Harry Flashman: the unrepentant bully of Tom Brown's schooldays, now with a Victoria Cross, has three main talents - horsemanship, facility with foreign languages, and fornication. A reluctant military hero, Flashman plays a key part in most of the defining military campaigns of the 19th century, despite trying his utmost to escape them all.
Many have marvelled at General Napier's daring 1868 expedition through the treacherous peaks and bottomless chasms of Abyssinia to rescue a small group of British citizens held captive by the mad tyrant Emperor Theodore. But the vital role of Sir Harry Flashman, V. C., in the success of this campaign has hitherto gone unrecorded.
Flashman's undeserved reputation for heroism renders him the British army's candidate of choice when it comes to skulking behind enemy lines in Ali Baba attire. After all, who but the great amorist could contemplate navigating a land populated by hostile tribes and the loveliest (and most savage) women in Africa, from leather-clad nymphs with a penchant for torture to a voluptuous barbarian queen with a reputation for throwing disobliging guests to her pet lions?
"The Flashman Papers do what all great sagas do - winning new admirers along the way but never, ever betraying old ones. It is an immense achievement." (Sunday Telegraph)
"Not so much a march as a full-blooded charge, fortified by the usual lashings of salty sex, meticulously choreographed battle scenes and hilariously spineless acts of self preservation by Flashman." (Sunday Times)
"Not only are the Flashman books extremely funny, but they give meticulous care to authenticity. You can, between the guffaws, learn from them." (Washington Post
"A first-rate historical novelist." (Kingsley Amis)
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