Flashman and the Dragon

Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman and the Dragon. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1986.

Reason read: this is the eighth book in the Flashman series. Hard to believe I started this in April in honor of Fraser’s birth month!

To bring all you historians up to speed: So far in the series Flashman has seen action in four military campaigns: the First Afghan War, Crimea, the Indian Mutiny and the Sioux War of 1879. With Flashman and the Dragon Harry gets himself involved in the Taiping Rebellion. Another worthy note: for this particular installment of papers, George MacDonald Fraser himself acts as editor, admitting he confines his corrections to spelling, while “checking the accuracy of Flashman’s narrative and inserting footnotes wherever necessary.”
Fans of Flashman’s sexual conquests will not be disappointed. As usual, Harry works his charms on a number of different women, the most important being the favored Imperial Yi Concubine, Lady Yehonala (who later became Empress Tzu-hsi). She ends up saving his life (much like my favorite tart, Szu-Zhan, from earlier in the story). “Get ’em weeping, and you’re halfway to climbing all over them” (p 11).

A small word of warning for the faint of heart: there is a lot of detailed violence and torture in this Flashman installment. It’s almost as if Fraser was getting bored with Flashman as just a cowardly womanizer. The action needed to be ramped up a little.

Book trivia: The cover to Flashman and the Dragon is interesting. A nearly naked woman holding a fan is cradled in the arms of a gentleman (not Flashy). The man’s face is partially obscured by the woman’s fan.

Author fact: Fraser has also written a series of short stories, The General Danced at Dawn and McAuslan in the Rough.

BookLust Twist: Are you tired of me saying, “from Book Lust in the chapter called “George MacDonald Fraser: Too Good To Miss” (p 93)”? We only have three more after this one.

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