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The Reavers

2.98 of 5 stars 2.98  ·  rating details  ·  346 ratings  ·  69 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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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
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.
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.
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
Gerhardt Himmelmann
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
Nov 10, 2008 Brittany rated it 1 of 5 stars
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
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
Khairul H.
Nov 10, 2007 Khairul H. rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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
Nov 16, 2008 Zelda rated it 1 of 5 stars
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
Samm Seals
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
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
Greg Deane
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
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
Ted Henkle
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
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.
Julie Failla Earhart
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.
Jul 06, 2009 Woodge rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘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
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
Jessi Zeidler
I will forever be grateful that I judged this book by it's cover. I'd never heard of George MacDonald Fraser when I saw it on a book sale shelf for $1. I was being rushed - I didn't even have time to read the flap, but the cover looked like fun.

It immediately became one of my favorite books. Colorful, action-packed, and absolutely hilarious, "The Reavers" has become a book I read at least once a year, in lieu of a never-read list numbering in the hundreds.

Joseph Sellors
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
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
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
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
Hilarious Elizabethan caper in the style of Princess Bride
May 31, 2011 noodle rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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, 2014 Peter added it
I had a fun romp through this Monty Python/"A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum"-esque novel! Written so cleverly, I would love to see a stage or movie version of this one made (maybe made a little more suitable for all audiences since the costuming would leave some problems). Fraser has written the screenplays for The Three Musketeers and Octopussy, and that was what I felt like I was reading in this story. I am not used to historical fiction being so funny!
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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...
Flashman (The Flashman Papers, #1) Royal Flash (The Flashman Papers, #2) Flashman at the Charge (Flashman Papers, #4) Flash for Freedom (The Flashman Papers #3) Flashman in the Great Game (The Flashman Papers, #5)

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