This will be the third time that I’ve seen fit to write the briefest of reviews about another of George MacDonald Fraser's ‘Flashman’ books and so far all have been magnificently entertaining.
Our cowardly and lecherous Flashy continues to find himself at some of the most dangerous hot spots of 19th century history, usually looking for a place to hide, trembling in fear as the heat of battle reaches fever pitch, praying that he is not discovered by the enemy or, more likely, the cuckolded husband of his latest conquest!
As with all MacDonald Fraser's tall tales, it is his ability to weave fact into fiction that makes them so appealing and ‘Flashman at the Charge’ is no exception. Apparently Fraser’s ‘favourite’ novel, Flashman’s behaviour continues to appall and delight in equal measures and while it might seem unnecessary to keep apologising for some of the language used it is important, nonetheless, to say that some might find it uncomfortable.
In this instalment of the recently discovered Flashman Papers our eponymous antihero is persuaded out of retirement to nursemaid one of Queen Victoria's cousins through the seemingly unavoidable Crimea campaign. Little is to go Flashy's way as he is somehow an unwitting participant at the 'The Thin Red Line', the 'Charge of the Heavy Brigade' and ultimately, powered by fear and flatulence, ill-fated 'Charge of the Light Brigade'.
If the morning's work wasn't bad enough he is immediately captured by the fearsome Russians and here begins another great adventure across the snow covered Steppe, ultimately leading to the North West frontier and an action that would see Flashman defending the Jewel in the Crown! Undeniably my favourite yet and a hugely entertaining yarn, that brings out the best, and perhaps more entertainingly, the worst of Harry Paget Flashman Esq. to the fore - a flatulence favoured four crowns!