Flashman in the Great Game

Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman in the Great Game. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1975.

Reason read: to continue the series started in April in honor of Fraser’s birth month.

We have been following Harry Flashman through his adventures (the Afghanistan War, encounters with Count Bismarck and Lola Montes, the African slave trade and the Crimean War). This time the year is 1856 and he is caught up in the Great Indian Mutiny and this is, by far, his bloodiest adventure yet. Flashman has been chosen to be a secret agent to discover who is cooking up the rebellion. Thanks to his knowledge of various languages and his ability to blend in with the natives Flashy is able to discern the enemy is none other than his old nemesis, Count Nicholas Pavlevitch. Once again, coward Harry Flashman is in the thick of it, battling Russian spies, secret assassins, rampaging mutineers and Thugs. But, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have time for a quick roll in the hay with prostitutes and even Lakshmaibai, the “Jezebel of Jhansi.” Some things never change.

The great game is described as to lie low in disguise, watching, listening and waiting for the right time to strike. Considering this is about the Indian Mutiny, that sounds about right.

Quotes I liked, “The truth is we all live under false pretenses much of the time; you just have to put on a bold front and brazen through” (p 109), and “Sufficient to say that fear, shock, ignorance, and racial and religious intolerance, on both sides, combined to produce a hatred akin to madness in some individuals…” (p 327). Again, some things never change.
I also liked the dedication, “For the Mad White Woman of Papar River.”

Book trivia: portions of Flashman in the Great Game appeared in Playboy Magazine.

Author fact: I’ve got nothing new this time around but fear not! I have at least 4 or 5 more times to write something else about Mr. Fraser.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “George MacDonald Fraser: Too Good To Miss” (p 93).

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