steel Bonnets tells their true story in itshistorical context-- how the reivers ran their raids and operatedtheir system of blackmail and terrorism, and how the March Wardens,enforcing the unique Border law, fought the great lawless community. Asuperb work of scholarship and a spellbinding narrative. GeorgeMacDonald Fraser is the celebrated author of the Flashmannovels, The Candlemass Road, The Pyrates, and thePrivate McAuslan stories. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Lawless Land...
In the sixteenth century, the border between Scotland and England was the much fought-over scene of frequent warfare between the two kingdoms.The families on both sides fell into an armed, semi-nomadic existence whose economic mainspring was raiding the other side for cattle, property, and slaves.In "The Steel Bonnets", accomplished journalist, novelist, and historian George MacDonald Fraser takes on the challenging task of making sense of the Anglo-Scottish border reivers, as these raiders were called.Proof of his success may lie in the fact that "The Steel Bonnets" has never been out of print since first publication in 1971.

In his characteristic animated prose, Fraser lays out the background of the border area, identifies its people, and describes their distinctive lifestyle.His narrative is commendably even-handed.If violence, robbery, and chicanery was a way of life for the reivers, he provides the necessary context.In a land without law, armed force was a necessity for survival.The long conflict between border families, and with the uncertain law enforcement of the border districts, has many layers.Fraser does his best to make sense of it all.He makes liberal use of colorful anecdotes to move the narrative along and to characterize a complicated history.

With the union of the English and Scottish crowns in 1603, the shelter of the border went away; the reivers were scourged out of existence in just ten years by a ruthless application of hanging justice.Fraser notes the similarities of the Anglo-Scottish border in its lawless heyday with the present-day frontiers of Pakistan and Afghanistan; those responsible for pacifying that bloody border may find here some useful lessons."The Steel Bonnets" is very recommended as a superb example of well-written history.

5-0 out of 5 stars FOR MY BROTHER
Book a came before my brother arrived. When I gave it to him, he scanned through it and thought it was a great book for his collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best resource on this subject
I have read one other book on this topic, plus lots of online historical documentation. Fraser, born in the border town of Carlisle, England,has compiled the most extensive history I have found. The border reiver families' conflicts and alliances are dealt with in detail, as are the English and Scottish attempts to bring the border marches under control. It is gang warfare, politics, nationalism, religion, and economics in one treatise. If you want to buy only one book, this is it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I bought this used - but you'd never know it.It arrived timely and in perfect condition.Wonderful history - well written.

5-0 out of 5 stars Shaking Loose the Border
When Scott says they abhorred and avoided the crime of unnecessary homicide, one can only comment that they seem to have found homicide necessary with appalling frequency.-The Steel Bonnets by George Macdonald Fraser

This delightfully cynical line is one of my favorites of the book. It shows Fraser's sardonic personality as well as giving a healthy contempt for the romanticism of brigandage.

In The Steel Bonnets, the author describes a world in which law was half broken, the sword was the ruler, and woe betide the weak. It is the old Anglo-scottish border. Long a frontier of war, people could not count onnormal guarentees of their survival. With civilization stolen from them, they became barbarians. And remained so for centuries. And the tales of their life still remain.

The Steel Bonnets gives a picture of life on the border. It describes local customs, the techniques of raiding, as well as some of the most important clans. It is pleasingly unsentimental and does not regard border chieftains as heros simply because they were successful raiders. But it does give a fascinating portrait of their life. And it does not hide that, if border raiders were vicious, the English and Scottish governments, were not pillers of virtue either. It also gives a history of border politics and ends finnally with the brutal pacification of the region by King James, who as the author wryly acknowledges, was acting in a manner not dissimilar to his victims.

The most attractive figure in the book was the Elizabethan lawman Robert Carey, who deserves to be better known, for he handled the difficult job of policing the border honestly, valiantly, and not without mercy.
The Steel Bonnets is a book that is very much worth reading. ... Read more

9. Royal Flash (Flashman)
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 256 Pages (1985-03-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$7.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452261120
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In Volume II of the Flashman Papers, Flashman tangles with femme fatale Lola Montez and the dastardly Otto Von Bismarck in a battle of wits which will decide the destiny of a continent.Did Flashman's adventures in the Duchy of Strackenz provide the inspiration for The Prisoner of Zenda? The similarities are certainly there as Flash Harry becomes embroiled in a desperate succession of escapes, disguises, amours and (when unavoidable) hand-to-hand combats in an epic adventure that takes him from the gaming-halls of London to the dungeons and throne-rooms of Europe. And for once Flashman's talents for deceit and treachery are matched by those of Otto von Bismarck and the beautiful but deadly Lola Montez. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars A definitive Flashman novel
"Royal Flash" continues the saga of the dishonorable Harry Flashman: British soldier, seducer, adventurer, and false hero (and not in that particular order).

The novel opens with Flashman basking in the glory he earned in the first novel in this series as the hero of the Afghan Campaign.London is teetering on the brink of Victorian prudery, so there are still plenty of gorgeous ladies who are just dying to be seduced by the hero with the mighty whiskers.But Flashman soon meets his match with the lovely Irish-Spanish maiden, Lola Montez.The elder Flashman writes with some authority that this dynamo was the best tumble in the sack he ever had, and considering the source that is a high compliment.She is young, vivacious, and ultimately too much of a tiger for Flashman.What follows after their breakup is a battle for the ages between vengeful former lovers - this is a battle that will span the continent of Europe.

And the continent is in play, thanks to the plots and schemes of one Otto Von Bismarck, who enters the novel as a young lord of minor distinction. OVB wants to change that, and he sees Flashman as a key tool for his aims.The fact that Bismarck can unleash his own vengeance upon Flashman is part of his fun after Flashman sets up the noble for a ripe fall.

"Royal Flash" teeters on the verge of a Shakespearean comedy, with a gazillion impersonations, seductions, swordfights and hard rides through the grim night toward uncertain death (but not really, as we know Flashman survives these escapades to write his memoirs).The thrill of these books is not in the result, but in their execution - Flashman, for all his acknowledgement of his raging cowardice, is a true hero who rises to more than one occasion.

Through it all, George MacDonald Fraser keeps the jokes coming fast and furious, and there are several laugh-out-loud moments.It's a shame that Harry Flashman has not yet become a film franchise - he's a superior hero to most of what is on the market and a darn sight more funny.

But here's hoping . . . and the joyful consolation that we have so many Flashman books to enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Can't wait for the movie
Flashie strikes again as his Afgan adventures spur life's comedy onward toward further extremities! Yikes! Egad there is a film of the escapade dated 1975. Love to see it. Fraser wrote screenplays for many Bond (007) films and you can feel the flavor. Flashman puts Bond to shame however because Flash is human. Bond is, well, robotic. Flashman IS everyman! RIP George McDonald Flashman Fraser.

2-0 out of 5 stars You may as well walk off the stage when Lola Montez does
The opening chapters are a fascinating little "what if" involving Otto von Bismarck meeting the famed Victorian boxer John Gully.It's well worth reading.The opening lines, having nothing to do with the rest of the book, are my favorite in the whole series.

But once the Magnificent Montez exits, the book turns into a stale Prisoner of Zenda retread.The devices of making Flashman/Rassendyl the coward and bully we all know he is, or satirically suggesting that Hope copied his novel from Flashman's story, are outrageous enough to be entertaining, but not enough to keep the interest level up for the whole ride.

I'm hopelessly addicted to the Flashman series and have read eight of them so far.I'd recommend any of the other seven above this one, especially the original Flashman!, as well as Flashman and the Redskins.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good but not Great
I am a big fan of the Flashman but I found this novel, notwithstanding its reputation as being the best in the series, to be not as interesting as others.Perhaps it is just the fact that the historical focus were not of particular interest to me.I find Bismarck and Lola interesting subjects to be sure, but I felt that there really was not much of them in the story.Rather, the story focuses on Flash's attempt to disentagle himself from a fictional conspiracy orchestrated by a fictional Prussian agent.Maybe it's the American in me talking, but I would recommend Flash for Freedom, Flashman and the Redskins or just about any other Flashman books except the "Flashman and the Tiger" over this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Another fun read
The second in the Flashman series. Not quite as good as the original but still a worthy read. Fraser's style makes these books very enjoyable. ... Read more

10. Black Ajax
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 256 Pages (1999-04-21)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$2.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 078670618X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Bringing historical fact spiritedly to life, Fraser tells the rollicking tale of how "the Black Ajax" became as famous a figure in England as Napoleon -- and just as much a threat to its establishment -- before he passed into boxing legend and created a precedent for modern black prizefighters.Amazon.com Review
In Black Ajax, George MacDonald Fraser tells the storyof a black man from the United States who nearly became England'schampion boxer during the early 19th century. This historical novel isbased on the true story of Tom Molineaux, a former slave who won hisfreedom in a boxing match, then traveled to England, refined hisskills, and almost became the first black champ. The story is told byover a dozen witnesses to Molineaux's bouts with the reigningchampion, Tom Cribb. Molineaux's trainer recalls the fighter'sawe-inspiring strength and speed. A butler who asks to remainanonymous divulges information about the fighter's love affair with anEnglish noblewoman. Molineaux's manager, a former slave and retiredboxer, speaks bitterly of his disappointment in the youth for failingto prove to the English that a black man could be as capable a fighteras any white man. Nearly all the witnesses to the first match betweenthe two fighters thought Molineaux lost mainly because the judges gavethe white opponent an unfair advantage.

All the characters in thisnovel speak in 19th-century dialect, and it's diverting to try todecipher their many odd turns of phrase. For those who cannotdetermine the meanings of words such as "Spike Hotel,""toco," "winker," and "wistycastor" fromcontext, the author provides a glossary at the end of thebook. Unfortunately, almost all of the characters seem overly fond ofusing racial epithets, which draws attention to the shortcomings ofthis book. The main one is that Tom Molineaux, who undoubtedly was acomplex, fascinating character, comes across as a stereotype here: ahulk with not many brains but a lot of sex drive. Although Fraserfails in that respect, this novel does vividly chronicle an intriguingepisode in the history of sport and race relations. --JillMarquis ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another great book
George MacDonald Fraser once again proves his true calling he should have been a sports writer.That's really all I need to say can't say enough good things about the author or this book.

Overall-Even Flashman fans will not be disappointed in this installment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fraser at his best
Fraser works his charcters and plots with taste and ease. They are real people and real places. Makes you want to read more and find out what happened next. A real grabber.

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful story
"Black Ajax" is a fascinating fictionalized history/social commentary/boxing story about the American ex-slave Tom Molineaux who fought the Englishman Tom Cribb for the Championship of the world back in 1810 and 1811. The story is presented in monologues as told by the principal participants to an unnamed fictional biographer/reporter some time after Molineaux's death. Of course, the dialogue and some of the characters are invented (most notably Buck Flashman, the rakish father of MacDonald Fraser's most famous creation), but I was surprised to learn after reading this book that its main incidents and characters were real. George MacDonald Fraser is simply a master storyteller with a jeweler's eye for historical detail who has written yet another masterpiece. In this retelling of the story of Tom Molineaux, it's striking how boxing's seamy template of racial animosities, financial exploitation and pathetic physical ruin isn't just a 20th century story but goes back as far as Regency England, and probably back to the Coliseum. This is a great book. It's too bad the old fellow can't go on writing forever.

4-0 out of 5 stars Almost...but not quite
This book is very good as a stand alone - but if you expect the usual Flashy antics, they are not there.Nevertheless as a canvas of 19th century English boxing, this is first rate.

Tom Bertenshaw

4-0 out of 5 stars Fine story of a freed-slave boxer in Regency England
From the real-life story of the meteoric rise, and subsequent fall of Tom Molineaux, freed slave who comes to England with one purpose alone--to defeat the reigning champ, Tom Cribb. Seen through the eyes of various people who saw him (including, notably, Harry Flashman's father) (Flashman himself gets a brief mention) and who are telling their experiences to an unknown person, presumably an author or writer.

Since Tom's fate is revealed in the prologue, watching Tom's arc, which will bring him achingly close to the top only to fall, is painful. But what makes this book is watching the attitude of those arond him, and the Napoleonic-era society which is delighted to embrace him as a novelty--and to turn against him the instant he becomes a threat or a failure. For all the wine, women and song he is given, the turning point in this book is when the misunderstood Tom realizes he will never be accepted, as a non-white, non-English contender, society and the mob will turn against him the instant he is seen as likely to become the champion.

Fraser, as he showed for the later 19th century in the Flashman books, and as he did for the Edwardian era in Mr. American, shows an intimate knowledge and understanding of Regency England, which is brought to life for our enjoyment. ... Read more

11. Flashman in the Great Game: A Novel
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 336 Pages (1989-09-30)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452263034
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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One of literature's most delightful rakes is back in another tale of rollicking adventure and tantalizing seduction. The plucky Flashman's latest escapades are sure to entertain devotees as well as attract new aficionados. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars Enter the mutiny..not as light hearted as usual

It only makes sense the Fraser's series puts his anti-hero right in the middle of the Indian mutiny. But the brutality of the violence puts a different spin on this episode Flashman series, where generally speaking the hero comes out relatively unscathed amidst all the danger and death, but this time leaves Flashman with a bit more emotional scarring tham usual. Pushed into duty to work undercover in India, Flashman falls for the leader of Jhansi and then tumbles into the utter chaos of the Mutiny, where friend and foe are slaughtered without mercy. Even Flashman's egocentric nature is touched by the slaughter of women and children and it adds a sour note to the book, but a welcome one, as this episode of history should not be dealt with light-heartedly. The causes of the Mutiny are seen through Flashman's rather jaundiced point-of-view, but clearly keep the idea that oppression led up to this outpouring of rage and ferocity. This book is an excellent look at a brutal period of history with just a bit of the Flashman flair.

3-0 out of 5 stars interesting at times but a generally tiresome historical novel
'Flashman in the Great Game', first published in the mid-1970s, in terms of sequence is in the middle of the pack of Flashman novels.If you are not familiar with Flashman novels then I suggest going directly to the first novel in the series.'Flashman in the Great Game' would be rather bewildering to those not familiar with what Flashman is all about (..a fictitious mid-19th century British officer who inexplicably pops up in major battles around the world and is adorned as a hero despite being a coward and a rogue).

In this installment of the Flashman series we have our lovable (?) scoundrel in India helping to quell rebellion.Yes, his sex life is still quite remarkable.And he finds himself in a some rather horrific situations of massacre, violence and torture.Yet in the end he lives to fight another day, as we knew he would all along.But this novel isn't a particularly good addition to the series.The narrative, written in the first person, is quite jumbled.Too many character names are strewn about, too many recollections about unrelated people, places and things disturb the flow of the story.For me this was a rather tedious read only partially redeemed by a some rather startling action sequences.

Oh, the Flashman character also refers to the native Indian populace as a bunch of "n****rs" (yes, the "n" word).Although such language is totally in character with a 19th century aristocratic Brit and is not meant to be inflammatory (..I guess), some people might find such flagrant use of this word to be unpleasant.

Bottom line: for Flashman devotees only.

5-0 out of 5 stars First-Rate but Rowdy History
In FLASHMAN IN THE GREAT GAME, Flashman is in India in 1857, doing undercover work for Lord Palmerston, when the Indian Mutiny erupts. Consistent with his other Flashman novels, George McDonald Fraser shows an immense talent for comic plausibility as he moves Flashman here and there but always into the thick of the action. As a result, Flash witnesses the outbreak of the rebellion at Meerut, survives the siege and massacre at Cawnpore, does his duty at the fortress at Jhansi, where the Brits have laid a siege, and watches horrified as the beautiful Rani Lakshmibai, who Flashy may have bedded, dies in battle at Gwalior.

As a Yank, the Indian Mutiny was mostly new to me, and I frequently found myself on Wikipedia, trying to learn more about the issues and events of this terrible war, where both sides behaved with great cruelty. In doing so, I gained further respect for Fraser, who communicates the information that's on Wikipedia but with flair, occasional humor, and admirable concision. In his hands, the Mutiny becomes a tale of great adventure, where Flashman becomes a surprisingly sympathetic character, who seems mean-spirited only among other Brits.

In the first 100 pages of FitGG, Fraser sets up his story and introduces his characters. Admittedly, these pages are a little slow. But, thereafter, hold onto your hat! This is an exciting and first-rate action narrative, with Flashy, really an ordinary man, illuminating history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Harry situations in India
There aren't many nice things you can say about Harry Flashman.He's a cad and a coward, a rogue and a racist, but he's also - at least retrospectively - honest about these traits.He's also quite entertaining to read about, an attribute that continues in the fifth Flashman book, Flashman in the Great Game.

As with all Flashman novels, Harry is in the middle of some great historic event and encountering many real-life characters.In this tale, it is the Indian Mutiny of 1857 when the natives of India rebelled against their British overlords.If Harry had his way, he'd be nowhere near it, preferring the comforts of a leisurely life in England.Unfortunately, his undeserved reputation for heroism gets him drafted into an adventure as a spy, seeking out Russian interference in British rule.

Although he often tries to weasel himself out of danger and discomfort, circumstances always seem to place Flashy in the thick of it.When assassins try to kill him, he is forced to go undercover as an Indian soldier, forcing him to take abuse from his English "superiors."With most people, this might serve as a lesson about racism, but such concepts elude Flashman:to him, all true Indians deserve the abuse; he doesn't, because he is of a "higher" race.

Done improperly, Harry's darker and often dominant traits would make him thoroughly unlikeable, but author George MacDonald Fraser succeeds in making Flashman likeable, primarily because - despite often brutal events - the narration has enough humor to keep things from being too serious.This is clever satire aimed at poking holes in the image of heroism.This might not be the best book to be introduced to Flashman, but for fans of the preceding books, this one will not disappoint.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best of the Flashman series
With the exception of "Royal Flash" and two of the stories in "Flashman and the Tiger", I give all the Flashman stories 5 stars. They are that great. However, for sheer twisted brilliance of plot, I rank this one up there with "Flash for Freedom". In those two books, George MacDonald Fraser puts his protagonist through the most hilarious, yet unbelievably sadistic situations you could possibly imagine, and just when you think our (anti) hero has finally escaped the jaws of death, GMF delightfully trips him up and throws him back to the wolves. This ending of this particular novel is pure genius and would alone be worth the price of the book, even if it weren't preceded by some of the greatest historical fiction and humor ever written. Who ever thought the Indian Mutiny could be so much fun? ... Read more

12. Flashman and the Tiger
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 368 Pages (2001-11-06)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$8.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385721080
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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For the first time in four years comes a new book in George MacDonald Fraser's long-running series chronicling the adventures of Sir Harry Paget Flashman. Eleventh in the series, Flashman and the Tiger features not one, but three stories of international intrigue that find the fictional Flashman thrown headlong into historical events around the world.

This time out Flashman is thwarting an attempted assassination of Austria's Emperor Franz Josef ("The Road to Charing Cross"); getting to the bottom of the Tranby Croft gaming scandal–and the Prince of Wales' involvement in it ("The Subtleties of Baccarat"); and, in the title story, impacting the Zulu war while hunting down a longtime enemy. At once meticulously faithful to fact and wildly fanciful, Flashman and the Tiger is an educational romp through the annals of history; thirty years after he began the series, Fraser is at the top of his game.
Amazon.com Review
Flashman and the Tiger is George MacDonald Fraser's 11th chronicleof Sir Harry Flashman, a "celebrated Victorian soldier, scoundrel, amorist,and self-confessed poltroon." Written with great wit and ingenuity, theseries is presented as a succession of long-lost memoirs, which Fraser issimply editing for a modern readership. Thus does he interrupt Sir Harry'svoice with footnotes, appendices, and tail-gunning apologies. Indeed,Fraser, whose editorial persona is humorless and academic, seems almostembarrassed in the presence of his subject's unbridled self-love.

This time the year is 1878, and Flashman is poking his nose into some deeppolitical intrigue for a journalist friend who's done him various unsavory favors. Our favorite swashbuckler has just returned from Paris, where hewas awarded the Legion of Honor. Yet readers familiar with Flashman's sagawill know this is simply one more piece of tin to add to his capaciouscollection--and that even as he's revered by those around him, he finds itimpossible to take himself seriously. Instead he regards himself as "one ofthose fortunate critters who ... are simply without shame, and wouldn't knowConscience if they tripped over it in broad day."

As usual, Flashman stumbles through history like a bull in a china shop. Atthe end of the first section, "The Road to Charing Cross," we realize thathe's delayed the onset of World War I by various wranglings with thewould-be assassins of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria. The followingsections put him in contact with the Prince of Wales, a procession ofremarkable whores, Zulu warriors, and yet more remarkable whores. Fraser'sbrashly perfect prose both fuels and awakens the imagination. And in theend the reader has to wonder: which wars almost came to pass, but wereaverted by a half-drunk war hero with a lust for life? --Emily White ... Read more

Customer Reviews (41)

5-0 out of 5 stars True to form
Given that my introduction to the Flashmen series almost coincided with the tragic (although not unexpected) death of George Macdonald Frasier I have made it my news years resolution to let people know about his wonderful books.

I have to say that this installment of Flashy is actually a better, rounder and tighter notation then a story that is the length of a novel.The first story is in my opinion only a three star but it may be just what other people have ordered it is not my place to judge.

The other two installments are where this particular collection shines in the second story readers finally get to see what I have what I have suspected for awhile Flashy's wife is capable of being quite devious when she wants to be.

The third story where the collection gets its name is probably my favorite Flashman yet Fraser managed to pull the nose of old Sir Arthur Conan Doyle good for him.

You will find yourself wanting more of this particular installment but they are alas too brief.If ordinary Flashman novels aren't your thing you might want to give these collections a try.

4-0 out of 5 stars Recommended Only for Established Flashman Fans
'Flashman and the Tiger'; consists of a novella and two short stories. The shorts, which involve an infamous baccarat scandal that touched the Prince of Wales, and the unexpected fallout from the Rorke Drift military disaster are a definite improvement over the novella, which treats an assassination attempt of Emperor Franz Josef in the 1880's.

The novella occupies roughly two-thirds of the book and wanders along aimlessly. If you are unfamiliar with Flashman and especially the Royal Flash (Flashman) you are likely to be more confused than amused.

Fraser is not at his best here. The whole book has an unfinished, unpolished feel. Flashman is aged at the time of the events (not just at the time of the writing them down), but I don't think that is the problem. Flashy still rogers along or fondly recalls past rogering, shrinks from danger, and does his foes dirty - behind their back, of course.

The final short, the eponymous Flashman and the Tiger, contains a good riff on Sherlock Holmes deducing (wrongly on all points).

Recommended only for established Flashman fans. If you are new to to Harry Flashman, best start in the beginning.Flashman: A Novel (Flashman).

4-0 out of 5 stars Necessary for the collection
"Flashman and the Tiger" is made up of 3 short stories, the only book of the Flashman series written in such a format. The writing is just as good as ever, but the stories lack the zest and frisson of the others, perhaps because they deal with a late middle-aged and elderly Flashman, which necessarily limits the deranged situations the author has in which to place his creation.

The first and longest story- "The Road to Charing Cross"- involves Flashman in a plot to save the Emperor Franz Josef from an assassination. The story, while amusing, is rather far-fetched and none too memorable. The second story, "The Subtleties of Baccarat", is worth the price of the book. It is expertly constructed and written, based on a historical incident, with a surprise ending which will leave you laughing in shock. The third story, "Flashman and the Tiger", has its moments, particularly the elderly Flashman's verbal sparring with Oscar Wilde and his run-in with Sherlock Holmes, but it too is somewhat contrived and a little silly. All in all, a fun book, but two of the stories just don't rank in quality with the other Flashman books.

4-0 out of 5 stars 3 Flashies for the price of 1
Flashman and the Tiger is more a collection of 3 Flashman short stories than a single coherent novel.As a result, it is sort of a mixed bag.The first (and longest of the three) is also the best.It deals with an attempt on the life of Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz-Josef's life, and true to Flashman form is full of debauchery, double-crossing, and cowardice mistaken for courage and honor.

The second centers around a gambling scandal with the Prince of Wales, the third with a matter of honor and Sir Flashman's granddaughter.Both of these stories were good, but sort of a let down after the delightful and complicated first story.Nonetheless, Flashman fans will be sure to enjoy the book as did I.

5-0 out of 5 stars You'd think Flash would have to repeat himself
Fraser squeezed another Flashy episode into that brief human life and me, I'm glad.So will you be also.

The Flashman Papers continue to offer up new episodes in this series.In this one Flashy's reflections are more more mature, but his cynicism remains intact, his wisdom a human one recognizing our weaknesses as humans, none more than his own. ... Read more

13. Mr. American
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 585 Pages (1998-06)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$51.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 078670554X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The American West meets Edwardian England in this romantic historical novel. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

2-0 out of 5 stars A Well-Written Disappointment
Let me say first off that I hated this book. I haven't read a book in a very long time that annoyed me as much as this did.

The main problem was its protagonist, the titular hero, the "Mr. American". In the description given of the story, he is drawn as some kind of Gary Cooper strong, silent type who is calm and measured on the surface, but deadly when riled. In the early parts of the book, I kept seeing Gary Cooper, and seeing the story itself as some kind of early 30s movie.

But as the story evolves, the guy turns out to be a colossal wimp, torn hither-and-yon by every one of the "sophisticated" "jaded" and "cynical" old world characters he confronts. He is beaten at every game, robbed and led around by the nose by his beautiful but contemptible and worthless wife, who has married him just for his money. Worse, he is indecisive, and even when his life is put in peril in a confrontation with an old enemy, he relies on his British valet to get him out of it. At the end of the story--and this may give something away--when he has finally made a strong decision to leave his miserable marriage, at the last minute he gives in and crawls back to the worthless harridan he has been thoroughly abused and cheated by. Hardly the stuff of heroism and silent strength.

Worse, this book came across to me, as an American, as an example of the most obnoxious type of British self-satisfaction, self-congratulation and indulgent condescension. The device of setting a foreigner down in your country and, seeing through his eyes the perfection and wonders of the country, is difficult to stomach. One example: our protagonist is from the American West, the two-fisted, two-gunned he-man I described above. He is constantly reassured, and constantly thinks to himself, about the efficiency and genius of the British police system, where no man can commit a crime and escape, where one cannot indulge in the Western type of slaughter and get away with it. When he himself, in self-defense, commits murder, he deigns it better to conceal the action rather than face the police with the truth, so deep is his fear of the coppers. Again, not the hard man of decision we were promised. Yet our author seems to forget that just a few years before this story is supposed to take place, in Britain, the most famous of uncaught criminals was openly and brazenly committing foul and very gaudy and public murder in the streets of the empire's capital city and mocking those same brilliant, efficient police for their inability to catch him!

The plot ends up being a rehash of a story stereotype that was already old when this story was supposed to be taking place: that of the gosh-golly naïve American amongst the sharps and wolves of degenerate Europe. This type of story has merit and possibilities even today, if its done as humor and satire, but not in an adventure tale where the hero should, at least at some time, stand up strongly, rather than be a complete puss from beginning to end. In a lot of ways, this came across to me as a Jeeves & Wooster story, but without the laughs and cleverness and sly social commentary that give this type of story some merit.

I give it two stars instead of one for the following reasons: First, it is very well written. The author is an excellent and smooth writer. Unfortunately, in this novel at least, the story isn't worth the talent and, I think, it's a misfire. I'll have to try out a couple of his other books before I make any judgement on his place in fiction. They are probably better and maybe he was on unfamiliar ground here.

Second, his history is excellent. Some times--a lot of times--you get a better idea of history by reading fiction than you do by reading straight history. He seems to have all his facts right here, he drops in a lot of telling details of the times, the social movements, the drift of Britain and Europe towards war and the ultimate destruction of the society portrayed here. This is what kept me reading when I wanted to abandon the book and is its strongest suit. When the novel started going back to the "story" and characters is when it lost me, but I persevered doggedly to its confusing and highly unsatisfying conclusion.

So would I recommend it? Yes, to British readers of a Kiplingesque, jingo mindset, if they want to relive days of glory long gone by. But as an American, I found it insulting in the worst way--the author feels an admiration and affection for us, but it is the type of "pat the dog on the head" type of affection or, maybe more precisely, the type of affection a master felt for his slaves in this country in the days of the old South: "my darkeys, I love them so; they sing so sweet and are as dumb and gentle as children". And if you are of an Irish Nationalist bent, it is even worse and more insulting. It's too bad because the idea was good, the writing is excellent; it is just poorly executed.

5-0 out of 5 stars AnotherTriumph For Fraser
Although Flashman makes a guest appearance in this delightful book, he is not the protagonist. I was a bit apprehensive to undertake a Fraser book not starring Harry Flashman, but I was not disappointed. Mr. Franklin, while not as dashing as Sir Harry, is every bit as interesting...perhaps even more so. Fraser hits another bulls eye in Mr. American.

4-0 out of 5 stars Read it for Flashy!
I found the pace a little strange for a while. A very pleasant unhurried book. Don't read it if you're in a rush or expecting a thriller.
As far as I'm concerned, this book is important for the last appearance of Sir Harry Flashman and if only for that read it.
I actually didn't get the ending at all... but with such a book it really doesn't matter.

5-0 out of 5 stars The finest novelist of any time
As a devotee of the Flashman Papers, I bought Mr. American, largely on the promise of a "cameo" from Sir Harry himself. Here I am, 6 days and almost 600 pages later, in the afterglow that can only be achieved by reading an account through which you feel you have truly lived. The book is absolutely packed full of wonderful characters, none more so than the "hero", Mark Franklin, a character in whom we feel an immediate and lasting affinity. The real strengths of the book though, as usual, are in Fraser's turns of phrases and magical evocations of historic scenes and characters. My personal favourite was the image of old General Flashman, intently surveying the cheering, singing crowds around the Mall on the outbreak of the Great War "imprinting in his memory" the scene.

The book is one long, immersive evocation of Edwardian England and the social changes leading up to 1914, but at the same time it manages to be a social commentary on the British character, and still further its just a great story. While I did find myself laughing with delight (in public) at the appearances of ninety-year-old Flashman, it is certainly not all I will remember this book for. Im still musing about the ending now. If you've enjoyed any of Fraser's writing previously, or just have an interest in history, or enjoy reading good novels (I think Ive covered everyone there) - read this. It is, like its author, one of the greats.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mr. American
I've read nearly all the books by GMF , all of the Flashman books and about 3/4's of the others . I found Quartered Safe Out Here as fine a memoir as I've read . Fraser doesn't hold back on anything and makes sure eveyone understand that war is about hate more than anything else , and if you are or were in the middle of it (a war) thats the way it's supposed to be .
Anyway I'm writing a review of Mr. American , the other reviewers said they liked this book better than the other Fraser books I'd have to agree .The protagonist Mr. Franklin is the typical strong silent type , he could give lessons to Gary Cooper . He also has a past , one he doesn't want revealed when he leaves America to come to Edwardian England.
The book has everything action ,suspense ,comedy , pathos, and like all of GMF's books an accurate history lesson . Flash Harry even makes several appearances throughout and renders his usual accurate evaluation of Mark Franklins character .
One of the key things I look for in a book when I read it is can the author bring me into this world and make me believe it's really happening , also does he have characters I like or have feelings for good or bad, Fraser does both with a vengeance . We respect and like Franklin almost immediatly and root for him throughout the book . We get to follow him everywhere and see his impressions on being the stranger in a strange land . The family he marries into partialy for their needs partially for his need for love and never having had a family . His meeting royalty and seeing and experiencing the court in all its "glory" is engrossing to say the least. the only thing I regret is that this book was setup for a sequel like no other and we've seen nothing of the sort from Fraser . We know Franklin changes his mind at the end of the book and doesn't go back to the states , but where does he go ,back to London to resume his life comfortable but unhappy , to see Flashy's niece , or to Africa with Samson to join the Selois (sp) scouts . I chose the latter . With more to follow after WW1 unfortunately GMF doesn't deliver , and at his age he won't likely and that's a disapointment . Anyway I highly recommend this book , I just wish instead of some of his others , Angel Of The Lord comes to mind we could have had another series . ... Read more

14. Flashman and the Redskins
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 480 Pages (1983-09-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452264871
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The seventh volume of the "Flashman Papers" records the arch-cad's adventures in America during Gold Rush of 1849 and the Battle of Bighorn in 1876, and his acquaintance with famous Indian chiefs, American soldiers, frontiersmen and statesmen. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

3-0 out of 5 stars Half a great book
The seventh installment in the Flashman Papers is by far the longest, at 479 pages. The reason is that Flashman and the Redskins is really two books in one: one recounting Flashman's exploits as a '49er, scalphunter and adopted Apache, and another with his involvement in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The two stories are self-contained and only tertiarily connected, and there's little need for them to be compiled into one volume.

After opening with an aged Flashman putting down a soppy idealist bemoaning the fate of the Native Americans - Fraser at his most pointed, irreverent and funny - the first half is a direct sequel to Flash for Freedom, with Flashman and Latin-spewing slaver John Charity Spring fleeing the law, going to California with a New Orleans madam and a wagonload of whores. The first half is Fraser at his best, with intricate plotting, colorful characters (particularly the ghoulish scalphunters), exciting action, pleasant bawdiness, a vivid description of places and events and Fraser's usual acidic humor. Flashy's exploits in New Mexico would stand alone as one of the best in the series, if Fraser had left well-enough alone.

The second half of the book, on the other hand, is pretty much useless. The Battle of Little Bighorn has been covered in numerous films, books and other works, and Fraser adds little to the littany of Custer-related literature. Indeed, with Flashman flitting back and forth between the Indians and Cavalry, it smacks more than a bit of Little Big Man. The ties to the first part - mostly through Flashman's spurned lover Cleonie - are poorly done, and Flashman's illegitimate son is tacked on as a mere plot contrivance.

My biggest problem, though, is that there's no need for the second half. Flash For Freedom! covered a great deal of time and space, but all the events were connected - improbably, but believably, through intricate, detailed plotting and related events and characters. Flashman at the Charge was less successful, covering too much time and space, but at least there was flow and connection between scenes. The leap of twenty-seven years here is a cheat, and since each Flashman book is essentially self-contained, its inclusion is inexplicable. It should have been published separately, if at all.

5-0 out of 5 stars The epilgoge is worth reading the book
The book brings the times alive.The height of the action is the Little Big Horn, seen through the terrified but wily eyes of Flashman, MacDonald Fraser's strapping British cavalry officer, who was thoroughly engulfed but yet again survived.The epilogue is MacDonald Fraser's poignant visit to the scene today, which is all silence and stolen markers.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Reprehensible Flash Rides Again - and Again and Again
The seventh entry in the Flashman series is two books in one. The book picks up where Flash for Freedom! (Flashman) ended. It's 1849 and Flash is in New Orleans, on the run from the law. He reacquaints himself with Susie Wilnick, a local madam who is moving her brothel west to join the flood of Forty Niners heading to California. Flash marries - again - but even at great personal risk he cannot help his roving eyes...and hands and so forth.

He leaves Susie along the west (and in order to take his leave, he commits a deed that is shameful even by Harry Flashman's standards.) He then begins a wild trip across the Old West, even living with Apaches for awhile (where he weds yet again). Along the way, the reader meets many historical characters including Spotted Tail, John Joel Glanton, Mangas Coloradas, Geronimo, and Kit Carson. One of the more interesting historical bits involves Bent's Fort and its mysterious destruction. Harry was there and resolves the mystery.

As always Fraser deflates the mythology surrounding historical figures. This characteristic debunking is a bit odd because Fraser believed the mythology about his own army and his own war, the Indian 17th Division of the British Army fighting in Burma during the last months of World War Two (See his war memoir Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II).

Flashman manages to escape the Apaches and returns to England. In Part Two, Elspeth, his `real' English wife convinces Harry to return to the States, which introduces us to even more historical figures and eventually lands Harry right in the midst of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. I found the first part more entertaining and the ending was more than a bit of stretch.

Fraser is a marvelous story teller and as he spins out his entertaining tales one also picks up a good deal of history. The reader should exercise caution in accepting Fraser's history. His version tends to be based on older sources and he eschewed more modern works (and certainly rejected modern viewpoints). Enjoy it for what it is: well-told speculations on historical mysteries.While some will be offended by Flashman's views on women, Indians, Africans, and other people of color, in fairness, he also did not generally hold other white men in high regard, perhaps because Harry knew what a scoundrel he was himself.

5-0 out of 5 stars A kinder, gentler Flashy?Probably not.
Among fictional cads, few can top George MacDonald Fraser's Harry Flashman.Originally a villain in a 19th Century book called Tom Brown's Schooldays, Flashman was taken by Fraser and given a life far beyond that modest beginning.What makes Flashman such an outstanding character is that he is unredeemable:though he rarely aspires to acts of pure malice, he also never does anything worthwhile unless he can see a profit in it.He never repents from his minor evils and never really becomes a better person due to his misadventures.

That said, the Harry in Flashman and the Redskins is almost a kinder and gentler version of previous incarnations.At least his general cowardice, greed and racism seem slightly less pronounced in this book (though it's still there).This book is the longest in the series thus far, but really it is a pair of connected shorter novels.

The first part of the book follows right on the heels of Flash for Freedom!, which was a couple books ago (Fraser relates Flashman's tales in a non-chronological order).It is 1849, and Harry is accidentally an accessory to murder in New Orleans.Escape involves marrying a wealthy madame who is moving her brothel to California to take advantage of the Gold Rush (the fact that this is bigamy doesn't faze our hero one bit).From there, he will get entangled with nasty Indian hunters (How bad?Read Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian which features some of the same people and is one of the most relentlessly violent books I've ever read) and later some Apaches, including the future Geronimo.

The second half of the book takes place in 1876.Now wealthy and regarded as a hero, Flashman is coerced by his wife into taking a tour of the United States.This will get Flashy mixed up with, among others, George Custer.Since Flashman seems to get in the middle of all sorts of historic battles, you can be sure he'll be at Little Big Horn.How he gets there involves some of his past sins coming to visit him in an unexpected way.

As with the other books in the Flashman series, this is another historical novel with a sense of humor (however dark), something rarely found in that particular genre.It is also very well-written, offering a cynically alternative take on both historical events and historical figures (besides Geronimo and Custer, this novel also includes Ulysses Grant, Crazy Horse and Wild Bill Hickock among others).If you're new to this series, this book might not be the best place to start, but for existing fans, this is another fun read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Fun
I have read all the Flashman books and this is an excellent story. If you have read any of the others you will know what to expect and if you have not, this is a good place to start. I would recommend you begin at the beginning simply so you will get all the back story, but that is not necessary.

Just pick it up and enjoy it for its simple lighthearted fun. That is something we do not get enough of these days. There is no grand lesson here, although you will learn things you did not know before, but the intent of the book is simply to entertain and you will be entertained.

Don't worry if it could have happened or didn't or if the time periods are correct to the year and month. Just enjoy Harry Paget Flashman at his best or would that be worst. ... Read more

15. Flashman
by George MacDonald Fraser
 Audio Cassette: Pages (1994-04)
list price: US$56.00
Isbn: 0736626751
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16. Exploits and Adventures of Brigadier Gerard (New York Review Books Classics)
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Paperback: 417 Pages (2001-05-10)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0940322730
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Having killed off Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle began a new series of tales on a very different theme. Brigadier Gerard is an officer in Napoleon’s army — recklessly brave, engagingly openhearted, and unshakable, if not a little absurd, in his devotion to the enigmatic Emperor. The Brigadier’s wonderful comic adventures, long established in the affections of Conan Doyle’s admirers as second only to those of the incomparable Holmes, are sure to find new devotees among the ardent fans of such writers as Patrick O’Brian and George MacDonald Fraser. "Brigadier Gerard is, after Holmes and Watson, Conan Doyle's most successful literary creation." -- Julian Symons ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading
Conan Doyle was a prolific writer in a variety of genres.Justly famous for the pioneering Holmes mysteries, he also wrote enjoyable science fiction - the Professor Challenger stories - and quite a bit of historical fiction.The best of his historical fictions are The White Company and Sir Nigel, a pair of books set in Medieval France and England.The Brigadier Gerard stories are not of the same quality as these novels but continue to be enjoyable reading.

Brigadier Gerard is a cavalry officer in Napoleon's army.A short, voluable Gascon (the same regional background as Dumas' D'Artagnon), Gerard is brave to the point of recklessness, slavishly loyal to the Emperor, a fine swordsman and rider, vain, and rather obtuse.Gerard is a caricature, but an affectionate and entertaining one. The combination of Gerard's character and the canvas of the Napoleonic wars allowed Conan Doyle to develop a series of entertaining adventure stories, often with a satirical twist.The satire is directed not only at the French but also at their English adversaries.Doyle's skill as a writer is displayed well in these tales.Overall, the stories in the second half of this anthology are better but all are enjoyable.

4-0 out of 5 stars Elementary my dear Emperor
For those of you who (like me) thought that Arthur Conan Doyle's sole literary achievement was Sherlock Holmes, his "Exploits and Adventurers of Brigadier Gerard" is a must read. The good Brigadier is a delightful fictional character and I had a terrific time getting to know him as I worked my way through this collection of stories. Brigadier Gerard is, according to his greatest fan - himself, one of Napoleon's most brave, loyal, dashing, handsome, skilled, and debonair soldiers.

This NYRB collection of stories begins with a brief but very good introduction by the recently departed George MacDonald Fraser of Flashman fame. He sets Conan Doyle's stories in the context of the time in which they were written. Britain and France were still bitter rivals, if not enemies, and the Napoleonic Wars still loomed large in the imagination of British schoolboys and the British public. So the character of Brigadier Gerard takes on all the stereotypical attributes that the British had and may still have of the French. Gerard is arrogant but skilled enough to merit much of that arrogance. He has a very high opinion of his looks and skill with the ladies, but the ladies he encounters seem to think that self-assessment is well-earned. He proclaims his bravery and loyalty to all who'll listen, and many who won't but as his exploits and adventures attest, he actually does have something to brag about.

Now, on the surface Gerard may seem to be a bit on the insufferable side. But Conan Doyle does something masterful with him: he turn Gerard's insufferable ego into something that approaches charming. As MacDonald Fraser points out, Conan Doyle took the British stereotype of a French soldier but portrayed it in such a way as to make him charming and likeable and almost loveable. That is no small feat and this makes the stories all the more enjoyable.

The stories themselves are written in the form of Gerard's reminiscences as an old man. He takes us through pretty much all of Napoleon's reign on up to the closing stories of Napoleon in defeat and exile. The reader must, naturally enough, take some of these memoirs with a healthy dose of salt but that salt pretty much just enhances the stories' flavor. All in all this set of non Sherlock Holmes stories were delightful and I'm glad I discovered them. Recommended. L. Fleisig

5-0 out of 5 stars A hero to laugh at an love at the same time
Etienne Gerrard is a delight, cocky, self important, vain as a peacock, he is also brave to a fault, resourceful, energetic and the best swordsman in all of Napoleon's cavalry. He is also a bit thick in the head. He struts through the most hair raising adventures, and almost always comes out in one piece. You will be convinced in each story that he could not possible carry out his mission successfully, but he almost always does. At a time in Great Britain when the human costs of the Napoleanic Wars were still felt and France and England had only recently mended fences, Conan Doyles "typical" Frenchman was a delight to the British reader. This is not Sherlock's cold intellect. It is the passion of a very decent, courageous man who is devoted to his sovreign, and who will take on any task from wooing a beautiful woman to a Russian Regiment of cavalry. If you enjoy the Flashman books you will love this one just as much.

5-0 out of 5 stars What Would Harry Flashman Make of Etienne Gerard?
The success of the Sherlock Holmes stories has overshadowed the fact that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote many other stories of entirely different character. The New York Review of Books Classics has brought the `Exploits and Adventures of Brigadier Gerard' back to life. The Gerard character is said to be Conan Doyle's second best fictional invention.

The eight `Exploits' stories were published between 1894 and 1895 while the ten `Adventures' were published after a five year hiatus between 1900 and 1903. Like the Holmes tales, these pieces were published as serials in The Strand Magazine. Once again we owe a debt of happy gratitude to the NYRB for reviving this quirky, funny, heroic series of adventure tales.

The eponymous Gerard is one Etienne Gerard, a Hussar (a light cavalryman) in the French Army during the Napoleonic Wars. In other words, a character about as far removed from the dyspeptic intellectual detective of Baker Street as one can imagine. In the excellent introduction (one of the hallmarks of the NYRB Classics series), George Macdonald Fraser remarks on the courage Conan Doyle showed in showcasing a French hero fighting against the British less than 80 years after Napoleon was finally defeated (As Fraser notes "even today [the French ] are not notably popular north of the Channel"). Quite a feat of imagination.

Like Harry Flashman (Flashman: A Novel (Flashman)) and the lesser known Otto Prohaska (A Sailor of Austria: In Which, Without Really Intending to, Otto Prohaska Becomes Official War Hero No. 27 of the Habsburg Empire (The Otto Prohaska Novels)), Gerard is in his old age when he spins his stories to the reader. Gerard boasts that he is the greatest swordsman, horseman, and lover as well as the most loyal servant of Napoleon in the entire French army. And Conan Doyle permits Gerard to excel in all these measures and yet his excessive pride makes him obtuse. As Fraser put it Gerard is "vain, touchy, obstinate, reckless, boastful, and none too bright." He is entirely ingenuous, which repeatedly leads him to trouble and then he must slash his sword and dash away on his horse to escape. Gerard is charmingly unaware that he is a strutting French peacock; he assumes that others should and do recognize his exceptional qualities. Coming from a more self-aware man such cocksureness would be intolerable conceit.

I titled this review "What Would Harry Flashman Make of Etienne Gerard?" That's a fun question to speculate about. It would take a new Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Sir George MacDonald Fraser to do it justice. My guess is Harry would laugh up his sleeve at Gerard until he saw Etienne's sword swinging dangerously toward his head. For his part, I expect Gerard would be blissfully unaware of Flashman's disdain, but might he also detect Harry's certain 'shyness'?

The `Exploits and Adventures of Brigadier Gerard' are wonderful entertainments. Like the Sherlock Holmes stories, the pity is there are so few of them. Highest recommendation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Flashman Fans: Read This!!
These gems of action storytelling will make you laugh out loud-- they have the best of Doyle's plotting and some very witty characterization.Etienne Gerard is first-cousin to GM Fraser's Flashman: he finds himself in the thick of every battle, often playing a pivotal role that only now can be told...

Of course, Flashy is cowardly where Gerard is brave, but they both think themselves irresistable to women and are master horsemen.Bright, fast, and funny, these short stories belong on the shelf next to all the Flashman novels.Fraser himself calls Doyle a "genius" in the introduction, and they belong in the same league of inspired storytelling.Too bad Gerard and Flashy never met-- Flash would have called him a bloody crapaud and Gerard would have said Flashy was a British beef.... ... Read more

17. Flashman at the Charge
by George MacDonald Fraser
 Paperback: 288 Pages (1986-10-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$7.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002PJ4L7W
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
George MacDonald Fraser's famous Flashman series appearing for the first time in B-format with an exciting new series style, ready to please his legions of old fans and attract armies of new ones.The illustrious Flashy gets up to his old tricks in another installment of The Flashman Papers.'Forward the Light Brigade' Was there a man dismayed? Indeed there was. As the British cavalry prepared to launch themselves against the Russian guns at Balaclava, Harry Flashman was not so much dismayed as terrified. But the Crimea was only the beginning: beyond lay snowbound wastes of the Great Russian slave-empire, torture and death from relentless enemies, headlong escapes, savage tribal hordes to the right of him, passionate and beautiful females to the left of him, and finally that unknown but desperate war on the roof of the world, when India was the mighty prize and there was nothing to stop the armed might of Imperial Russia but the wavering sabre and terrified ingenuity of old Flashy himself. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

4-0 out of 5 stars Of Course, Flashman was there!

The Charge of the Light Brigade, a memorable even when people are unsure what war it was part of (The Crimean War), is the event this time that Flashman is unlucky enough to be part of.Along the way he serves as a mentor to Queen Victoria's cousin, who does not have Flashman's luck in battle, is captured by, actually surrenders to, the Russians and then through a series of impossible circumstances ends up saving the British Raj from destruction by the Russians. In this final battle, Flashman shows an incredible reservoir of courage that is amazing to witness and as I am sure a regular reader of this character realizes, is impossible to believe. This one's classic Flashman with Fraser in fine form with solid history mixed in with some of the more ridiculous aspects that make these books enjoyable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Charge of the Light Brigade, Flashman style
If you ever wondered what the opposite of James Bond might look like, George MacDonald Fraser's Harry Flashman might be a good character to look at:while superficially a heroic individual of great charm, Flashman is actually a coward and a cad and is unrepentant about these qualities.In the fourth volume of the series, Flashman at the Charge, Flashy is his same old self.

The title refers to the Charge of the Light Brigade, the famed fiasco for the British that was a highlight (or lowlight) of the Crimean War.As with the other Flashman books, this is a historical novel, and Flashman is right in the middle of history.As usual, as the book begins, he is trying to actually avoid fighting; with a clamor in England for a war with Russia, he knows that soon he will be pressed into battle due to his (undeserved) reputation as a military hero.Flashman doesn't mind being a coward; he just doesn't want other people to know it.

All his maneuvering actually just brings Flashman closer to the actual war and a series of wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time events will land him in the ill-fated Charge.It's no spoiler to say that he survives this battle (after all, he wouldn't be narrating the tale otherwise), but he does wind up a prisoner-of-war deep in Russia.This isn't so bad:as an officer, he is treated quite well at a palatial estate, and there's the owner's beautiful daughter to be considered.Unfortunately, he's not the only prisoner, and his fellow officer is intent on escape, especially after learning critical military intelligence.Of course, escape entails risk, putting Flashman in a pickle.

Going from England to Turkey to Russia to Afghanistan, Flashman at the Charge is another witty tale in a genre not known for its humor.Flashman may be a bad individual:cowardly, sexist and racist, but he is still a somehow likeable character, probably because he is not truly malicious.Indeed, compared to his military superiors, Flashman is almost a man of virtue.Almost.If you've enjoyed the other books in the series, this is another fine work to be enjoyed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another great story from Flashy's files
I find it amazing that Fraser can constantly deliver such a perfectly balanced combination of historical and romantic fiction. This is the fourth installment of the Flashman's adventures, but I found it to be the most intriguing, especially since it meticulously describes the start of the Crimean war and the battles of Alma and Balaclava with such cynicism.Consider the possibility that a pointless mistake in the communication of an order down the chain of command, combined with overzealous hand-waving by a messenger lead to the disastrous charge of the Light Brigade. Throw in with this some description of Russian countryside and daily life during the latter half 19th century: the horrid plight of the serf in stark comparison to the lavish existence of the noble caste. Mix it all up with the imperialist expansion of the Russian empire into Central Asia and you end up with a perfect recipe for epic historical fiction.However this would not be one of the famous Flashy files if it did not have equally interesting romantic encounters, troika chases through the snowy countryside, and suicidal missions to raid a Russian fort with Kirgiz rebels.To think that all this history, action and adventure occurs in a mere 300 pages is simply to good to be true.A truly great story-teller, Fraser has won me over and I can't wait to pick up the next chapter in his ruffian's adventures.

5-0 out of 5 stars Flashman, the series
ROFL, LMAO funny fiction in a semi-plausible historical settings.Defames many of the figures you yawned over in World History back in 9th grade.Flash is a real man's man.Read the books, preferably in order.

5-0 out of 5 stars Flash is Getting Soft!
After reading "Flash for Freedom," with its nauseous blatant racism expressed through Flashman's perspective, I began to wonder why I was drawn to the series. Even in the Spanish picaresque novels, rogues tend to mature in their skullduggery. But I already had "Flashman at the Charge" in the exercycle pile, so I plunged in. I'm glad I did. This is the most successful episode yet, in terms of skillful plotting and literary devlopment. Why, it's so well written that I'm sure some Flash fanciers will be disappointed. It also spews most of Flashman's bile on Russians and British army officers, two subspecies of Homo sapiens that I have no investment in. The big surprise, however, is that our Harry at last seems to be affected by experience. Several times in the book, he reveals admiration for the noble and contempt for the ignoble. He actually admits to feeling an emotion close to friendship for two other men and honest intimidation in the face of a powerful woman. And he acknowledges sympathy, sneeringly of course, for the suffering of others! What's all this coming to? Is Flashman gonna yield to the temptation to do something honorable!?! I guess I'll have to read the next book to find out. ... Read more

18. The Candlemass Road
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 192 Pages (2011-01-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$10.08
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 161608099X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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“An afternoon’s reading that’ll stick in the memory for long afterwards.Hooray for George MacDonald Fraser!”—The SpectatorGeorge MacDonald Fraser wrote The Candlemass Road after completing his researchand writing The Steel Bonnets, his nonfiction account of the Anglo-Scottishborder Reivers. Young Lady Margaret Dacre was brought up in the genteelfashion at the court of Queen Elizabeth I. When her father is murdered, sheinherits his lands in the English West March and is plunged into a world whereviolence and raiding are commonplace. Fraser’s characters are, as always, richlydeveloped through vivid descriptions and witty dialogues. His novel is true to thespirit of the Anglo-Scottish frontier feud. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars An Elizabethan morality play
Don't expect an amusing romp à la "Flashman" with this compelling novella. Told by an elderly Catholic priest many years after the event, it's a dark and bitter tale about the triumph of pride and ruthless expediency over honour and moral precepts.

Only one law applies in the Anglo-Scottish borderlands of the C16th, the "Law of the Marches", meaning "might is right". Raids and random, brutal violence are a way of life, and a constant sense of fear and trepidation prevails among both Scottish and English settlers.

Sir Ralph "Red Bull" Dacre, iron-fisted ruler of the estate of Askerton in Cumberland for many years, has been ambushed and killed.
His heiress, the young Lady Margaret, arrives to find her father's retainers dispersed and her inheritance under imminent threat from Scottish reivers. Beautiful but devious, arrogant and not used to having her will thwarted, Margaret is a true daughter of the Border, and prepared to use any means to hold her lands.

The means are at hand in the person of the versatile rogue Archie Noble, currently being heldprisoner in her cellars on a charge of thievery. She offers him a choice: a speedy hanging from a nearby chestnut tree, or to lead a "forlorn hope" counter-attack upon the expected invaders, in which case she will stand surety against the consequences.

Not surprisingly he takes the latter option and succeeds beyond expectation, but then the lady makes a further offer---

The abrupt ending mirrors the reader's gasp of stunned disbelief at a final shocking betrayal of trust, and adds impact to a powerful and memorable little story.

5-0 out of 5 stars A dark adventure at a break-neck pace
In little less then 24 hours, the 16th-century young Lady Dacre arrives at the castle she has inherited on the Scots/English border, compels a wandering stranger to defend her tenants against roving brigands, falls for him (almost) and watches him leave.

Although this sounds like a bodice-ripper romance, it's rather the opposite - a fierce, violent, even macho story of the terribly violent world of the "Border Counties" of the 16th century, told in an authentic dialect by Father Luis, a retainer of the Dacre family.

McDonald-Fraser's novella (barely 150 pages) is remarkable for its economy; within a few paragraphs we have the main characters compellingly described and developed; within a few pages Waitabout (the stranger who defends her) has dashed off to save the village, within a chapter or two a terrible violent battle has erupted.The pace is breathtaking but not at the expense of fully realized characters.

I will say, though, that the archaic Scottish dialect is not easy going at first; stick with it though, if you get in 10 pages you will not be able to put it down!

5-0 out of 5 stars Fraser in Top Form
There really is no feeling like that of picking up an as-yet-unread novel by George MacDonald Fraser.It is one of delicious certainty:you will be entertained, you will be informed, and you will be charmed.Unfortunately I can only expect to have this experience a couple of more times in my life, as there just isn't that much left of his that I haven't read anymore.Alas, alas, alas.

The locale in this one is the wild English/Scottish borderlands in 1598.Although England was mostly settled and Scotland was mostly settled, the midlands--under the jurisdiction of neither--were not, and bands of thieves and brigands--reivers--roamed about, terrorizing the countryside.

For characters there is Luis Guevara, the teller of the tale and the meek priest of the Dacre estate, located in the middle of these badlands;there is Lord Ralph Dacre, the white-haired, crimson-clad Red Bull, Lord of the Estate, and scourge of the thieves;there is Lady Margaret Dacre, sharp-witted, fire-breathing, and newly come to the estate after the untimely death of her father;and there is finally Archie Noble Waitabout, a broken man, thief, and he who proved to be the Great Lady's protector.

For plot there is the death of the Red Bull, "shot. . . through with calivers, nine balls in his body, and he let die by the roadside."Lady Margaret, bred in courtly London, comes to the estate and on the date of her arrival finds that the thieves are already attempting to reinstitute their filthy blackmail on her timid villagers.Those charged with helping her find excuses not to, for various reasons, but primarily because of their unstated fear of the dreaded Nixon clan.She turns to the imprisoned Waitabout, who in exchange for his life, agrees to go to the village and defend it.

For language, there is the incomparable GMF, this time using the lingo of an educated Scot of the 16th Century, duplicating the feat of his bravura linguistic performance in Black Ajax.And there is his descriptive power, here, the narrator's first view of the village:"A sorry pack they were, the men-folk stout enough but dirty and ill-clad, the women as slatternly as I ever saw, and if there were three pairs of shoon among them it was enough."

And the description of the battle itself, enough to make your blood run cold:"There was a great commotion about the bearded Nixon, him that was the leader and called Ill Will, and they tugged him all ways, some saying he should hang and others for having at him with their blades . . . they dragged him to the great dunghill that lay beside the cattle pen, and there heaved him up, and drave him down head foremost into the filth, and held him there."

There you have it, another great GMF novel, this one without the romantic playfulness of the Flashman novels, but still with the driving narrative, expert use of the language, and superb research.You cannot go wrong with this author.He has easily reached the stature of his heroes:Stevenson, Doyle, Sabatini, and Dumas.Indeed, he may stand above them.

5-0 out of 5 stars a great short novel
After reading QUARTERED SAFE OUT HERE, the best personal world war two recollection I have ever read about the British campaign against the Japanese, I was extremelyinterested in learning more of the history of the people he led, theBorderers. (The Engish charged and the Germans ran. The Germans charged andthe English ran. The Kings Own Borderers charged and everybody ran.) I thenread STEEL BONNETS, Fraser's history of the people he hadled in that war.It was fascinating. I wondered why he didn't write one of his great storiesbased on what he had researched. Then I found out about CANDLEMASS ROAD. Iordered it and awaitedit with great anticipation. When it arrived, I wentthrough it in an afternoon. I have rarely been so disappointed by afavorite author. I want the publisher to slap Fraser on both cheeks andtell him to " march right back into that room and finish thebook". What was written is better thananything Fraser has everwritten I know, from my reading, that Fraser admires CAPTAIN BLOOD as agreat adventure novel. I agree with him. The story he wrote here is as goodas anything written by Sabatini and it left me with a feeling of greatdismay when it ended before its time. What he sets up here is one of thegreat hisorical novels.

But it ends up feeling like what could have beenan appendage (here's what I think it might have been like) to STEELBONNETS. If you are a Fraser fan, order it and enjoy. If you are a Borderfan, order it and enjoy. If you are an historical novel by a reliableauthor fan, write to the publisher and demand that the author be requiredtototell us the end of the story of Lady Dacre, the Broken man, Wattieand the Bailiff. The use of the English language is some of the best I haveever encountered ( I am an O'Brian fan)and the rendering ofthe Scottishthe most accessible since Farnol.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Candlemass Road - Fraser's best
This is both a review of The Candlemass Road and a sharp disagreement with the previous reviewer.I have read all of Mr. Fraser's books, (save only Quartered Safe Out Here), and count Mr. Fraser as one of my favoritewriters.He is a master storyteller, who grabs readers and pulls themalong, with breakneck action alternating with insightful looks intohumankind - often in the same sentence.And, of course, Mr. Fraser isfunny.The Pyrates may be one of the laugh-out-loud, funniest books everwritten.

The Candlemass Road is by far George MacDonald Fraser's mostpowerful book.In a few short pages, Mr. Fraser sets the premise, thescene and the characters. While loaded with tense action sequences,this isprimarily a study of character and of situational ethics.It is a study ofa uncertain land in an uncertain time, told through the eyes of an aged,flock-less priest.The story is based on the horrors faced on a dailybasis by the inhabitants of the Borderlands between Scotland and England atthe end of the sixteenth century - the history of which was ably exploredin Mr. Fraser's The Steel Bonnets.(If you enjoyed that book, you'll lovethis one.)

The protagonist, young Lady Margaret Dacre, must use all ofher wit and power to protect her folk from a band of Scots reivers - on thevery day she returns to her ancestral seat after seventeen years at Court.Lady Margaret uses the tools available, and learns a valuable lesson aboutlife on the borders, and the "custom of the country".

Theprevious reviewer felt that the story ended just when it was getting going. I could not disagree more strongly.The book ended because the storyended.One paragraph more would have been too much. The reader does notneed to be told what happens next.

The characters are fully developed;the action is intense; the interplay between the main characters iselectric.This book grabbed me on page one, and left me shaking at thelast word.This is a fabulous book.Buy it so Mr. Fraser will write more. Then read it.Then read it again.Five stars. ... Read more

19. Flashman's first omnibus
by George MacDonald Fraser
Hardcover: 794 Pages (1979)

Isbn: 0214206726
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Flashman Forever!
I have enjoyed all of the books by George MacDonald Fraser over the years.His "Flashman" series is wonderful!They are, without a doubt, the finest historical fiction I have ever read.I have taken the time to research many of the incidents where Fraser has inserted "Flashy" and have found that his dedication to the historic context is quite accurate.Often I feel that I have to research the outrageous events related in the story as they seem outlandish and impossible- but I always find that history is stranger than any fiction.Many times while listening I am struck by the sheer genius in stringing together so many seemingly unrelated events into a fantastic tale!My highest reccomendation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Funny, entertaining and very un-politically correct fiction
Very funny, entertaining, and historically pretty accurate.George McDonald Fraser is a former Gordon Highlander who served in Burma among other places and has also written a few hollywood scripts.Flashman is thecharacter from "Tom Browns Schooldays", is expelled from Rugbyfor drunkenness , joins the army and is sent to India... Royal Flash iswhat "The Prisoner of Zenda" should have been, hilarious andadventurous.Flash for Freedom and Flashman and the Redskins are the pickof the bunch.McDonald Frasers book "The Pyrates" is great foranyone who has ever watched an Errol Flynn movie....

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic period history and fabulous charactors!
The novels involving the Flashman character are some of the most entertaining, enlightening and engrossing stories of the Voctorian era worldwide.I await Mr. Fraser's spin on how Harry Flashman philanders hisway though the American Civil War. It will be a great story. When is goingto happen, George?

5-0 out of 5 stars This is funny and entertaining historical fiction!
George MacDonald Fraser is a first rate historian who has published several history books. With his Flashman series he puts his man Harry Flashman into actual historical events of the last century. These books are richly documented andhave extensive footnotes... But that is not all....The Flashman papers (as all of these books are supposed to have been written by Harry Flashman, retired in his mid 80s and early 90s) tell the story of a decorated war hero, a knighted soldier, and a beloved national figure, who is really a world class cad and scoundrel who won all of his awards and honors in spite of the fact that he is at best a womanizing coward! These are funny and entertaining while showing you actual historical events in great detail. All that is left is to wonder A) how Flashy got into the situations, and B) how he will get out of them. I highly recommend the entire series! ... Read more

20. The Hollywood History of the World
by George MacDonald Fraser
Paperback: 304 Pages (1996)

Isbn: 1860462014
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth it for the pictures alone
The basic premise of this book is a mervelous one, compare history as it was with history as hollywood portrays it and show what it gets wrong and what it gets right.

The book is made up of over half a dozen sections, one for each period of film history such as "Tudors and Sea Dogs" "Rule, Britannia" etc. This makes it easy to savor the book since people can easily skip to the period that they find most interesting. That said, the book is worthy of being read all the way through.

The book focuses on movies made during the "golden age", that is 30's and 40's. There are a few modern films reviewed, such as Rob Roy and Braveheart. The book first shows the historical figure as he really was, usually from contemporary portraits and photographs, and then it shows the various actors and actresses who portrayed them. Fraser's witty commentary keeps things entertaining throughout with his comments on each film ranging from praise to marvelously catty contempt.

(His reviews of Braveheart and Mary of Scotland are deliciously caustic, I laughed myself sick)

Even if the prose fails to please, the pictures are worth the price of admission. It is very easy to spend lots of time browsing through the various incarnations of famous people. Also, this is probably a good book for history teachers to read before they decide to show a movie for class. I am glad to have gotten a copy before it wnt out of print. ... Read more

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