Thursday, May 31, 2012

Flashman in the Great Game Chapter 8

A lot of Flashman in the Great Game reads more like conventional historical fiction than the irreverent romps we’ve come to expect from Harry Flashman. Chapter 8 is no exception. It covers the siege of Cawnpore and does it pretty straightly.

Harry twisted his ankle on the way into Cawnpore and in a turn of unFlashmanlike behaviour he digs in with everyone else and tries to do his duty. He even comments on it. Ordinarily the slightest injury gives Harry the excuse to take to his bed, and complain loudly about it. Admittedly everyone in Cawnpore was in such dire straits that this was impossible, but he doesn’t even whine about it. He doesn’t take the opportunity to even flirt with pretty young Bella Blair. He does consider going native and making a break for it, but reasons that if he’s caught by the pandies it’ll be worse than what he’s going through in Cawnpore.

He does meet up with East, and somehow manages to make it look like East lit out on him on the way out of Russia, and did the dirty on him. In some ways he did, but Flashman makes it sound a lot worse than it was, and effectively ruins East’s reputation.

East comes to him and apologises and admits that his actions were partly driven by what Harry did to Valla (see Flashman at the Charge), because he was smitten by her. Harry refuses his apology, tells him that he is not forgiven and shatters any illusions he may have had about Valla by letting young Scud know exactly what the nature of his relationship with the Cossack’s beautiful daughter was. I felt kind of wrong about that. I couldn’t stand Tom Brown. I tend to side with Harry on that. Okay he went over the top with Brown, but seriously the little snot was annoying. East I kind of liked, he wasn’t Harry’s sort at all, but he wasn’t a bad bloke. He didn’t deserve what Harry did to him.

The defenders are broken by a mutineers charge and lay waiting for the inevitable doom.  

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