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Royal Flash (Flashman Papers #2)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  3,621 ratings  ·  153 reviews
In Volume II of the Flashman Papers, Flashman tangles with femme fatale Lola Montez and the dastardly Otto Von Bismarck in a battle of wits which will decide the destiny of a continent.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 4th 2005 by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (first published 1970)
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Best Historical Mystery
156th out of 1,084 books — 2,926 voters
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Best Victorian Historical Fiction Set In Britain
49th out of 178 books — 463 voters

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Community Reviews

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Last week I finally got around to reading Les Trois Mousquetaires, and this week, more or less by accident, I read Royal Flash. They're both excellent historical thrillers, and it's interesting to compare them. MacDonald Fraser is following very much in Dumas's footsteps. He takes real historical events from the mid-19th century, and recasts them so that history is no longer an inevitable unfolding of grand themes, but rather a haphazard collection of accidents, more often than not turning on wh ...more
Evan Leach
I didn’t like Royal Flash quite as much as the first book in the series, probably because this is the lone Flashman novel set in a fictional location (instead of throwing Flashy directly into real-world events). The Flashman books work (at least for me) on three different levels: there’s the adventure, the humor, and the historical fiction. The third element is a bit lacking due to the make-believe setting Flashman spends much of the book running around in. That doesn’t mean that there are no hi ...more
J.G. Keely
For you poor folks who have never heard of the Flashman series, they tell the story of your classic Victorian adventurer, a man who travels through many lands, making his way by his wits and his skill and always being drawn into the dangers of politics, secret plots, and local politics. But the hero of these stories comes with a twist: he's an awful cad who lies, cheats, and steals his way through the world, a coward who only survives by the skin of his teeth, but who pretends the role of the br ...more
Apr 28, 2015 Nate marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
How the White Christ is this book so boring? It's Flashman! I'll eventually return to this one because I wanna read the future volumes and I'm a completist, but fuck...
It took me a long while to get into Royal Flash. It's written from the perspective of Harry Flashman, a cowardly, selfish, mysoginistic bully who is perfectly happy to take credit for anything he hasn't earned and driven largely by his lust. A classic anti-hero and not an easy character for me to relate to at all.

However it was highly recommended and I enjoyed the way the tawdry historical references (of the sort you never find in school history books) were woven so intrinsically into the story,
Flashman's character is becoming more cohesive in this book. I felt that in the 1st book Fraser didn't quite know how to handle his creation, and Flashman fluctuated between being a cad and an outright unlikeable bastard. This time he's a coward, sure, and a bully if he sees the chance, and of course if you put a skirt on a hay bale then he'd probably sleep with it, but he still never dips below likeable scoundrel.

A few slow points where Fraser dips a bit too far into the history aspect, but mu
Julie Johnson
I have read a number of Flashman books before this one and usually in a series you get ones that are stellar and ones that just don't have that same spark.

I felt so-so about this one. It just didn't seem to have the same sparkle.

My forever favourite is still Flashman at the Charge. It was also the first one I ever read, and it was a revelation.

I adore the Flashman character even when I dislike him.

He is a character I at once love/hate. He's such a product of his age (Victorian), and has all the
Ian Mapp
Of course, you know what you are going to get in series books like this. An exact replica but set in a different location.

Flashman is back from the afgan war a hero. In an escape from a london whorehouse, he take refuge in a police chase by hiding in the carriage of Lola Montez - who is entertaining Otto Von Bismark. You can guess what happens here.

Otto and Flashy meet up again, where flashy gets his revenge on him by organising an exhibition bout against a top puglist and his affair with Lola b
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in July 1999.

The second of Fraser's Flashman series, Royal Flash is a spoof on Anthony Hope's classic The Prisoner of Zenda. It keeps fairly faithfully to the plot of Hope's novel, with the central part falling to the cowardly Flashman rather than the gallant Rudolf Rassendyll.

The major change made by Fraser is the motivation for the escapade. Flashman has no liking for adventure, and it requires both blackmail and force to get him to imitate Prince Carl Gust
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Celebrated cavalry officer, Harry Flashman is caught with his trousers down in a London club. Read by Iain Cuthbertson.

Fuzzy Gerdes
I had harsh words for the character of Flashman after I read the first book in George MacDonald Fraser's series. But there was something that compelled me to seek out more of his (mis)adventures and so I picked up Royal Flash from the library. Maybe it's that the novel is a pastiche of one of my childhood favorites, The Prisoner of Zenda, or that Flashman is less a victim of his own worst instincts than of the machinations of others. Regardless, I found him less loathsome and more the likable (t ...more
Harry Flashman is still rotten to the core but takes you on quite a trip as he carouses his way through England and Europe. Several laugh out loud moments as he impersonates a Danish prince on his wedding night (the prince's, not Flashman's) and tries to escape the clutches of Bismarck. Especially entertaining was his description of fox hunting and his "education" in how to pull off an impressive scam.

My favorite lines are:

(speaking of Bismarck)

"I also learned that he had a wife in the capital
Robin Carter
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.
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 cad whilst going
We had moved here and this proved topical. It was a humid summer and the house was gradually coming together. I'd come home from work and then attend to some task, usually making quite the mess. I lack facility in such matters. I read a number of story collections that summer, I also read a Flashman. The novel's layered plot I found engaging, though not the execution thereof. Who can complain about a protagonist whose favorite verb is roger? Sure, the politics are incredibly reactionary and the ...more
Christian Schwoerke
This is the second in the series of Flashman novels I’ve read, and I’m in the middle of the third (Flash for Freedom). These stories are adolescent in terms of the action involved—like boys’ adventure novels—but are clever, witty, irreverent, and historically informative. It’s the tidbits of historical information about major and minor figures, etymologies, customs, etc. that enliven the already engaging narrative. And it’s the narrative that makes the story, since it’s a first-person account of ...more
Royal Flash is a interpretation, along despicable Flashy lines, of Anthony Hawkins' The Prisoner of Zenda. Fraser, through Flashman, even goes so far as to argue that Hawkins got his idea for Zenda from Flashman's adventure in Germany with Bismarck and his toadies.

The Second volume in the series still has the same fresh and cowardly hero of Flashman up to no good as usual, but the action is not quite as ready as in the first book--Flashman--and the essential plot was the same as the
First of all, I love the dedication ... “To Ronald Coleman, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power …”.. It's the main character all rolled up into one! So apropos of Harry Flashman.

George MacDonald Fraser plays it straight. He picks up Flashman's "papers" (memoirs) in the 1840's and corrects the historical appraisal of celebrities’ character and actions. It’s just a fun read. Harry – the cad – is so blasé about the rewards of cowardice and lying! The language – Elizabethan era slang – a
Muthuprakash Ravindran
Reading the 4th book in the list (chronologically) I am yet to get tired of Flashman. Here he lands in the midst of the 1848 revolutions and becomes a pawn in the hands of the young Otto Bismarck, who has just embarked on his quest for an unified Germany. Flashman makes an enemy out of him while in England and Bismarck repays him by calling him to Prussia (through Lola Montez, who seems to be a remarkable lady in the mold of Flashman himself) and put him in a la 'Prisoner of Zenda' situation. Ex ...more
Something about reading about Flashy running around Eastern Europe, drinking and carrying on, can be a little dangerous; particularly when you are running around Eastern Europe. This is another wonderful Flashman book, our hero may be without his whiskers but that does not stop him from romping with chambermaids, acting the cad and behaving very badly in the face of danger.
Henrik Schunk
The second Flashman novel is slightly better than the first, at least in my humble opinion. Focusing in more personal affairs and some skullduggery instead of losing itself in macropolitical dabbling, Royal Flash is more of a pulp-spy novel and good fun.
John S
Read any of the Flashman series if you enjoy a great read of fiction based upon fact. GM Fraser is the best, he often has you holding your gut you're laughing so hard.

Certainly the best series I've ever had th epleasure of reading.

this one was a movie and the book is better. read it. love the rascal that is Harry Flashman! hard to put down or forget.
Carey Combe
Thank you Bettie - loving this!
What fun this was, loved the self deprecation and humour of Flashman
Will Herman
I guess you should never read a book series in order and I'm sure I would have like the book a little more if I had left some time after reading the first in the series. Still, the story remains great, the characters wonderful and Flashman is as much of a coward and cad as ever. In this book, he spends most of his time gallivanting around London basking in his celebrated return from the war in Afghanistan (the "first" Afghanistan war). Eventually he meets some people, including Otto von Bismark ...more
Cat {Wild Night In}
There are two things that make historical fiction a pleasure to read. Firstly, it is the amount of research that's gone into it and all of the wonderful details, idioms and the (hopefully not so) occasional reference to events or people from that period. Secondly, it is the larger-than-life characters that fill the genre and make you wish you could hop back in time (and to a parallel universe where said characters were real) and hang out with them.

Royal Flash ticks both of these boxes with aplom
George MacDonald Fraser picks up in “Royal Flash” where he left off in “Flashman”. Fraser artfully blends historical figures into his stories along with a fictional character he stole, um, I mean pays homage to, in this delightful series. After covering the years 1839 – 1842 and his service in the first Anglo-Afghan War, “Royal Flash” cover 1842 – 1843 and then 1847 – 1848 in this second installment of “The Flashman Papers”.

Fraser inserts Otto von Bismarck as Flashman’s major nemesis in this sto
Oh Flashy.

Fraser's Flashman books have quite a simple concept: it's based in the real world and in real history. When you introduce the character of Flashman: how can he go about messing it up?

This Flashman is based in a fictional country, however. The only Flashman to do so.

Once again Flashman is at his best and thankfully moves on from the rape incident in the first novel. I believe Fraser learned from that mistake and learned more about the limits of his own creation.

The Flashman is this no
In this sequel, Harry Flashman is lulled into a drama of espionage and political maneuverings by, of
course, a woman. Said woman is Lola Montez, doxy about town and paramour to princes and politicos; and the political plotter is none other than Otto von Bismarck. This is one of the least realistic of the series, as the reader is given to understand that Flashman is the perfect double of Prince Carl Gustaf of Denmark.

Fraser escapes trying his audience’s credulity with this premise by, first and fo
Natacha Martins
"Royal Flash" é o volume que dá continuação à vida inacreditável de Flashman, uma figura mítica do século XIX londrino. Flashman é um cobarde convicto que, vítima de uma sucessão de mal-entendidos acaba por regressar a casa, depois de combater na guerra do Afeganistão, como um herói nacional, com direito a ser recebido pela rainha e tudo. :) É desta forma que acaba o primeiro volume de memórias de Flashman, intitulado "Flashman, A Odisseia de Um Cobarde" escrito pelo próprio aos oitenta e muitos ...more
June Louise
"So when I say that my being rude to a certain foreigner altered the course of European history, it is a considered judgement. If I had dreamed for a moment how important that man was going to be, I'd have been as civil as the devil to him. But in my youth and ignorance I imagined that he was one of those to whom I could be rude with impunity - servants, tarts, bagmen, shopkeepers, and foreigners - and so I gave my unpleasant tongue free rein. In the long run it nearly cost me my neck, quite apa ...more
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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)
  • 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 Dragon (The Flashman Papers, #8)
  • 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)
Flashman (The Flashman Papers, #1) Flashman at the Charge (Flashman Papers, #4) Flash for Freedom! (The Flashman Papers, #3) Flashman in the Great Game (The Flashman Papers, #5) Flashman's Lady (The Flashman Papers, #6)

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“I was sufficiently recovered from my nervous condition – or else the booze was beginning to work – to be able to discuss with Rudi the merits of checked or striped trousers, which had been the great debate among the London nobs that year. I was a check-er myself, having the height and leg for it, but Rudi thought they looked bumpkinish, which only shows what damned queer taste they had in Austria in those days. Of course, if you’ll put up with Metternich you’ll put up with anything.” 4 likes
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