George V. Reilly

Review: Flashman At The Charge

Flashman At The Charge
Title: Flashman At The Charge
Author: George MacDonald Fraser
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Plume
Copyright: 1973
Pages: 288
Keywords: historical fiction, humor
Reading period: 7–16 August, 2016
Flashman Papers IV: 1854–55

Flashman At The Charge finds our hero, newly promoted to Colonel, nurse­maid­ing a minor Royal cousin in the Crimean War. Somehow he finds himself in the thick of the Charge of the Light Brigade, which he survives only to be taken captive by the Russians. Sent off to Count Pencher­jevsky’s estate, he luxuriates there for some time, bedding the count’s daughter Valla. When he and another British officer overhear the Tsar discussing Russian plans to invade India, he re­luc­tant­ly escapes. After he is captured by Count Ignatiev, he is treated roughly and dragged along with the Russian invading force. With the aid of Tajik and Uzbek warriors, he escapes again and foils the Russian plans.

Flashman has little regard for the British generals and their poor handling of the Crimean War. (One wonders what he would have made of their successors’ handling of the Great War, but the long-lived Flashman dies at the age of 93 in 1915.) Flashman is appalled at the brutality meted out to Russian serfs, and wonders that it doesn’t backfire on the Russian nobility (he gets caught up in a peasant uprising at the Pencher­jevsky estate).

Another good entry in the Flashman Papers.

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