Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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A Wednesday Evening "Whole Of The Moon" Review: Flashman's Lady

George MacDonald Fraser's sixth Flashman novel, Flashman's Lady, fills in a blank in the story of Harry Flashman's early adventures: the period covering 1842 to 1845. It's a period that covers Flashman's one great triumph (in a game of cricket), and his journeys to the Far East and Madagascar - with the possible signs of a shred of decency underneath Flashman's cowardly exterior...

Flashman's wife is invited on a cruise to the Far East by a dashing gentleman, who turns out to be a pirate king (and also happens to cheat at cricket). Left for dead in Singapore, Flashman finds himself involved in an early example of gunboat diplomacy in Borneo, before falling foul of one of history's strangest rulers - the Queen of Madagascar. Not so much roistering and rollicking as previous books, as Flashman is driven by a different aspect of his ego, his jealousy - and the urge to make up for someone cheating him for once...

LIke the rest of MacDonald Fraser's series, Flashman's Lady puts us into the middle of real history. This time it's Britain's early colonisation efforts in what we now call Indonesia, and Queen Ranavalona's Madagascar. Flashman is the everyman at the heart of events, caught up in the flow, destined by his cowardly nature to be an observer. We see great men and women, the figures of history, and MacDonald Fraser uses Flashman to show us their venalities, alowin hius viewpoint character to view them through his soiled eyes...

A short fun read, exploring elements of history we rarely learn about.
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