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 nineteenth century despite trying his utmost to escape them all.
Flashman, soldier, duellist, lover, imposter, coward, cad, and hero triumphs in this first installment of The Flashman Papers. His adventures as the reluctant secret agent in Afghanistan and his entry into the exclusive company of Lord Cardigan's Hussars culminate in his foulest hour - his part in the historic disaster of the Retreat from Kabul.
This is the story of a blackguard who enjoyed villainy for its own sake. Shameless, exciting, and funny, Flashman's deplorable odyssey is observed with the cynical eye of a scoundrel who was honest only in reporting what he saw. He makes all other black sheep look respectably grey.
©2015 George MacDonald Fraser (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
This is one of my favourite books, full of humour, history and excitement. This recording is spoilt by bland narration. The story is told by Flashman writing at the end of his life but we get neither the cynical and knowing old man nor the passionate, excitable, terrified young one. Instead it sounds like the vicar giving a geography lecture to the Women's Institute.
The Flashman books read by Timothy West seem to have disappeared from Audible. They were infinitely superior, a real joy to listen to.
Bring back Timothy West
I'm a fan of the Flashman books, and loved the Timothy West-narrated versions that used to be available. Sadly, only a few titles were ever released, so I've had to wait until now to be able to hear the rest of the stories in their full unabridged versions, now with Colin Mace in the narrators chair. The story itself is classic Flashman, the cowardly bully from Tom Brown's Schooldays, charting his expulsion from school to joining the Army and his adventures in Afghanistan. It's a perfect place to start.
For the narration, Colin Mace does a good job, whilst not *quite* reaching the level of sheer caddishness that Timothy West managed to convey. Mace sounds a little "younger" when narrating, which does sit a little awkwardly to the "fact" that this is an elderly Flashie telling of his adventures. I'd also add that he has a habit of speaking a little quieterwhen not conveying speech, which can sometimes make you keep adjusting the volume to try to hear everything without it being too loud. That wouldn't be a problem for listeners at home, but if you're listening in a car like I do, it can be a bit niggly to have to do this. It's a minor thing, though.
I'll definitely be adding others from the mace-narrated collection to my library.
The first hour almost stopped me listening to this before I really began. It takes a little time to get into both the story and the narrator speaks fairly swiftly.
Flashman is a bully, a coward, a racist (as is everyone in the story), a misogynist, a murderer and a rapist. He admits all these faults himself. He is certainly not a hero. He is, however, an excellent storyteller and a compelling character. The story is well-written, having the feel of an unvarnished truth told by a man who is utterly without scruple.
If you like Flashman as a person, I doubt I'd want to know you, but as an inversion of the heroic archetype he is magnificent.
It's certainly worth the listen, though you'll be uncomfortable at times. It's worth pressing on through those moments, as the whole is a well-written adventure story. But for pity's sake, wear headphones.
I've never read any of the Flashman books but chances on this in a book shop. I downloaded the audiobook as I don't get as much time to read anymore. It's perfect for the car.
It's a great story for all boys who want to know what it was probably like back in the good old days of the 'Empire'.
A good non pc fictional historical book . Its good listen to a author who knows his history. And who is not a liberal bleeding heart prat..
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.