Read Royal Flash by George MacDonald Fraser Online


In Volume II of the Flashman Papers, Flashman tangles with femme fatale Lola Montez and the dastardly Otto Von Bismarck in a battle of wits which will decide the destiny of a continent. In this volume of The Flashman Papers, Flashman, the arch-cad and toady, matches his wits, his talents for deceit and malice, and above all his speed in evasion against the most brilliant EIn Volume II of the Flashman Papers, Flashman tangles with femme fatale Lola Montez and the dastardly Otto Von Bismarck in a battle of wits which will decide the destiny of a continent. In this volume of The Flashman Papers, Flashman, the arch-cad and toady, matches his wits, his talents for deceit and malice, and above all his speed in evasion against the most brilliant European statesman and against the most beauiful and unscrupulous adventuress of the era. From London gaming-halls and English hunting-fields to European dungeons and throne-rooms, he is involved in a desperate succession of escapes, disguises, amours and (when he cannot avoid them) hand-to-hand combats. All the while, the destiny of a continent rests on his broad and failing shoulders....

Title : Royal Flash
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780452261129
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Royal Flash Reviews

  • Manny
    2019-05-21 10:49

    Last week I finally got around to reading Les Trois Mousquetaires, and this week, more or less by accident, I read Royal Flash. They're both excellent historical thrillers, and it's interesting to compare them. MacDonald Fraser is following very much in Dumas's footsteps. He takes real historical events from the mid-19th century, and recasts them so that history is no longer an inevitable unfolding of grand themes, but rather a haphazard collection of accidents, more often than not turning on who happens to be sleeping with whom. The first two paragraphs sum it up brilliantly:If I had been the hero everyone thought I was, or even a half-decent soldier, Lee would have won the battle of Gettyburg and probably captured Washington. That is another story, which I shall set down in its proper place if brandy and old age don't carry me off first, but I mention the fact here because it shows how great events are decided by trifles.Scholars, of course, won't have it so. Policies, they say, and the subtly laid schemes of statesment, are what influence the destinies of nations; the opinions of intellectuals, the writings of philosophers, settle the fate of mankind. Well, they may do their share, but in my experience the course of history is as often settled by someone's having a belly-ache, or not sleeping well, or some aristocratic harlot waggling her backside.Nevertheless, Fraser, like Dumas, simultaneously pays his respects to the Men of Destiny; his portrayal of the young Bismarck has not a little in common with Dumas's treatment of Richelieu.The most obvious difference, of course, is in the treatment of Honour, and at first sight the two books give diametrically opposing views. D'Artagnan is superficially portrayed as a classical hero, driven by the purest of motives; his courage, his loyalty to his friends, his love for Mme. Bonacieux and his devotion to the Queen. Flashman, in contrast, is by his own admission an utter scoundrel. Given that Les Trois Mousquetaires was apparently written by two people, I do wonder whether D'Artagnan's interesting character is a serendipidous product of creative differences. On several occasions, he behaves every bit as badly as Flashman. He steals money from his landlord, while simultaneously trying to seduce his wife; he more or less rapes Ketty, then uses her to get close to Milady; he intercepts private letters from Milady to de Wardes, and exploits them to turn her against him. D'Artagnan does all these very bad things, but somehow never really admits to himself what he's up to. He always has some handy excuse available; he's doing it for Mme. Bonacieux or for the Queen, or his victims were evil people who anyway had it coming. The engaging thing about Flashman, in contrast, is his straightforwardness. He never tries to excuse anything, but frankly admits that he's a bully, a heartless exploiter of women, and, when necessary, a cold-blooded killer. But, at the same time, I wonder whether he isn't also distorting the truth, this time in the opposite direction. If he were the snivelling coward he likes to claim he is, could he really have had all these hair-raising adventures, and would he have been quite so magnetically attractive to women? Despite everything, you feel that, somehow, he isn't such a terrible person after all.The thing that's common to both books, it seems to me, is the way in which they subvert staple characters in the adventure story genre, and turn them into real people. D'Artagnan's a hero, but he could go over to the Dark Side at any moment. Flashman's a villain, but sometimes, to his and the reader's surprise, he finds his heart touched by love and affection. I wonder what would happen if they ever met? Perhaps D'Artagnan would challenge Flashman to a duel, to avenge some slight to a great lady's reputation, or perhaps they'd go off together to the best brothel in Paris and indulge themselves until daybreak. I think it would all turn on some trifle: a dropped handkerchief, or what one of them had for breakfast. Life doesn't make as much sense as we want it to, and both of these authors do a wonderful job of capturing its unpredictability.

  • Tristan
    2019-04-27 12:59

    Sir Harry Flashman, highly decorated officer of the 11th Light Dragoons, is a cad, a chauvinist, a misogynist, an adulterer, and most of all a coward. His positive qualities consist of having a natural gift for foreign tongues (in this case this can be interpreted as a double entendre ), being a good rider, and having a strong sword arm. What lacks is character. His 'achievements' in his military enterprises are mostly due to either blind luck, running away from danger, a talent for snatching glory from others far more deserving, or a combination thereof. In other words, old Flashy is a sort of grotesque -yet glorious- Frankenstein's monster of many of the negative stereotypes often associated with the upper class English soldier in the era of the British Empire. In his posthumously discovered memoirs, a retired Flashman regales his hypothetical audience with various tales of his 'illustrious' career. And it most certainly can be called that, but not in the manner many think it is. No grand, sweeping statements are to be found about the supposed heroism of war, and especially not about himself. He presents the unvarnished truth as he sees it, while being quite proud of it too. I find myself wondering whether such a character (if it was published now) would be embraced in our own rather politically correct, hypervigilant times, even if this series of novels can not be interpreted in any other way than as being nothing more than highly diverting, escapist parodies.However, Royal Flashis rather tame (and by extension not as intriguing) in comparison with the excellent original, which I highly recommend. Here we find Flashman as a far more toned down and passive character, an eternal victim of various villainous schemes and unforeseen circumstances. He still is an unabashed womanizer, but the utter brutishness and callousness he displayed in his Afghan adventure has been taken down a couple of notches. Did Fraser fear that he might have gone a tad too far when he started out? The line between an anti-hero and a villain is a very fine one, indeed. It might be prudent to maintain a balance. This doesn't mean this is not an outstanding piece of adventure fiction. Au contraire, it most certainly is. Any time spent with Flashman most definitely is a joy. It just suffers from immediately following its superior predecessor. The narrative didn't grip me as much. Perhaps I was spoiled from the very beginning, and there is no hope of retrieving that initial high. However, my sources have divulged to me that the next entries are considered to be the best of the series, so I will most certainly proceed with learning all there is to know about our good old Flashman. God bless him, the dastardly bastard.

  • J.G. Keely
    2019-05-03 09:53

    For you poor folks who have never heard of the Flashman series, they tell the story of your classic Victorian adventurer, a man who travels through many lands, making his way by his wits and his skill and always being drawn into the dangers of politics, secret plots, and local politics. But the hero of these stories comes with a twist: he's an awful cad who lies, cheats, and steals his way through the world, a coward who only survives by the skin of his teeth, but who pretends the role of the brave, bluff Brit.The books are well-researched, full of delightful details and references for anyone interested in the period, as well as a vivid reconstruction of archaic slang. However, I find I liked the first book much better than the second one. For one, the character of Flash is much more of a rascal there--many of the things he does make you dislike the character greatly, despite his forthright charm. In this one, I wondered if MacDonald might have been making him a little more heroic, a little more sympathetic.Along the same line, most of the difficulties he gets embroiled in throughout the course of this book--the very things that drive the plot--are thrust upon him, leaving him a much less active character. He's kidnaped, blackmailed, and forced at gunpoint to take part in various plots, instead of being trapped into them by his own faults and greed, as he was in the first volume.But then, that's part of the problem of a cowardly character: how do you make him an active agent in his own story without forcing his hand? How do you ensure that the mess he's in really is his own fault, and not merely a contrived circumstance that forces him to act against his own nature?Without that culpability, he begins to become a victim, a lowly and sympathetic figure instead of the brash, bold personality which he is meant to be. We do get him taking a risk here or there for the sake of lucre, but pure greed isn't the most complex or intriguing of character motivations.Hopefully in future volumes, I'll get to see him return to his old form--because other than that, this book is a delightful bit of adventure fiction.

  • Evan Leach
    2019-05-04 09:34

    I didn’t like Royal Flash quite as much as the first book in the series, probably because this is the lone Flashman novel set in a fictional location (instead of throwing Flashy directly into real-world events). The Flashman books work (at least for me) on three different levels: there’s the adventure, the humor, and the historical fiction. The third element is a bit lacking due to the make-believe setting Flashman spends much of the book running around in. That doesn’t mean that there are no historical elements involved – Flashman ends up working for Otto von Bismarck on a wild scheme based on the very real Schleswig-Holstein Question, and runs into a number of other real characters from the 19th century (most notably Lola Montez). But I missed seeing ol’ Flashy thrown directly into actual events, and given that this is the first and only Flashman novel to put him in a fictional location, I’m guessing I’m not alone.Fortunately, the adventure and humor are still top notch. As the title implies, Flashman finds himself being treated like royalty for much of the book, and Fraser has a lot of fun with this situation. Fraser also toned down Flashman’s faults a little bit from the first book – he’s still a cad, and really quite a bastard, but he doesn’t behave quite as poorly as in Flashman. The ludicrous scheme that Flashman gets involved in (which I won’t spoil) is very entertaining and sets up much more of a pulpy-adventure story (with some espionage elements) than the other Flashman stories. Even if I missed the history at times, it was still a ton of fun to read.Overall this was my least favorite of the first four Flashman books, but as I love them all that’s not meant as a major mark against it. Royal Flash is still a page turner, and if you enjoyed the first entry in the series you should have a lot of fun with the sequel. I certainly did. 4 stars, recommended.

  • Julie Johnson
    2019-05-06 12:59

    I have read a number of Flashman books before this one and usually in a series you get ones that are stellar and ones that just don't have that same spark.I felt so-so about this one. It just didn't seem to have the same sparkle.My forever favourite is still Flashman at the Charge. It was also the first one I ever read, and it was a revelation.I adore the Flashman character even when I dislike him.He is a character I at once love/hate. He's such a product of his age (Victorian), and has all the expected attitudes towards women and other cultures that you would expect from a a man of that era--so much so that he comes across as disgusting and vile at times. And of course he's a coward (though given the situations he often finds himself in, like war, I think I'd be a coward too.) He's also a bully--and there are times when I really dislike him. He also, however, has such moments of understanding, empathy, connection, gratitude--and refreshing honesty, that you connect with him. He's also scathingly funny at times.The historical approach of these books is brilliant. It's like a 'behind the scenes' look at great moments of the Victorian Age, with Flashman being this 'unwitting' force causing notable events to happen (like the Charge of the Light Brigade in the book Flashman at the Charge). History truly comes alive in these books, some of the best historical writing I have ever read. Flashman is thoroughly embedded in his era, speaks confidently about his times, so that you really believe it. These books often have me looking up things I normally have no interest in (Victorian history is not really my thing). For instance, while reading this book, of course I looked up Bismark!The use of footnotes in this series is also brilliant and clever. These book are written as though Flashman were an old man, writing down his remembrances and memoirs--and they've been 'discovered' by the author. The author then notes important points in the 'memoirs', explaining certain historical points, or comparing Flashman's version to other (true) versions, and also offering proof for Flashmans account based on these real resources. It's a brilliant amalgamation of truth/fiction--and again makes Flashman, and his historical time, seem alive and real.. So while I didn't like this book as much as other's I've read, it's still a brilliant series. My favourite book would deserve 5 stars, so a lesser book gets 4.I'm still a big Flashman fan and intend to keep on reading the series til I'm done!

  • Sally
    2019-05-10 16:56

    It took me a long while to get into Royal Flash. It's written from the perspective of Harry Flashman, a cowardly, selfish, mysoginistic bully who is perfectly happy to take credit for anything he hasn't earned and driven largely by his lust. A classic anti-hero and not an easy character for me to relate to at all.However it was highly recommended and I enjoyed the way the tawdry historical references (of the sort you never find in school history books) were woven so intrinsically into the story, so I persisted. By about a third of the way through I was enjoying it and by halfway I simply had to keep reading to the end in one go.As a character I really appriecated the fact that Flashman owns all of his unappealing characteristics and doesn't ever pretend to be otherwise. I never quite found him endearing but I did find him a fascinating character and very well written, as were all of the secondary characters also. The voices rang true; the writing was engaging, if jarring due to the characterisations; and the plot was fabulous. I particularly enjoyed the historical references and context as well.I strongly recommend it for friends who like a different read and who are prepared to invest some serious energy into getting into a book. For anyone who wants a light read laced with wish fulfillment fantasy, forget it!I can't say I've come to love Flashman but I will thoroughly enjoy reading the rest of his papers over time.

  • Nigeyb
    2019-04-25 11:52

    Having enjoyed 'Flashman' (The Flashman Papers, #1), I was keen to read more tales of Flashy, the unabashed racist, scoundrel, bully, cad and coward. George MacDonald Fraser continues his literary conceit that what we are reading is the second part of a cache of papers, written by Flashman in old age (between 1900 and 1905). The second pack of papers is detailed in Royal Flash (The Flashman Papers, #2) and our disreputable hero tangles with femme fatale Lola Montez, and Otto Von Bismarck, amongst others. From London, and picking up soon after the first book, Flashman journeys to political intrigues in Germany in which he experiences both the high life and imprisonment in a dungeon. Flashy is involved in a desperate succession of escapes, disguises, amours, and (when he cannot avoid them) hand-to-hand combats. Despite an improbable plot, this really is another rollickingly good yarn.There are 12 books in the series:Flashman (1969)Royal Flash (1970)Flash for Freedom! (1971)Flashman at the Charge (1973)Flashman in the Great Game (1975)Flashman's Lady (1977)Flashman and the Redskins (1982)Flashman and the Dragon (1985)Flashman and the Mountain of Light (1990)Flashman and the Angel of the Lord (1994)Flashman and the Tiger (1999)Flashman on the March (2005)I look forward to reading all of them.

  • Simon Mcleish
    2019-04-27 13:51

    Originally published on my blog here in July 1999.The second of Fraser's Flashman series, Royal Flash is a spoof on Anthony Hope's classic The Prisoner of Zenda. It keeps fairly faithfully to the plot of Hope's novel, with the central part falling to the cowardly Flashman rather than the gallant Rudolf Rassendyll.The major change made by Fraser is the motivation for the escapade. Flashman has no liking for adventure, and it requires both blackmail and force to get him to imitate Prince Carl Gustav. The plot is laid by Bismarck, and is an attempt to destabilise the border region between German states and Denmark, one of the more volatile parts of Europe in the mid-nineteenth century. (The border provinces of Schleswig and Holstein were claimed by both German patriots and the Danish state; the 'Schleswig-Holstein question' was made complicated by the fact that Germany was at the time fragmented into a large number of independent states.) Carl Gustav, a Danish prince, is set to marry Duchess Irma of Strackenz, a fictional, tiny state joining Schleswig and Holstein on the German-Danish border. Bismarck, realising Flashman's uncanny resemblance to Carl Gustav, intends to substitute him for the prince, and then reveal his identity, framing him as an agent of British Prime Minister Palmerston, engaged on some underhanded business. The purpose of this plot is to get both the Danes and Germans in Strackenz up in arms, provoking a general war in the region.Of course, Flashman goes through the whole adventure quaking with terror. What will happen if someone finds out he isn't Carl Gustav? What will Bismarck do to keep him quiet even if he succeeds? The beginning of a trend which continues throughout the series can be seen in Royal Flash: the bullying unsympathetic side to Flashman begins to be suppressed, the comic element is emphasised. (I like the joke after Flashy, in his guise as the prince, sleeps with a chambermaid, and says to himself that if a child is born of the liaison, and grows up thinking himself closely related to royalty, he would truly be "an ignorant bastard".)

  • Bill
    2019-05-24 08:50

    Royal Flash is the 2nd book in the Flashman series by George MacDonald Fraser. This story was used for the movie (1975) starring Malcolm McDowell as the irrepressible Harry Flashman. The book was first published in 970.Flashman is one of those heroes / anti-heroes like Sharpe and Horatio Hornblower. The difference is that Flashman is a rogue and a coward always looking out for number 1, AKA himself. In Royal Flash, a dalliance he has with an Irish beauty, during which he also meets Otto von Bismark (who he embarrasses) causes much tribulation in Flashman's future. He embarrasses this Lola Montez as well and she is used as bait to get Flashy into an untenable situation.Flash is encouraged to go to Germany to help Lola with a situation. The combination of his troubles with his in-laws and a payment of a considerable amount of money sways him towards this voyage even though he wonders why Lola would want his help after what he has done to her.This starts Flash on an unplanned adventure to a small state north of Germany where he is forced to impersonate a Crown Prince of Denmark, all part of the subterfuges of future Iron Chancellor, Bismark. It's a fun and adventure-filled story, with Flash both enjoying himself (heck, he does get to dally with a beautiful princess) and fighting to save his skin.The story moves from London to Munich to northern Germany and the action flows easily along the route. The story is interesting and moves along nicely. How will it all turn out for Flashy? Well, there are another 10+ books in the series, so you can figure it out for yourself. If you want an enjoyable adventure, you might like the Flash series. (3.5 stars)

  • Ian Mapp
    2019-05-10 11:31

    Of course, you know what you are going to get in series books like this. An exact replica but set in a different location.Flashman is back from the afgan war a hero. In an escape from a london whorehouse, he take refuge in a police chase by hiding in the carriage of Lola Montez - who is entertaining Otto Von Bismark. You can guess what happens here.Otto and Flashy meet up again, where flashy gets his revenge on him by organising an exhibition bout against a top puglist and his affair with Lola bores him, so he denounces her her on a London stage as a non spanish charlatan.Otto and Lola plot their revenge by getting Flashman involved in German/Danish politics where he just happens to look exactly like a Danish Prince - standing in for him at his wedding, as he recovers from a social disease.What is it with doppleganger books that I have on at the moment - this is 2nd one in a row.Usualy caddish, cowardly behaviour ensues with Flashman eventually getting away with it all - and the Danish Jewells that he has half inched.Nice twisty ending - with Flashman having met his female equivalent.The humour is once again first class and another excellent history lesson.

  • Paul
    2019-05-07 12:58

    Flashman's character is becoming more cohesive in this book. I felt that in the 1st book Fraser didn't quite know how to handle his creation, and Flashman fluctuated between being a cad and an outright unlikeable bastard. This time he's a coward, sure, and a bully if he sees the chance, and of course if you put a skirt on a hay bale then he'd probably sleep with it, but he still never dips below likeable scoundrel. A few slow points where Fraser dips a bit too far into the history aspect, but much of it also lends these novels their authenticity, so they become overall bearable.

  • Stephen Richter
    2019-04-24 16:43

    What can I say ? If you like your main character to be a rake, a fake and a coward then the Flashman series is the books for you. In the second book, the Flashman focuses on one particular fling with a woman of amazing talents, and how his dealings with her led him to adventures in the attempt to unite Germany by impersonating a Royal Dane. Great stuff. On to Book 3.

  • Laura
    2019-05-09 08:33

    From BBC Radio 4 Extra:Celebrated cavalry officer, Harry Flashman is caught with his trousers down in a London club. Read by Iain Cuthbertson.

  • Andrew Weitzel
    2019-04-30 10:59

    Just as good as the first! I like everything about Flashman so far, whether he's cowering his way through Afghanistan or getting shanghaied by Otto von Bismarck into some madcap scheme in Denmark. Recommended to anyone who has a sense of humor.

  • Peter
    2019-05-24 09:47

    Flash Vs Pesky Germans!

  • Nick Gibson
    2019-05-10 10:51

    Not as humorous as the first - which still leaves it above most comedies.

  • Rob Thompson
    2019-05-09 11:30

    “I was sufficiently recovered from my nervous condition – or else the booze was beginning to work ...Royal Flash is the second of the Flashman novels. Written in 1970 by George MacDonald Fraser, Fraser based the book on the plot of The Prisoner of Zenda. Set during the Revolutions of 1848 the story is amusing enough. It is set in the fictional Duchy of Strackenz. This makes it the only Flashman novel to be set in a fictitious location. The story sees Flashman (view spoiler)[fleeing from a police raid on a brothel he was visiting, Flashman meets Lola Montez and Otto von Bismarck. Some years later a tempting offer sees Flashman in Munich. Here Bismarck has him abducted and blackmailed. His mission: to imitate Prince Carl Gustaf, a fictional member of the Danish royal family. Gustaf is to marry Duchess Irma, the ruler of the fictional Duchy of Strackenz. But according to Bismarck the prince has contracted a sexually transmitted disease. This, of course, would be embarrassing if uncovered by his future wife. This turns out to be a lie. In fact the prince is in prison in Jotunberg Castle. Flashman is a doppelgänger of the Prince. He is trained to take his place until the Prince is cured. Accompanied to Strackenz by Bismarck's accomplices, Rudi von Starnberg, Detchard and de Gautet, Flashy weds the Duchess. Shortly afterwards, while out hunting, Flashman finds out that Bismarck meant to double-cross him and kill him. But he turns the tables on his attacker and tortures the information out of him and kills him instead. He is then captured by Strackenzian nationalists and forced to help them storm the Jotunberg Castle. They are successful, but Flashman and von Starnberg fight in the dungeon, with Flashman escapes death. He then goes back to England, with the help of Montez, who robs him along the way. (hide spoiler)]In Royal Flash we see old Flashy in all his guises. Coward, scoundrel, lover and cheat. He uses his wits and skill to out of all manner of sticky situations. Well researched and full of detail, the mixture of history, humour and adventure makes for a great read.

  • Derek
    2019-05-03 15:39

    I can see why people would like this. Harry Flashman is a reptile whose appetites--women, money, foolishly petty vengeance--dig him into trouble and his cowardice and knavery dig him back out. Narrating the story from many, many years later, he has absolutely no illusions about his courage or honor or sense of duty--actually, a buried sense of shame--and this distance and perspective is the only thing that made me keep reading after about the twentieth page. Well, no, not the only thing. The work is littered with references to real historical figures, references to fictional historical figures, and fictional references to fictional historical figures, and so forth, and it was an entertainingly futile exercise to try and identify the various Easter eggs and background homework that Fraser used to bring the period verisimilitude.None of it was enough, however, to keep me reading past the 150th page, by which time Flashy's welcome had been well and truly exhausted...just as the intricate and rather interesting machinations in Strackenz (the events of which "inspired" The Prisoner of Zenda) start to engage and Flashman is in trouble in earnest.

  • Smokinjbc
    2019-05-13 14:39

    Harry Flashman is still rotten to the core but takes you on quite a trip as he carouses his way through England and Europe. Several laugh out loud moments as he impersonates a Danish prince on his wedding night (the prince's, not Flashman's) and tries to escape the clutches of Bismarck. Especially entertaining was his description of fox hunting and his "education" in how to pull off an impressive scam. My favorite lines are:(speaking of Bismarck) "I also learned that he had a wife in the capital, which surprised me; somehow I had come to think of him as brooding malevolently in his lonely castle, wishing he was Emperor of Germany."and "I hung back a little, for steeplechasing in the style of your old-fashioned bucks, when you go hell-for-leather at everything, is a quick a road to a broken neck as I know."

  • Fuzzy Gerdes
    2019-05-01 14:36

    I had harsh words for the character of Flashman after I read the first book in George MacDonald Fraser's series. But there was something that compelled me to seek out more of his (mis)adventures and so I picked up Royal Flash from the library. Maybe it's that the novel is a pastiche of one of my childhood favorites, The Prisoner of Zenda, or that Flashman is less a victim of his own worst instincts than of the machinations of others. Regardless, I found him less loathsome and more the likable (to a degree) rogue.

  • Robin Carter
    2019-05-01 15:46

    For a long time people had expounded the brilliance of the flashman and the books are damn fine to read, i don't think it needs me or anyone else to write a review saying about the high quality of the writing and characters... but for me the real brilliance comes to the fore when the book is read by the likes of Rupert Penry-Jones.I love to listen to the Flashman books on audio format when im on holiday, the only issue i have is to make sure i dont start talking like a Victorian cad whilst going to the bar to get a drink.If you love the books and have not tried the audio format yet do so, i promise you its a whole new way to experience the world of Flashman, and if you are new to the Man...go will love him

  • Jonfaith
    2019-05-13 13:40

    We had moved here and this proved topical. It was a humid summer and the house was gradually coming together. I'd come home from work and then attend to some task, usually making quite the mess. I lack facility in such matters. I read a number of story collections that summer, I also read a Flashman. The novel's layered plot I found engaging, though not the execution thereof. Who can complain about a protagonist whose favorite verb is roger? Sure, the politics are incredibly reactionary and the pacing akin to genre norms. That said, I did buy a couple more more future diversion.

  • Rick Brindle
    2019-04-26 13:41

    The second Flashman novel, and as excellent as the first. Despite even the character himself saying he's nothing but a cad and a bully, I actually like him, and let's face it, would any of us behave any differently given the situations he faced? In this story, Flashy gets hoodwinked into helping Otto Bismark engineer all sorts of dastardly deeds in what will eventually become Germany. Thoroughly entertaining, with lots of fights, escapes and beautiful women along the way.

  • Frank
    2019-05-20 08:47

    Something about reading about Flashy running around Eastern Europe, drinking and carrying on, can be a little dangerous; particularly when you are running around Eastern Europe. This is another wonderful Flashman book, our hero may be without his whiskers but that does not stop him from romping with chambermaids, acting the cad and behaving very badly in the face of danger.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-05-15 11:42 cavalry officer Harry Flashman is caught with his trousers down in a London club. Read by Iain Cuthbertson.Loosely based on The Prisoner of Zenda

  • Henrik Havighorst
    2019-05-06 09:45

    The second Flashman novel is slightly better than the first, at least in my humble opinion. Focusing in more personal affairs and some skullduggery instead of losing itself in macropolitical dabbling, Royal Flash is more of a pulp-spy novel and good fun.

  • John S
    2019-05-09 14:33

    Read any of the Flashman series if you enjoy a great read of fiction based upon fact. GM Fraser is the best, he often has you holding your gut you're laughing so hard.Certainly the best series I've ever had th epleasure of reading.Ringo

  • Carey Combe
    2019-05-07 08:41

    Thank you Bettie - loving this! What fun this was, loved the self deprecation and humour of Flashman

  • Card
    2019-05-17 08:44

    this one was a movie and the book is better. read it. love the rascal that is Harry Flashman! hard to put down or forget.

  • Andrew
    2019-04-28 13:59

    The second volume in the 'Flashman' series is a great romping yarn that riffs off 'The Prisoner of Zenda', with a nod to the politics of German reunification and some sexual shenanigans with the legendary Lola Montez. As usual MacDonald Fraser fills this novel with lots of historical references, and whilst the contextualisation of more prominent events (e.g. the revolutions of 1848) are very helpful, what brings the book alive historically are the small details and the historical pop culture references.Flashman as a character is more or less the same he was in the first novel of his adventures, and having previously read other later books in the series, he doesn't change too much. He is not a fully rounded, realistic persona; as a caricature anti-hero he is more a collection of comic characteristics than an evolving person. However one doesn't read Flashman books looking for a fully developed and evolving psychological exploration of a fictional Victorian adventurer. One reads the Flashman books to enjoy the comedic excitement of Flashy's brushes with death and famous people, and his sexual misadventures.It is in the depiction of the two key villains, Bismarck and von Sternberg that MacDonald Fraser develops some uniquely engaging characterisations. The Bismarck of 'Royal Flash' is a far more colourful depiction of the real 'Iron Chancellor' than seen in historical texts, whilst von Sternberg has the potential to be to Flashman as Moriarty is to Sherlock Holmes. The female characters are positioned as objects of Flashy's lust, and it's only Lola Montez who comes closest to meeting the same comic complexity of Flashman. Another author could (if it has not been done already) take the acme of her life and career and produce an entertaining novel about her. MacDonald Fraser is happy enough to use her character as a catalyst for much of Harry Flashman's adventures in this book. 'Royal Flash' is hardly a feminist tome.In summary, 'Royal Flash' is a rollicking good yarn with some elements of boy's own adventures, a wonderful use of historical references to add depth to the narrative, and a collection of characters who are comically rewarding. The prose is simple, the plot development fast. For anyone who has previously encountered Flashman it's a must read, for anyone who hasn't 'Royal Flash' is a good introduction.