DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Book Review: Flashman

Flashman (The Flashman Papers Vol. 1, 1839-1842)
By George MacDonald Fraser

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Now I'm not the world's biggest fan of historical warfare novels but when my friend and neighbour Dave suggested that I give this a read I thought 'yeah maybe'.
Then the bugger (no offence Dave) comes round and lends me it so I have no excuse... and torture me in most unpleasant ways if this wasn't a darn good read...

What's is all about? Well - here's the promo blurb which itself is a fun introduction:

"The Flashman papers, which had apparently lain untouched for fifty years, in a tea chest, until they were found in the Ashby saleroom, were carefully wrapped in oilskin covers. From correspondence found in the first packet, it is evident that their original discovery by [Flashman's] relatives in 1915 after the great soldier's death caused considerable consternation; they seem to have been unanimously against publication of their kinsman's autobiography - one can readily understand why - and the only wonder is that the manuscript was not destroyed."

So this is the first instalment of the Flashman Papers and it sees the “fag-roasting rotter” from Tom Brown's Schooldays commence his military career as a reluctant secret agent in Afghanistan. Expelled from Rugby for drunkenness, and none too welcome at home after seducing his father's mistress, the young Flashman embarks on a military career with Lord Cardigan's Hussars. En route to Afghanistan, our hero hones his skills as a soldier, duellist, imposter, coward and amorist (mastering all 97 ways of Hindu love-making during a brief sojourn in Calcutta), before being pressed into reluctant service as a secret agent. His Afghan adventures culminate in a starring role in that great historic disaster, the Retreat from Kabul. He puts so much effort into being the lazy cad that you can't help but feel some sort of affinity for his predicaments…All in all this was a LOT more fun than I expected it to be!

Darkmatt Rating: ööö ("Flash-man, Ahhh Ha, he'll save everyone of us...")

"a random saucy shot of Kate Beckinsale? in a review of a amorous cad? whatever next?"

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