Originally published on my blog here
in September 1999.
This is the seventh Flashman book, though the events it describes follow on directly from the third, Flash for Freedom!
In fact, Fraser slightly alters the ending of the earlier book so that Flashman doesn't actually get so far as on board a boat returning to England after his adventures with the Underground Railroad. Instead, he is catapulted into a journey across the West with the 'Forty-Niners, on their way to the California goldrush.
The second half of the novel is about Flashman's return twenty six years later, on what starts as a tourist trip for the benefit of his wife Elspeth and ends with his terrified participation in Custer's defeat at the Little Bighorn.
The book generally could be described as typical Flashman. The first part, however, is probably my least favourite of all the Flashman stories; he seems more unpleasant and less charming than usual. As usual, the background has been carefully researched by Fraser, and he skilfully manoeuvres Flashy in and out of desperate scrapes.