George V. Reilly

Review: Flashman in the Great Game

Flashman in the Great Game
Title: Flashman in the Great Game
Author: George MacDonald Fraser
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Plume
Copyright: 1975
Pages: 322
Keywords: historical fiction, humor
Reading period: 16–25 August, 2016
Flashman Papers V: 1856–58

Flashman in the Great Game finds Flashy back to India, sent there by prime minister Lord Palmerston to look into worrying rumors of mutiny amongst the Indian troops and to sweet talk the re­cal­ci­trant Rani of Jhansi. After an attempt upon his life by Thugees, Flashman goes undercover in the native cavalry at Meerut, where the Sepoy Mutiny begins soon after. He then finds himself in the Siege of Cawnpore and the Siege of Lucknow and imprisoned at Gwalior before being almost executed as a mutineer. Having survived all of this bloodshed, he receives a knighthood and the Victoria Cross, and learns that he has been im­mor­tal­ized as a bully and a cad in the newly published book, Tom Brown’s School Days.

Flashman is forced by cir­cum­stances to act heroically several times (having an unearned reputation for bravery can lead to un­re­fus­able requests for more of the same). To the detriment of the book, Fraser goes through con­tor­tions to find reasons for Flashman to be present at most of the major events of the Mutiny. Even so, a solid addition to the Flashman Papers.

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