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Flashman and the Tiger

Flashman and the Tiger

4.1 8
by George MacDonald Fraser

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It’s 1868 and Sir Harry Flashman, V.C., arch-cad, amorist, cold-headed soldier, and reluctant hero, is back! Fleeing a chain of vengeful pursuers that includes Mexican bandits, the French Foreign Legion, and the relatives of an infatuated Austrian beauty, Flashy is desperate for somewhere to take cover. So desperate, in fact, that he embarks on a perilous


It’s 1868 and Sir Harry Flashman, V.C., arch-cad, amorist, cold-headed soldier, and reluctant hero, is back! Fleeing a chain of vengeful pursuers that includes Mexican bandits, the French Foreign Legion, and the relatives of an infatuated Austrian beauty, Flashy is desperate for somewhere to take cover. So desperate, in fact, that he embarks on a perilous secret intelligence-gathering mission to help free a group of Britons being held captive by a tyrannical Abyssinian king. Along the way, of course, are nightmare castles, brigands, massacres, rebellions, orgies, and the loveliest and most lethal women in Africa, all of which will test the limits of the great bounder’s talents for knavery, amorous intrigue, and survival.

Flashman on the March—the twelfth book in George MacDonald Fraser’s ever-beloved, always scandalous Flashman Papers series--is Flashman and Fraser at their best.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
The creator of the Flashman series brings to life the next installment in the Flashman Papers: three novellas that find Flashy once again at the center of pivotal historic events. Though the three novellas didn't all prove to be equally well-written, the "subtle humor," and great characterization of all three kept the ratings high.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
P.G. Wodehouse said of the first Flashman novel that it was "the goods." Three decades and 11 "packets" of Flashman papers later, Fraser's indomitable Victorian scoundrel remains one of English literature's finest comic creations. This latest installment consists of three short adventures, all taking place in the late 19th century. In the first and longest episode, Flashy attends the Congress of Berlin, crosses paths with his old enemy Bismarck and gets dragged into a complicated plot to save Austria's Emperor Franz-Josef from assassination and Europe from world war. Not all the diplomatic intrigue is scintillating, but Fraser concludes on a strong note, sending Flashy off on yet another doomed military expedition just as he thinks he's home safe at last. Comic reversal figures as well in the second story, centered on a card-cheating scandal involving the prince of Wales, the future Edward VII. The hilarious exchange at the end between Flashman and his dizzy wife, Elspeth, is reminiscent of Bertie and Jeeves in their prime. In the final, title tale, Flashy, disguised as a poor drunk, sneaks into an empty London house to stop a certain Tiger Jack Moran from his evil plot to ravish Flashy's beloved granddaughter, only to find that two men, who look like "a poet and a bailiff," have ambushed the creep already. The deed done, Flashman listens as the "poet" makes some deliciously inaccurate deductions about the scruffy, drunk derelict, our hero. Throughout, Flashman alludes to disastrous exploits not yet published (Gordon at Khartoum, Maxmillian in Mexico, etc.). Readers can only hope that Fraser will enjoy the kind of longevity and productivity that defined the distinguished career of his mentor Wodehouse, and continue with this exceptional series. (Aug.) FYI: Fraser has written the screenplays for Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers, as well as for the James Bond film Octopussy. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Internet Book Watch
This new Flashman story is particularly recommended for prior fans of the character who have long awaited a new contribution to the Flashman Papers. The memoirs of this Victorian soldier and scoundrel came to light thirty years ago; three new episodes in his career blend history with entertainment.
—Internet Book Watch
Richard Bernstein
...entertaining and pedagogically valuable. Aficionados will not want to miss it.
The New York Times
From the Publisher
"You will learn things and have a lot of fun besides."
—The New York Times

"The delights of these novels can not be overstated."
—San Francisco Chronicle

"The plot is vintage Flashman-history brought to life by Flashman's refreshingly cynical view of humankind, himself included."
—The Boston Globe

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Random House
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Chapter One

You don't know Blowitz, probably never heard of him even, which is your good luck, although I dare say if you'd met him you'd have thought him harmless enough. I did, to my cost. Not that I bear him a grudge, much, for he was a jolly little teetotum, bursting with good intentions, and you may say it wasn't his fault that they paved my road to Hell -- which lay at the bottom of a salt-mine, and it's only by the grace of God that I ain't there yet, entombed in everlasting rock. Damnable places, and not at all what you might imagine. Not a grain of salt to be seen, for one thing.

Mind you, when I say 'twasn't Blowitz's fault, I'm giving the little blighter the benefit of the doubt, a thing I seldom do. But I liked him, you see, in spite of his being a journalist. Tricky villains, especially if they work for The Times. He was their correspondent in Paris thirty years ago, and doubtless a government agent -- show me the Times man who wasn't, from Delane to the printer's devils -- but whether he absolutely knew what he was about, or was merely trying to do old Flashy a couple of good turns, I ain't sure. It was certainly his blasted pictures that led me astray: photographs of two lovely women, laid before my unsuspecting middle-aged eyes, one in '78, t'other in '83, and between 'em they landed me in the strangest pickle of my misspent life. Not the worst, perhaps, but bad enough, and deuced odd. I don't think I understand the infernal business yet, not altogether.

It had its compensations along the way, though, among them the highest decoration France can bestow, the gratitude of two Crowned Heads (one of 'em an out-and-out stunner, much good may it do me), the chance to serve Otto Bismarck a bad turn, and the favours of that delightful little spanker, Mamselle Caprice, to say nothing of the enchanting iceberg Princess Kralta. No . . . I can't think too much ill of little Blowitz at the end of the day.

He was reckoned the smartest newsman of the time, better than Billy Russell even, for while Billy was the complete hand at dramatic description, thin red streaks and all, and the more disastrous the better, Blowitz was a human ferret with his plump little claw on every pulse from Lisbon to the Kremlin; he knew everyone, and everyone knew him -- and trusted him. That was the great thing: kings and chancellors confided in him, empresses and grand duchesses whispered him their secrets, prime ministers and ambassadors sought his advice, and while he was up to every smoky dodge in his hunt for news, he never broke a pledge or betrayed a confidence -- or so everyone said, Blowitz loudest of all. I guess his appearance helped, for he was nothing like the job at all, being a five-foot butterball with a beaming baby face behind a mighty moustache, innocent blue eyes, bald head, and frightful whiskers a foot long, chattering nineteen to the dozen (in several languages), gushing gallantly at the womenfolk, nosing up to the elbows of the men like a deferential gun dog, chuckling at every joke, first with all the gossip (so long as it didn't matter), a prime favourite at every Paris party and reception -- and never missing a word or a look or a gesture, all of it grist to his astounding memory; let him hear a speech or read a paper and he could repeat it, pat, every word, like Macaulay.

Aye, and when the great crises came, and all Europe was agog for news of the latest treaty or rumour of war or collapsing ministry, it was to the Times' Paris telegrams they looked, for Blowitz was a past master at what the Yankee scribblers call "the scoop." At the famous Congress of Berlin (of which more anon), when the doors were locked for secret session, Bismarck looked under the table, and when D'Israeli asked him what was up, Bismarck said he wanted to be sure Blowitz wasn't there. A great compliment, you may say -- and if you don't, Blowitz did, frequently.

It was through Billy Russell, who you may know was also a Times man and an old chum from India and the Crimea, that I met this tubby prodigy at the time of the Franco-Prussian farce in '70, and we'd taken to each other straight off. At least, Blowitz had taken to me, as folk often do, God help 'em, and I didn't mind him; he was a comic little card, and amused me with his Froggy bounce (though he was a Bohemian in fact), and tall tales about how he'd scuppered the Commune uprising in Marseilles in '71 by leaping from rooftop to rooftop to telegraph some vital news or other to Paris while the Communards raged helpless below, and saved some fascinating Balkan queen and her beautiful daughter from shame and ruin at the hands of a vengeful monarch, and been kidnapped when he was six and fallen in love with a flashing-eyed gypsy infant with a locket round her neck -- sounded deuced like The Bohemian Girl to me, but he swore it was gospel, and part of his "Destiny," which was a great bee in his bonnet.

"You ask, what if I had slipped from those Marseilles roofs, and been dashed to pieces on the cruel cobbles, or torn asunder by those ensanguined terrorists?" cries he, swigging champagne and waving a pudgy finger. "What, you say, if that vengeful monarch's agents had entrapped me -- moi, Blowitz? What if the gypsy kidnappers had taken another road, and so eluded pursuit? Ah, you ask yourself these things, cher 'Arree -- "

"I don't do anything o' the sort, you know."

"But you do, of a certainty!" cries he. "I see it in your eye, the burning question! You consider, you speculate, you! What, you wonder, would have become of Blowitz? Or of France? Or the Times, by example?" He inflated, looking solemn. "Or Europe?"

"Search me, old Blowhard," says I rescuing the bottle. "All I ask is whether you got to grips with that fascinating Balkan bint and her beauteous daughter, and if so, did you tackle 'em in tandem or one after t'other?" But he was too flown with his fat-headed philosophy to listen.

"I did not slip, me -- I could not! I foiled the vengeful monarch's ruffians -- it was inevitable! My gypsy abductors took the road determined by Fate!" He was quite rosy with triumph. "Le destin, my old one -- destiny is immutable. We are like the planets, our courses preordained. Some of us," he admitted, "are comets, vanishing and reappearing, like the geniuses of the past. Thus Moses is reflected in Confucius, Caesar in Napoleon, Attila in Peter the Great, Jeanne d'Arc in . . . in . . ."

"Florence Nightingale. Or does it have to be a Frog? Well, then, Madame du Barry -- "

"Jeanne d'Arc is yet to reappear, perhaps. But you are not serious, my boy. You doubt my reason. Oh, yes, you do! But I tell you, everything moves by a fixed law, and those of us who would master our destinies -- " he tapped a fat finger on my knee " -- we learn to divine the intentions of the Supreme Will which directs us."

"Ye don't say. One jump ahead of the Almighty. Who are you reincarnating, by the way -- Baron Munchausen?"

He sat back chortling, twirling his moustache. "Oh, 'Arree, 'Arree, you are incorrigible! Well, I shall submit no more to your scepticism méprisant, your dérision Anglaise. You laugh, when I tell you that in our moment of first meeting, I knew that our fates were bound together. 'Regard this man,' I thought. 'He is part of your destiny.' It is so, we are bound, I, Blowitz, in whom Tacitus lives again, and you . . . ah, but of whom shall I say you are a reflection? Murat, perhaps? Your own Prince Rupert? Some great beau sabreur, surely?" He twinkled at me. "Or would it please you if I named the Chevalier de Seignalt?"

"Who's he when he's at home?"

"In Italy they called him Casanova. Aha, that marches! You see yourself in the part! Well, well, laugh as you please, we are destined, you and I. You'll see, mon ami. Oh, you'll see!"

He had me weighed up, no error, and knew that on my infrequent visits to Paris, which is a greasy sort of sink not much better than Port Moresby, the chief reason I sought him out was because he was my passport to society salons and the company of the female gamebirds with whom the city abounds -- and I don't mean your poxed-up opera tarts and can-can girls but the quality traffic of the smart hôtels and embassy parties, whose languid ennui conceals more carnal knowledge than you'd find in Babylon. My advice to young chaps is to never mind the Moulin Rouge and Pigalle, but make for some diplomatic mêlée on the Rue de Lisbonne, catch the eye of a well-fleshed countess, and ere the night's out you'll have learned something you won't want to tell your grandchildren.

In spite of looking like a plum duff on legs, Blowitz had an extraordinary gift of attracting the best of 'em like flies to a jampot. No doubt they thought him a harmless buffoon, and he made them laugh, and flattered them something monstrous -- and, to be sure, he had the stalwart Flashy in tow, which was no disadvantage, though I say it myself. I suppose you could say he pimped for me, in a way -- but don't imagine for a moment that I despised him, or failed to detect the hard core inside the jolly little flâneur. I always respect a man who's good at his work, and I bore in mind the story (which I heard from more than one good source) that Blowitz had made his start in France by paying court to his employer's wife, and the pair of them had heaved the unfortunate cuckold into Marseilles harbour from a pleasure-boat, left him to drown, and trotted off to the altar. Yes, I could credit that. Another story, undoubtedly true, was that when the Times, in his early days on the paper, were thinking of sacking him, he invited the manager to dinner -- and there at the table was every Great Power ambassador in Paris. That convinced the Times, as well it might.

So there you have M. Henri Stefan Oppert-Blowitz, and if I've told you a deal about him and his crackpot notions of our "shared destiny," it's because they were at the root of the whole crazy business, and dam' near cost me my life, as well as preventing a great European war -- which will happen eventually, mark my words, if this squirt of a Kaiser ain't put firmly in his place. If I were Asquith I'd have the little swine took off sudden; plenty of chaps would do it for ten thou' and a snug billet in the Colonies afterwards. But that's common sense, not politics, you see.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

George MacDonald Fraser was born in England and educated in Scotland. He served in a Highland regiment in India, Africa, and the Middle East. In addition to his books, he has written screenplays, including The Three Musketeers, The Four Musketeers, and the James Bond film Octopussy. He died in 2008.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Flashman and the Tiger 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
...and a damned good one. R.I.P., Harry Flashman.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The nook edition doesn't have the great cover the hardcopy editions has. Worse, the footnotes have been messed up -- and this is a real problem, because Flashman books have many footnotes. The footnote problem is that many of the footnotes shift text from the body of the book back to the footnote -- about a sentence's worth will just be clipped out of the book and randomly appear in the back, in a footnote. *Flashman and the Tiger* is a *great* book. I own it in hardcopy. It's enraging to pay money for such shoddy goods, however. -Olin Shivers
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Guest More than 1 year ago
While rather than a single Flashman Reflection as usual this book is a set of novella's. This did not make it anyless enjoyable. I could not put it down. The novella's are exciting and bring you into some of the more obscure moments in late 19th century history.Welcome back to a favorite character.