The Flashman series is twelve books long. They were very popular in the 1970s but have faded with time. This review is therefore a review of a re-read. How does it stand up to the expectations of a former devotee?
Flashman is a drunken, cowardly bully who firmly believes in self preservation. Notwithstanding this he finds himself in perilous situations all over the British Empire. The Flashman books are located at the height of British Imperialism. Through various, entirely implausible events, he finds himself in involved in the battle of The Thin Red Line and The charge of the Light Brigade: on the same day. Having reached the Russian cannons, he was then feted as a hero by the Russians!!
After the Charge… the story really comes to life. It branches out from the moment that he’s housed as a prisoner of war with an aristocrat. He escapes, re-captured, escapes and becomes central to an attempt by warriors living in central Asia to resist Russian expansion. There is tremendous colour to the story and as always with Flashman stories not only daring-do but also women.
Did it live up to the memory? Yes. It was a wonderful pacey read, which carried me along to the end. More! I’m encouraged to re-read other Flashman books as it lifted the spirits. (Whoever is the current Brexit loving Education minister could well put these books onto both the history and English syllabi to inculcate a swashbuckling attitude amongst children.)
Liam Fox in Flashman mode, giving it to Johnnie Foreigner
Why you should buy this book: It’s a wonderful read
Why you shouldn’t read this book: It’s totally politically incorrect in tone.