Saturday, May 5, 2012

Flashman in the Great Game - Chapter 2

Things don't improve much for Harry in the second chapter of Flashman in the Great Game.

Once he's seen Ignatieff he runs and tells Ellenborough, who at first can't believe it, but they both soon realise that Palmerston had to have known. The concerning thing is that for Ignatieff to know that the English were aware of the Russian's plans for Jhansi on some level they had to have a mole at the highest levels of the administration. Flashman is instructed to behave around Ignatieff until they can put the plan to insert him into Jhansi in action.

Harry plays it pretty well. In company of the villainous Russian nobleman he acts the part of the gracious former captive, but when no one else can hear them he makes snide comments about knouts. Ignatieff does let Harry know that Valla survived being thrown out of the sleigh and would love to have her revenge on him.

Things go quite well, with Harry reverting to bully type and making life uncomfortable for his enemy when he believes he's safe, that is until someone tells Prince Albert there are some roe deer near Balmoral. I'm not sure if Albert was really as bloodthirsty as he's portrayed in the Flashman books, or whether this was just something that amused George MacDonald Fraser.

They go off on a hunt and Ignatieff and his hairy moujik put Harry's Scottish ghilly out of commission and go after another prey. They don't want deer, they want to mount Harry Flashman's head on their walls! This section once again made me think of scenes from a Bond movie, it never actually took place in any of the Bond films, but it has that feel about it. Harry is rescued by a capable British agent, who was sent for this purpose expressly.

The sooner Harry gets to India the better, in fact it may actually be safer for him. Harry said incident put him off deer hunting for life.

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