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The Reavers

3.03  ·  Rating Details ·  401 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
After twelve gloriously scandalous Flashman novels, the incomparable George MacDonald Fraser gives us a totally hilarious tale of derring-do from a different era.

It's the turn of the seventeenth century (sort of) in the wild Borderlands of Scotland. The irresistible Lady Godiva Dacre and her "chocolate-box pretty" companion Mistress Kylie Delishe find themselves caught be
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 7th 2009 by Knopf (first published October 1st 2007)
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Jan 27, 2009 Sara rated it did not like it
I'm afraid I can't finish this. It feels like I'm slogging through just for the sake of finishing, and I'm trying not to do that any more. The way the anachronisms are inserted is really annoying to me. I can like anachronisms if they're handled differently, like in steampunk... where there's logic to what's being included. This throws in random things just to be funny and random.

I'm also not enjoying the plot. I don't really care about any of the characters and I can't seem to recall what's goi
Barbara Roden
Feb 14, 2009 Barbara Roden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bittersweet read, as it's the last new fiction title I shall ever read by the inimitable Mr. Fraser. I had started reading it shortly after hearing of his death in January 2008, and had to put it aside; the time wasn't right. However, on a sunny August day at the cabin it was the perfect read, and if not up to the best of the Flashman books, or that wonderful romp The Pyrates, it's still vintage Fraser: funny, bawdy, and loving. Farewell, Mr. Fraser.
May 21, 2008 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Setting: the border between Scotland and England in the 16th century. Tone: complete silliness. It's like reading Monty Python, where the plot is merely a prop for more bizarre fun.
Ruediger Landmann
Jan 31, 2011 Ruediger Landmann rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on
It takes a lot for me to abandon a book, and even more for me to abandon a book by an author I like. Unfortunately, I just cannot keep going with this.

The humour in George MacDonald Fraser's "Flashman Papers" comes from well-constructed plots and characters. The humour in "The Reavers" derives from iconoclasm and deliberate anachronism, which I found enormously tedious. The following paragraph is typical; the setting is early 16th century Scotland:

Their mouths parted with a long, lingering sque
Jun 25, 2008 Brittany rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People who are familiar with GMF's 'style' of writing
Recommended to Brittany by: Harper Collins
How I Came To Read This Book: Harper Collins sent it to me, which makes it the worst HC book I've read unfortunately.

The Plot: Ugh...from what I can remember, there is a princess/heiress/socialite type named Lady Dacre who is travelling along to a new palace or something with her ditzy school chum Kylie. Foiling their plans however, is a plot to capture the current King of Scotland and replacing him with a Spanish imposter, as well as the magical lips of a notorious jewel thief. The book itself
Oct 12, 2008 Mike rated it it was amazing
What a zany tour de force! Two lovely ladies, a Scotsman, an Englishman, bands of reivers, King James of Scotland, a wizard, and an amorous Amazon pygmy with a blowgun with an eclectic diet are involved in a Spanish plot to kidnap King James (Operation Jimsnatch) somewhere along the Scottish border.

The book abounds in historical fact as well as a continuous blatant stream of anachronisms and inconsistencies. At one point he mentions blooming flowers and then, as an aside (since the story was tak
Jul 27, 2010 Bluenose rated it did not like it
The blurbs on the back cover and Fraser’s own introduction forewarn the reader of the nature of this story – “He admits [nay, insists:] that it’s a crazy story for readers who love fun for its own sake” – so we cannot say that we wasted our time reading it unknowingly. But it’s George Macdonald Fraser ferchrissakes – how bad can it be? Pretty bad, as it turns out. Luckily it was only $5.99 at Munro’s.

Fraser’s Flashman books are one of my favourite series even if they got a little contrived and
Aug 12, 2008 Nick rated it did not like it
George Macdonald Fraser is one of those unbelievably prolific authors who make it look easy (and make me tired). I've treasured his Flashman books -- all 12 of them. If you want a painless way to bone up on your Victorian era history, Flashman is the funniest take on the Victorian period you'll ever find -- and all the history is punctiliously accurate.
Fraser just passed away, leaving The Reavers for his devoted fans as a gift from beyond.
Unfortunately, it's appalling. It's one of those spoofs
Khairul H.
Nov 07, 2007 Khairul H. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: action-adventure
Huge disappointment. Bought this book because I love GMF's Flashman books and thought that this one would have the same humour and adventure. I was wrong.

GMF freely admits that this book "is nonsense" and is meant to be a rebuke "to a generation who has forgotten about fun". And his idea of fun, apparently, is to fill the book with anachronisms.

Anachronistic references are fine (Shakespeare did it and look where it got him) but when every other sentence has a 20th or 21st century nod to it and
Samm Seals
Feb 08, 2011 Samm Seals rated it did not like it
the cover was enticing. I really looked forward to a period piece with humor and entertainment.
what a let down. didn't suit my sense of humor what so ever!!! I read the jacket front and back then was going forward with great anticipation.
the forward was a good example of what followed. it was an ego trip of the biggest kind. then I started the story and by the time I had slogged through the first two chapters I put it down and I won't give it to anyone I like.
I realize the author was just havi
Jun 09, 2008 Zelda rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: eh, no one
Maybe the Flashman books are better, but the Reaver I had to abandon as unreadable. I felt like I was reading the comics page with a large loud person reading over my shoulder, laughing at high volume and thumping my back-- with four arms. Really, if it's funny, i'll laugh on my own, thank you.
I was harshly disappointed because McDonald's chosen weapons of accidental anachronism and incorrect contemporary speech and dialect are the hidden gems of historical romances and are splittingly funny. O
Greg Deane
Oct 26, 2012 Greg Deane rated it did not like it
Apparently George MacDonald Fraser died shortly after writing this nonsense. He would have safeguarded his name better by dying before he wrote it. The book is full of irritating anachronisms like some silly, adolescent pretension at parody. He pretends to take umbrage at pedants who complain that Macbeth was not played on stage before 1610 by pointing to some obscure performance of 1590; but ridiculously asserts that that the same highwayman who robbed Oliver Cromwell also robbed Cardinal Riche ...more
May 30, 2008 Paul rated it liked it
First---what a beautiful cover by John Hendrix. It drew me in despite sound warnings from a couple of friends.

Now, moving on from judging a book by its cover---

I seem to be in a spurt of reading books that don't know when to stop. This is another in that line; a novel that would have been excellent at 150 pages, or well done at 175 pages. Unfortunately, it's more than 250 pages, and the humor (and it IS humorous) gets recycled and stretched far past the breaking point.

If Fraser hadn't been dyi
Jun 21, 2014 George rated it did not like it
This book was so bad I could not finish it. In truth, I didn't get past page 15. I only read that far because I had read three of Fraser's Flashman series and liked them enough that I thought the author deserved my best effort. It was a wasted effort.
Sep 15, 2015 Marfita rated it it was ok
Shelves: not-funny-enough
I didn't comment on this as I went along because I'd never finish it if I had to stop every few lines.
Fraser has written a humorous adventure yarn in a meta style - commenting on itself, alternating between period and contemporary references. There is no attempt to make a point, just to amuse.
There is a plot to kidnap James VI of Scotland (soon to be James I of England when Elizabeth finally shuffles off her mortal coil) and replace him with a Spanish doppelganger (in a sort of pasodoble?) putti
Jul 28, 2011 Strey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This month's UKBC challenge was to read something of the 'humour/comedy' genre. As George Macdonald-Fraser is one of my favourite authors and has written a small number of books that fit this, I plucked "The Reavers" from the shelf...

Firstly, this is definitely not a "Flashman" novel. That said it employs a similar turn of language & ironic tone, but without the personal & historic depth achieved therein. In fact it is almost like reading what could well have been the 'out takes' & o
Julie Failla Earhart
Apr 07, 2009 Julie Failla Earhart rated it did not like it
Every book has its reader; the person who loves its style, subject, plot, and message. After I read the Foreword and the first chapter/section and skimmed the remaining two hundred-fifty pages , of the late George MacDonald Fraser’s last novel, The Reavers, I quickly realized that the book was not written with me in mind.
If I was giving stars for well written, I could give this book five stars. I’ve been trained to know writing, and I can tell you, dear reader, that The Reavers is well written.
Jennifer (JC-S)
May 01, 2010 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it liked it
‘It was a dark and stormy night in Elizabethan England ...’

Spoiled, arrogant, filthy rich and breathtakingly beautiful, the young Lady Godiva Dacre is exiled from the court of Good Queen Bess [who can’t abide red-haired competition:] to her lonely estate in distant Cumberland. Poor Godiva. The turbulent Scottish border is no safe place for an Elizabethan heiress: ruthless reivers; black-mailing ruffians; fiendish Spanish plotters intent on regime change. What’s a girl to do? She has no-one but K
Ted Henkle
Feb 22, 2014 Ted Henkle rated it liked it
Another silly, zany book by George MacDonald Fraser. Cut from the same cloth as The Pyrates, this is a story of madcap mayhem along the English-Scottish border in the 16th Century: The hero teams up with a haughty noble lass, her sultry lady-in-waiting and a notorious highwayman in attempt to thwart a dastardly plot by Spanish agents to usurp the Scottish throne.

Like The Pyrates, the action and humor were a joy to read, but the author over did it with anachronisms. So I'm giving this one the sa
Jun 22, 2009 Woodge rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fraser fans; silly people; large breasted typists in the background
Fraser is best known for his series of Flashman novels. But this one is a silly stand-alone. In fact, the first sentence of his foreward to the book is: "This book is nonsense." Which means that basically, he just wrote it for fun and he's not hewing closely to the facts of the time period he set it in (Elizabethan England, somewhere around 159-, Fraser is willfully vague). The characters frequently spout anachronisms and it's really just all done for laughs. If you're familiar with Fraser's boo ...more
Jan 26, 2012 Ashley rated it liked it
A light-hearted and rambunctious novel of intrigue on the Scottish border in the late 16th century. The Reavers is a wordy and entertainingly written story of a plot to replace the Scottish king with an impostor and how our heroes (a rival pair of secret agents and two lovely noble ladies) get caught in the midst of it. I had been looking forward to reading this for a number of months, as it looked to be an entertaining pastime, which it was, to some extent. It did feature fun (if cartoonish) ch ...more
Joseph Sellors
Feb 16, 2013 Joseph Sellors rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a HUGE fan of George MacDonald Fraser, and I will readily admit that this is far, far from his finest work, yet it is a credit to the man that I would still score it as highly as 4 stars.

As Fraser says in the introduction 'this book is nonsense'. The craziness of the plot is beaten only by the insanity of the characters and yet, despite this, scratch under the surface and the same Flashman style that made Fraser his name still shines through, with the humour and excellent knowledge of the
Nov 29, 2011 Choccygrl rated it did not like it
Three chapters in and I can read no more.

I can appreciate the cleverness of historical facts coupled with the *nudge-nudge I'm inserting a pop culture reference here* but reading this book was like wading through syrup. There were just too many asides and winks which stopped the flow of the narrative dead .

I know the people who gave this five stars will claim that I'm just not *clever* enough for this book, that I didn't understand it. In reality I have more important things to do with my life t
Mar 30, 2011 J. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reading this was rather like having Dorothy Dunnett come to your house, get drunk, and dance a meringue across your living room with a lampshade on her head. You know she was having fun but your rather not have seen it. I don't another author that could pack every sentence with so much that is authentic and so much that is anachronistic as GMF does in this book. But it just stops any semblance of a plot that could be interesting dead, dead, dead. We all love GMF stories with their wink and a nud ...more
Sep 16, 2010 Graham rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, humour
This is the type of book you have to be in the right mood to read.

I wasn't.

It's an anachronistic, anything-goes, extremely broad comedy, laced with modern references and humour, a burlesque in every sense of the word. It's crazed, nonsensical, good natured and dizzying all in equal measure, but the sheer anarchic nature of the writing is enough to put off most readers.

I read through half of it and enjoyed what I read before deciding to settle on a more routine read. It's not often I abandon a bo
Oct 30, 2008 Rosemary rated it liked it
I wish Fraser's last book blew me away like his many Flashman titles. But this is more in the style of Pyrates (a fun read but not my absolute favorite).

But still more dash, derring-do, heaving chests (male and female), villainy, and sheer silly fun with the English language than you'll find in 99% of the fiction published this year.

And if you've never read the great Fraser, do yourself a favor and find Royal Flash, the best Prisoner of Zenda send-up ever written. Or track down a copy of The Ge
Mar 10, 2011 noodle rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who don't take their swashbuckling too deadly seriously
Recommended to noodle by: random purchase
This book was just plain fun. It wasn't really what I was expecting when I started -- what I thought I should expect from a guy who wrote Octopussy, I don't know -- but it made me want to pick up some of his other stuff. The names of the characters, the plot, the spelling in accents, the constant bickering, all of this added up to me cracking a grin and sniggering at least once every time I opened the book.

If you need a break from nonfiction or a relief from heavy drama, this is your book. Oh ma
Scott Miles
Aug 15, 2014 Scott Miles rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just couldn't get into it as this story was just WAY too silly. I guess that's the point and it is supposed to be "fun" but it didnt work for me. I got about half way through before I decided that was enough. I'm not giving up on Fraser though, because the Flashman series still rates as the best. I think I will read his memoir of WWII "Quartered Safe Out Here" next as that seems to be universally acclaimed.
Jansen Wee
Aug 03, 2011 Jansen Wee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marvelously and hilariously nonsensical. And irreverently anachronistic. Brilliantly conceived and delivered. To the uninitiated, and nit-picking types, it may appear to be a silly and shallow novel. Perhaps it is. But it takes a whole lot of knowledge in culture, history and genres, in both depth and scope, to really spot ALL the incongruence, and fully appreciate the humour. True British humour.
Nov 08, 2008 Brenda rated it liked it
The author did warn "this book is nonsense", and that it is. What an unusual hand at writing. At times I found the story difficult to follow. separating the back stage from on-stage. His characters are enjoyable at any rate. His writing is more of a playwright and in his odd form of Shakesperean-Xena campiness I think I would find this novel more entertaining to see it performed live at a small local venue. I felt like I was reading a script.
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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
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