Flashman and the TigerPosted: 2016/01/18
Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman and the Tiger.
Reason read: to FINISH the series started in April in honor of Fraser’s birth month finally, right?). While the series might be ending for me there is one more book I will read in honor of GMF but it wasn’t written by him: Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes. Fraser took the bully character from School Days and created the Flashman series. Clever.
The premise for Flashman and the Tiger is simple…sort of: This set of papers is actually made up of three different time frames with three different titles: “Road to Charing Cross” (1878 – 1883-1884), “Subtleties of Baccarat” (1890-1891) and “Flashman and the Tiger (1879 & 1894). This is the first time in the Flashman papers that there has been a change in pattern. Each of these sections is only a minor episode in Flashman’s career. In “Road to Charing Cross” Flashman has found himself, once again, in an adventure he didn’t count on. He goes to France for President “Sam” Grant, who can’t speak french. The plot thickens when he agrees to help a Times reporter by the name of Blowitz. Blowitz wants to be the first to scoop the story of the amendment of the San Stefano Treaty. For the history bluffs: Flashman is one of the first to ride the famed Orient Express, only he isn’t impressed. He prefers the steamship.
In “Subtleties of Baccarat” the Prince of Wales is accused of cheating at baccarat, a French card game. Flashy is caught in the middle when a group of five men ask that he confront the cheater for an explanation.
In “Flashman and the Tiger” confronts Tiger Jack, someone he met earlier (1879). At this point the year is 1894 and Flashy is now 72 years old. Tiger Jack is not out to get our man Harry directly. Instead, he is looking to ruin Flashman through the ruination of Flashman’s teenage granddaughter. For the history buffs in the crowd, Oscar Wilde makes an appearance at the end.
New to the series: Fraser presents the reader with Flashy’s vitae so far. It’s a nice recap of everything that has happened in the previous nine books.
Typical Flashy lines: “I’d come to France to skulk and fornicate in peace, not to travel; on the other hand, I’d never visited Vienna, which in those days was reckoned first among all the other capitals of Europe for immoral high jinks, and a day and a night of luxurious seclusion with Her Highness should make for an amusing journey” (p 58), and “So we talked cricket while waiting for the attempted murder of the Austrian Emperor” (p 133). One more: “You think twice about committing murder when you’re over seventy” (p 295). I would think so!
Author fact: George MacDonald Fraser died three years after the publication of Flashman on the March. Had he lived, I am quite sure Flashman would be in many more adventures.
Book trivia: This is the 10th book in the Flashman series and the last one I will read for the challenge. The series continues with Flashman on the March.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “George MacDonald Fraser: Too Good To Miss” (p 93).