Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Flashman in the Great Game introduction

I thought in keeping with what I've done so far, I'd do my personal introduction to Flashman in the Great Game and then do the first chapter tomorrow.

Flashman in the Great Game is the 5th of George MacDonald Fraser’s books about the career of the least deserving hero in the British Army; Harry Flashman.

Fraser really got into a nice groove with Flashman at the Charge, and he continued that with it’s follow up. The book takes place not all that long after it’s predecessor. While the conflict in Flashman in the Great Game (the Sepoy Mutiny) is not as well known or celebrated as the Crimean conflict featured in Flashman at the Charge, it is however something any student of the Victorian era has some knowledge of.

It takes place on the sub continent, and owing to his own experiences and knowledge Fraser always seems very comfortable writing about that area. This shows through in the writing and makes for a highly enjoyable experience. Readers had seen Harry Flashman in action in this area once before (Flashman), and the events of a later book (Flashman and the Mountain of Light) would also take place there.

The Great Game that the title refers to is the business of spying. Harry spent most of his career as a political or a diplomat. They’re really just pretty words for spy. A lot of this particular book has the feel of a spy novel, because that’s what Harry spends a lot of his time doing, and he’s in disguise for a good deal of it, too. A few old friends and one enemy return and there’s all sorts of fun to be had. George MacDonald Fraser co wrote the screenplay for one of the James Bond adventures (Octopussy), I wonder if this was the book that convinced the Broccoli’s to hire the novelist. Although he’s nowhere near as brave or competent a lot of the Great Game did remind me of Ian Fleming’s superspy, especially the way he’s presented in the films, rather than the books.

The cover shows Harry in local getup, which makes total sense as he does spend a lot of time pretending to be a native. Again no pretty local with him, but there is a backdrop of an almost fairytale like Indian city behind Harry the jolly whiskered native.

So sit back and prepare to join Harry Flashman as he plays the greatest game of his extraordinary career.  

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