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Flashman

The Flashman Papers, Book 1
Narrated by: Colin Mace
Series: The Flashman Papers, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (428 ratings)

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Summary

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
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Spoilt by Poor Narration

Would you try another book written by George MacDonald Fraser or narrated by Colin Mace?

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.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Colin Mace?

The Flashman books read by Timothy West seem to have disappeared from Audible. They were infinitely superior, a real joy to listen to.

Any additional comments?

Bring back Timothy West

15 people found this helpful

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Flashman rides forth.....

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.

4 people found this helpful

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Rip roaring storytelling at its best.

This is storytelling of the highest quality. Wins no awards for political correctness but scores highly for pleasure, humour and amusement.

2 people found this helpful

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Brilliant Fantastic a real ripper of a story

A true great autobiography of one the bravest men who made our British empire great !

1 person found this helpful

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My inner flashman...

New to the world of the mercurial Mr flashman..where have I been all this time??? grinning to myself on lonely train journeys to work on his adventures and miscomings. I am A very new fan to his ecacapes and wonder who he might tumble with or escape from next.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant!

excellent character, fantastic writing, great humour and you can't help but like the chap...scoundrel though he may be!

1 person found this helpful

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performance great, story not so

Really didn't mind the content, and it's effort to outwardly detail the attitudes of an era, or what we understand of them, in first person perspective, though some aspects of it were a little bit jarring to start with, "got myself a little Nword... to...." etc. It is however trying to reflect a particular time. I suppose, given Faulty Towers was today removed from Netflix in response to Black Lives Matter (for the German episode - in the interests of being inclusive, I suppose), among other shows, we might find these books are also made unavailable, as if this history never happened at all, and these kinds of people were front and center of it - it did though, and this book meerly reflects that. The actual character, Flash, is fictional, the historical events he's been added too are not... I personally find this kind of exploration helpful, others might find this book difficult, not on a narrative level, but content in areas and language used to describe persons - I found aspects jarring, some may however find themselves affronted. Not sure if I'll go through the rest, or not.

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Wodehouse meets 007 .... sort of

Flashman is great company. The story is fine in and of itself however the language of Flashie is the star.

To millennial sensibilities this will cause a fit of the vapours, as Flashman might say, however I suspect the racist epithets and #MeToo behaviour would have been generally accurate for the times.

I laughed a few times and smiled a lot.

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Extremely enjoyable but not quite perfect.

I so much love the Flashman novels that it was always going to be difficult to compete with Flashman's voice in my head.
Saying that, the narrater does an ok job but I found he missed the humour in it a bi,t either by his tone or timing I'm not sure, but whereas I have read the novels several times and found them hilarious, this was just amusing when listened to.
Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and it really is a superb yarn.
Right through the entire series Mcdonald Fraser keeps you guessing as to just where the truth lies: in the record or in Flashman's memoires and the same goes for Elsbeth. A really neat trick.
Some people might find the old letch and poltroon not acceptable these days but he is surely one of the most brilliantly drawn characters in fiction.

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Victorian adventure

An exciting page turner of the Victorian scoundrel Harry Flashman.

I found the pacing was a little off in the last half of the book, with the first half quickly bouncing between several characters and locations before plateauing. I also found Flashman turn from a lovable rogue in the first half to more of a despicable and desperate character in the latter chapters which is obviously the writers intension but had me rooting for him much less.

Will look forward to seeing what the next instalment offers.

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  • Thomas Herlofsen
  • 24-02-19

Fun, fabulously un-PC

All the worst parts of British culture hung out to dry. Satire on par with Yes, Minister, but far more salty. Spike Lee should make this into a TV show, the perfect picture of how we became so horrible in Europe. In a time when works of art are judged by the morality of the main character this is utterly irredeemable of course; a story of the Man, British colonial superiority, a cross between James Bond and Indiana Jones. Cheerfully racist and misogynist. Great naughty fun.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Andrew Little
  • 18-03-18

What a fantastic listen

I don’t no what every body is going on about, complaining about Colin Mace. He was superb and really brought Flashman to life in my eye. Each to their own I suppose.

Great listen don’t let the other reviews put you off like it nearly made me do so glad I took a chance and it paid off

1 person found this helpful