Friday, January 13, 2012

Royal Flash - a wrap up

Royal Flash is a bit of an anomaly in the series. It's the only one set entirely in Europe, it's the only one to feature a fictional country, and it's the only book to be mostly based on an already published and successful piece of fiction.

I don't pretend to know George MacDonald Fraser's thoughts, but I doubt Royal Flash would have ever been written if someone hadn't been in his ear about the possibility of a motion picture based on the hero's exploits. I said in my opening about the book that I felt it was based on The Prisoner of Zenda, because they wanted to make a film about Harry and needed something that was adaptable. Had this not been the case Flash for Freedom; the 3rd book, and one of the clunkiest titles, may have been the 2nd book, and Fraser would have found another, possibly more interesting and more historically accurate, way for Flashman to account for his time in 1847 - 48. Flashman's Lady and Flashman and the Mountain of Light more than account for what he was doing following the events of Flashman and before being duped by Otto von Bismarck into masquerading as Prince Carl Gustaf.

Although I loved it the first time I read it and felt that it was far superior to the film, I still do mind you, I find it less successful as a Flashman book. It's fairly trivial and really the presence of Lola, one of Harry's genuine loves and the introduction of Rudi Starnsberg, who even though he was based on Rupert of Hentzau, is quite a unique character in his own right, and someone that Flashman often refers to throughout his other adventures. The other disappointing thing about Royal Flash is that overall it doesn't have much of an affect or impact on his life and career as a whole.

Join me in Feburary for Flash for Freedom, where Harry goes to America and encounters slavery.

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