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Flashman and the Dragon (Flashman Papers #8)

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  2,190 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Harry Flashman: the unrepentant bully of Tom Brown's schooldays, now with a Victoria Cross, has three main talents - horsemanship, facility with foreign languages and fornication. A reluctant military hero, Flashman plays a key part in most of the defining military campaigns of the 19th century, despite trying his utmost to escape them all.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (first published 1985)
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The Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Alienist by Caleb CarrThe Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónMistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Best Historical Mystery
478th out of 1,314 books — 3,403 voters
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312th out of 368 books — 369 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ruediger Landmann
Apr 02, 2013 Ruediger Landmann rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ruediger by: Walter Rorschach
Shelves: read-2013
As much as I love this series, I have to admit that by book 8, The Flashman Papers have settled down into a very comfortable formula: Flashy agrees to join an adventure in some exotic corner of the globe, the adventure turns out to be something other than what it first appeared (usually due to treachery), Flashy is taken prisoner, Flashy is assisted by some exotic woman with an enormous carnal appetite, Flashy falls out with the woman because one betrays the other, and finally Flashy is rescued ...more
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
The more I read the Flashman series the more impressed I get and the more I wonder at the fact that George MacDonald Fraser didn’t get a knighthood and an honorary degree for services to the understanding of English History during the Victorian Era. The man’s a genius!
“Flashman and the Dragon” is Flashman’s China adventure covering the Taiping Rebellion (the greatest loss of life in any civil war and - I believe - second only to the Second World War) and the Second China (or Opium) War. The tale
Mar 03, 2013 Ensiform rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, historical, china
In this entry, Flashy finds himself in Hong Kong (and already knowing Chinese, for some reason) — and quickly is tricked into running guns, meets Frederick Townsend Ward, is sent to parley with the Taipings, is captured by the Imperials, and is present at the burning of the Summer Palace. Not bad for not quite a year’s work, eh?

All the praise I showered on this book when I first read it, not to mention the praise for the other volumes recently, goes here as well. Erudite, bawdy, witty and hilari
Phil Overeem
Sep 22, 2015 Phil Overeem rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone needs to read at least one (FLASHMAN is my recommendation for a single dip into the papers). But it's one long, riotous, bawdy, exciting and deeply educational novel. Trying to keep track of the Chinese geography that's covered here makes one's head spin and costs it a star--Fraser almost NEVER lets plotting get in the way of the fun.'s wonderful like the rest!
Stephen Richter
Jun 05, 2015 Stephen Richter rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
Once again the Flashman finds himself caught in the Victorian Imperial policies, this time in China. In the tail end Taiping Rebellion Harry Flashman is hoodwinked into the rebel camp by the lure of fast money in the opium trade. This was an audio listening experience, so it should be worth mentioning the greatness of the narrator, David Case, who is the perfect voice for the Flashman.
Rick Brindle
Jul 03, 2016 Rick Brindle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This chapter in Flashy's life revolves around the second opium war, and as usual he finds himself in hot water because he can't keep away from women. But that's OK, it's why we love the rascal!
This follows GMF's very entertaining formula of a supposed coward who's actually no more so than any of us, who seems to be on hand at history's momentous occasions, and gives a very funny, very un-PC opinion on things, as well as historical figures.
A very good story, this one, but only three stars this t
Muthuprakash Ravindran
Jul 06, 2015 Muthuprakash Ravindran rated it it was amazing
Flashy is back and this time in China. What is fascinating about the Flashman series , repeating my thoughts from elsewhere, is that it uniquely combines a history lesson with absolute adventure, which is not something many writers can pull off. And GM Fraser does it again and again.

Here, Flashy appears in Hongkong, agrees to do some opium trading, which was all the rage at the time, for quick money, lands himself in the middle of the Taiping rebellion. Through Flashy's eyes, we see the absolut
Simon Mcleish
May 17, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in October 1999.

The eighth Flashman novel follows on from the sixth, and deals with the complex situation in China in 1860. In the middle of a civil war which still amounts to one of the most bloodthirsty campaigns in military history (the Taiping Rebellion - only the Second World War had more casualties), the British undertook a major military expedition to escort Lord Elgin to Beijing (then known as Pekin) in safety, there to force the Chinese Emperor to ra
Jun 06, 2010 Mark rated it really liked it
This is the eighth of the twelve books about mid-nineteenth-century British military conquests. Many of the historically important events and battles that helped form the British empire are recounted throughout the series by their principal character, Harry Flashman, who was present at them all. So, for example, if you've always wanted to know what the charge of the light brigade refers to, just find the correct volume and have a good read. (It's number 4 in the series.)

The plots are too silly t
May 06, 2014 Giles rated it really liked it

something of a mixed read in this, the eighth outing of our dastardly hero.

Oh, don't get me wrong the story contains the usual breathless adventures and sexcapades we've come to expect from Flashy. GMF's historical research is, as ever, top notch and the humour never lets up (there is a sword fight at the end that Harry narrates whilst also taking part in that had me fairly slapping my thigh) but at the same time I couldn't shake the feeling the author was painting by numbers.

The location
Christopher Saunders
You'd think "routine" is the last word you could apply to Flashman, but Dragon qualifies. One imagines Fraser running through a checklist: momentous historical event (China’s Taiping Rebellion), lots of eccentric, real-life personages (including Yankee freebooter Frederick Thompson Ward), exotic beauties and plenty of violence, torture and exotica. But somewhere between the 10th pirate skirmish, 60th description of the Summer Palace and Flashy's 800th coupling with Empress Cixi your mind starts ...more
Walt O'Hara
Feb 14, 2014 Walt O'Hara rated it it was amazing
Flashman and the Dragon (The Flashman Papers, #8) by George MacDonald Fraser Flashman and the Dragon by Georgemacdonald Fraser Flashman Papers 3-Book Collection 4 Flashman and the Dragon, Flashman on the March, Flashman and the Tiger by George MacDonald Fraser

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For the sake of 100% disclosure, I've read the entire Flashman series before, some of them two or three times, including this novel. However, I haven't visited anything by George Macdonald Fraser in the last decade (except Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II about five years ago). So reading Flashman and the Dragon was neither a new experience nor an unwelcome one. I haven't reviewed ANY of George MacDonald Fraser's work on Goodreads prior to this, however
The 8th installment of The Flashman Papers takes Harry Flashman to China during the Taiping Rebellion and the Second Opium War [specifically 1860[.

Flashman and the Dragon finds the eponymous hero dodging, weaving, cowering, lying, cheating, and finagling his way through China in an attempt to get back to England and Elspeth [his philandering wife...maybe].

After a while the Flashman books begin to blend one into another. Essentially this is because they are all, pretty much, the same book. To b
Anna Tan
Jul 18, 2013 Anna Tan rated it it was ok
This was a very random buy from Hong Kong, I think.
It was extremely British, and at times, rather offensive/racist/sexist.

On the plus side, I discovered I actually do have some form of pride for my ethnicity despite being Malaysian and confirmed Anglophile.

So, yeah. It was okay. Funny at times, but unfunny at others. And probably someone will call me out for being too "sensitive". *shrug*

Jun 25, 2016 Colleen rated it really liked it
I probably would have gotten a lot more out of this book if I knew the history of 19th century Britain better. Flashman is a legendary hero in the British army and this book describes his 'poltritude' and heroism in the face of Taiping religious fanatics planning a rebellion, the Chinese Imperial court, and of course seducing women like 6'6" Szu-zhan (a bandit leader) and politically ruthless Yi Concubine (the Emperor's favorite). The tale starts out with him accidentally discovering he's shippi ...more
Ian Mapp
Aug 03, 2015 Ian Mapp rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, humour
The Structure of the books is the same but this is just the foundation stone to inform the reader of another piece of Victorian History - this time European/Chinese relations in 1860.

So - Flashman gets conned into an adenture (opium running turns into something else), finds himself at a significant battle, gets captured, falls in love with the lady, makes good his escape and recounts all the key events of the period.

No spoilers or surprises there, it's only the event that changes in the series.

May 08, 2014 Michele rated it really liked it
Shelves: buckle-my-swash
Another swashbuckling yarn, with everything coming up roses for Flash despite his complete and utter inability to do anything remotely noble or selfless. Among other things he engineers the execution of another soldier, grovels to the Emperor, is bestridden by the Emperor's concubine while tied to a table, and lies through his teeth to just about everyone (except when the truth makes him look better). Unusually, he also waxes poetic about something other than female flesh -- astonishing! -- in h ...more
Mar 03, 2013 Ms.pegasus rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any fan of historical fiction
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: my husband
Shelves: fiction, china, history
Rake, prevaricator, opportunist – Harry Flashman (now Sir Harry, decorated with the Victoria Cross and holding the rank of Colonel), could not hold our regard so completely in any other era than the Victorian. As readers we have been primed. Kipling's bluff Tommies, Gilbert and Sullivan's parodies of the ruling classes, and the cult of romantic heroism exemplified by the doomed Franklin expedition seeking the Northwest Passage come to mind. Against such a backdrop, Flashman's preoccupation with ...more
Aug 26, 2012 Sillyhuron rated it liked it
Once more unto the breach with Flashy, the snivelling cowardly creep & national hero/witness to history. This time, he's trapped in China during the 1860 Opium war.
The problem with this series is that Flashman gets less and less creepy as the books get on, and the history gets pushed more and more to the fore.(You can usually tell by the number of footnotes in the back). Not that the history isn't fascinating - Flashy goes headlong into the cuckoo-land of the Taiping Rebellion , when half
Carlene Cayenne
Dec 03, 2015 Carlene Cayenne rated it really liked it
George McDonald Frazer has quite the imagination. How he incorporates the history and his story is quite facinating to me. I really enjoyed this book. I have found that some of his books I can sit down and read right away and others take me longer. They are all great books but I think that maybe just the history and where the story is taking place is what makes some of those Flashman novels much more interesting to me
Jan 22, 2013 Doug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 22, 2010 Max rated it really liked it
Less Flashy and more complex winding through China's political upheaval and mammoth 19th century rebellion, Flashman's winning wang keeps him thrusting through historical events and kept alive through a combination of luck, pluck, and one more rhyming word starting with f. The Flashman books can be divided into two camps - those where Flashman's character dictates plot changes, and the others where Flashman finds himself forced, coerced, kidnapped, or hostage-cum-witness. I find the former more ...more
Robin Carter
May 07, 2012 Robin Carter rated it it was amazing
For a long time people had expounded the brilliance of the flashman and the books are damn fine to read, i don't think it needs me or anyone else to write a review saying about the high quality of the writing and characters... but for me the real brilliance comes to the fore when the book is read by the likes of Rupert Penry-Jones or Toby Stephens.
I love to listen to the Flashman books on audio format when im on holiday, the only issue i have is to make sure i dont start talking like a Victorian
Fuzzy Gerdes
Dec 28, 2011 Fuzzy Gerdes rated it really liked it
Flashman and the Dragon finds Flashman in China and mixed up in the Taiping Rebellion and the Second Opium War. I think this may be my favorite Flashman book so far. I learned a lot (not the point of these books, I'm sure, but a delightful by-product of Fraser's extensive research) and Flashman just isn't grating on my nerves the way he used to. If I was reading these over, it's possible that I would advise reading them in in-book-chronological order, rather than the order they were published, a ...more
Gerry Germond
Jan 25, 2015 Gerry Germond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 19th-century
More good fun with Flashman. This outing finds him in the Taiping Rebellion (second-most bloody war in history, according to most) and the Anglo-Franco march to Peking. Flashman is not quite his usual self here, methinks. He actually fights (out of desparation, he would respond). Otherwise he tries first to avoid battle, slings the bat, has close escapes, and rogers the girls as usual. I appreciated it because I didn't know all that much about the history and, Flashy notwithstanding, now know a ...more
Jul 23, 2011 Alanpalmer rated it it was amazing
this was the first flashman book I read and I found it truly outstanding. The Historical detail for a work of fiction is incredible but it has Flashman's typiccal Bounder take on things. Ducking danger whilst claiming glory as he gets out of one tight situation after another in what I came to discover was typical style. Although Flashman is a series, all but one of the books will stand alone and I have certainly not read the series in chronological order so you will loose nothing by starting wit ...more
Rahul Mukherjee
Feb 17, 2016 Rahul Mukherjee rated it liked it
Shelves: most-wanted
Harry Flashman in China adds a new flavour in the series. A never enjoyed another work on China of that period. His description of Summer Palace was enchanting it was as if I was there, with him by his side. I read part thrice. I wont be able forget it easily. A splendid portrayal of the character of Lord Elgin and living depiction of the world of the Taipings should be enjoyed thoroughly.
However, it could be my mistake but Harry Flashman seemed a bit brave by his earlier standards with somewhat
RS Fuster
Aug 26, 2014 RS Fuster rated it really liked it
I am still trying to figure out just how old he is now. Is he over 50 or 60.
Jun 23, 2012 Richard rated it really liked it
This is the third Flashman book I've read, and I can't get enough of them!

Every bit as politically incorrect (by modern standards) as the two Flashman books I've read before - the cowardly rogue Harry Flashman again finds himself thrown into dangerous and amusing situations, often as a result of his own skulduggery but just as often through sheer bad luck.

I love the style of George MacDonald Fraser's writing, and while I found this particular Flashman book dragged a little in places, overall I s
Vi MacDonald
Aug 21, 2016 Vi MacDonald rated it did not like it
Orientalist garbage.
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He is best known for his Flashman series of historical novels, purportedly written by Harry Flashman, a fictional coward and bully originally created by Thomas Hughes in Tom Brown's School Days. The novels are presented as "packets" of memoirs written by the nonagenarian Flashman, who looks back on his days as a hero of the British Army during the 19th century. The series begins with Flashman, and ...more
More about George MacDonald Fraser...

Other Books in the Series

Flashman Papers (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Flashman (The Flashman Papers, #1)
  • Royal Flash (The Flashman Papers, #2)
  • Flash for Freedom (The Flashman Papers #3)
  • Flashman at the Charge (Flashman Papers, #4)
  • Flashman in the Great Game (The Flashman Papers, #5)
  • Flashman's Lady (The Flashman Papers, #6)
  • Flashman and the Redskins (The Flashman Papers, #7)
  • Flashman and the Mountain of Light (The Flashman Papers, #9)
  • Flashman and the Angel of the Lord (The Flashman Papers, #10)
  • Flashman and the Tiger (The Flashman Papers, #11)

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“Elgin himself looked ten years younger, now that he’d cast the die, but I thought exuberance had got the better of him when he strode into the saloon later, threw The Origin of Species on the table and announced:
"It’s very original, no doubt, but not for a hot evening. What I need is some trollop."
I couldn’t believe my ears, and him a church-goer, too. "Well, my lord, I dunno,” says I. "Tientsin ain’t much of a place, but I’ll see what I can drum up —"
"Michel’s been reading Doctor Thorne since Taku," cried he. "He must have finished it by now, surely! Ask him, Flashman, will you?" So I did, and had my ignorance, enlightened.”
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