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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Flashman in the Great Game by George MacDonald Fraser

Genre: Historical Fiction

Setting: England and India during the reign of Queen Victoria.

First sentence:  They don't often invite me to Balmoral nowadays, which is a blessing; those damned tartan carpets always put me off my food, to say nothing of the endless pictures of German royalty and that unspeakable statue of the Prince consort standing knock-kneed in a kilt.

This book is the fifth in Fraser's Flashman series which extends to twelve novels.

Our main character is Colonel Harry Flashman.  Flashman has earned a reputation of being brave, courageous, and bold.  He does not consider himself to be so.  Reminiscent of Forest Gump, he just happens to be in the right place at the right time.  He considers himself to be lucky at war, and successful with the ladies (If you know what I mean.).

In this novel, the British government has received information about a possible native uprising in India.  Is seems that a Russian operative has been stirring up trouble.  In addition,there is an Indian princess who has not accepted British rule.

The government needs to send someone to India to assess the state of the natives, investigate the Russian spy's activities, and to approach the Indian princess.

Who else could fill the bill but brave courageous Flashy?

And once again Flashman is unwillingly thrust into the fray.

This time he is at the beginning and the end of the Great Indian Mutiny of 1857.

This novel was published forty years ago.  The story is told through Flashman's eyes.  In giving Flashman his voice, the author has him use many pejorative adjectives when speaking of non-English characters.  In doing so, the author makes copious use of the "n-word"  When reading this novel I was struck at how unnecessary the use of that term was.

If the purpose was to accurately portray how prejudiced the British were, then the author was successful.  However, I found the use to the word to be somewhat tiresome.

This novel is a grand story of Flashman's exciting and bawdy adventures. There is plenty of the excitement of war, and plenty of excitement with the ladies (Wink, wink.).

For me, an okay book.


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