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Flashman in the Great Game (Flashman Papers #5)

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  3,134 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Flashy's back in his raunchiest romp yet. Victiorian England's most notorious swashbuckling student is wrenched from his typical, pleasurable contemplation of indecent intentions and thrust headfirst into the middle of an Indian mutiny as a secret agent extraordinaire. Pity the insatiable Flash as he bumbles, cowers, and sidesteps his way around Russian spies, thug strangl ...more
Paperback, 393 pages
Published February 6th 2006 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1975)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jane Jago
Nov 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Flashy just gets worse. Or better. Depending on your point of view.

Okay it's about as far from PC as you can get. And if that is going to bother you give the Flashman oeuvre a miss. But you will be missing a real laugh out loud treat.

Humour underpinned with scholarship. It's a mixture I find irresistible.
Evan Leach
The fifth Flashman novel takes place from 1856-58, and sends our “hero” back to where his career began: India. Poor Flashy is sent to investigate (and suppress) grumbling among the native ranks, but ends up smack dab in the middle of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. If you’ve made it this far into the series, chances are you are a fellow Flashman fanatic, so I won’t waste time preaching to the converted. I am happy to report that readers who enjoyed the first four books will not be disappointed.

Muthuprakash Ravindran
It is difficult to classify this one in the 'Flashman' series. On the one side, this is a book in which Flashman seems more human what with his rational look into the native soldier's grievances and falling in love with a Rani (which is very unusual) and the unfolding of events during that grim years of 1857, 'Flashman in the Great game' seems a little out of place with all the other bawdy adventures of Flashman.

Nonetheless, it is a must read as Fraser tries to balance the view of the British to
Andrew Ward begins his great study of the Cawnpore massacre, Our Bones Are Scattered, with the following observation: __To write about the British in India is to ask what they were doing there.__

Fraser was a satirist, but he was also an empiricist. He never asks this fundamental question, and yes, this is a burlesque, but it is a burlesque of actual history.

Paradoxically, I recommend this book to others while personally struggling with its shortcomings. Why? Well, it is a thundering good read wh
Jamie Collins
Sometimes I'm annoyed at the contrivance of inserting a fictional character into famous historical events, but with Flashman it works very well. I'm totally willing to believe that he got caught up in the 1857 Indian Mutiny (or India's First War of Independence, depending on your point of view) and lived to tell the tale - including surviving the Siege of Cawnpore and subsequent massacre.

Flashy is just as arrogant, cowardly and lecherous as ever; and just as wry an observer of human nature. The
Anthony Ryan
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My personal favourite outing for George McDonald Fraser's eponymous cad pitches the one time bully of Tom Brown's School Days into the maelstrom of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (the Victorians preferred to call it a Mutiny because it sounded nicer). Flashman is as lacivious and cowardly as ever but finds himself repeatedly forced to fight for his life amid the unfolding carnage. Fraser proves himself as much a master of battle scenes as he is of comedy and also manages the difficult trick of mai ...more
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Great Game usually refers to jockeying between the Russians and the British for control of Afghanistan and other parts of Central Asia. While that's a factor in Fraser's fifth outing with Flashman, the action and historical detail of the book center more around the Sepoy Rebellion, in which terrible atrocities were committed by both the Indians and the British colonialists.

Flashman describes them all. As usual, footnotes provide entertaining and illuminating commentary on the historical accu
Ian Mapp
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
No need to change a winning technique - same style is used. Starts with Flashman in the UK getting his assignment - this time whilst in Queen Victoria's company at Balmoral and then heading off to a key event in the 19 Century - getting involved in the all the key action. The author uses the process to entertain and educate and it works wonderfully.

Initially, this is Flashy sent to India in a counter intelligence position as his old foe from the last book - Nicholas Ignatieff - is agitating the
Christopher Saunders
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Fifth entry in the series sees Flashy mixed up in the Indian Mutiny, from romancing a ravishing Rani to matching wits with a crafty Russian spy, all the while avoiding murderous Sepoys and rampaging English troops. This is easily the most serious installment, with very graphic and harrowing descriptions of violence and atrocities on both sides of the Mutiny; even Flashman is compelled to act heroic and noble in spots. Lots of memorable set-pieces (especially Flashman's trip to Balmoral) but the ...more
Raegan Butcher
Apr 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs & war nerds
Another ripping adventure yarn featuring Harry Flashman, this time on hand to experience the worst of the Sepoy Rebellion in India.
G. M. Fraser's Flashman in the Great Game is probably, to date, the best in the series.

Here Flashman has been caught up in the 1857 Indian Mutiny, as it is popularly referred as.

There are moments of Flashman's loathsome, but endearing, humor, for the most part, however, the brutality of the Mutiny, on both sides, is front and center. Many will cringe at the barbarity but Mr. Fraser has attempted to stay as honest and insightful as is humanly possible when dealing with such a contentious topic.
Ben Hinum
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book covers the horrors of the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny in India. At the time, India was under the control of the East India Company of Britain. The company ruled the land by using indigenous soldiers -- called Sepoys -- under the direction of British officers. The British fooled themselves into thinking that the Sepoys were loyal to their white officers and the queen, when in fact both Hindu and Muslim soldiers hated the foreign intruders and their attempts to Christianize them. Prime Minister Pa ...more
Rick Brindle
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Another excellent Flashman installment. This time, Flashy has been sent to investigate mysterious goings on back in India. Of course, he tries to get out of it, but if he did that, there wouldn't be a story. Cue the arrival of Count Ignatief and lots of danger that only Flashy can get himself into, along with various beautiful women who he shouldn't really end up in bed with, but of course does. As the Indian Mutiny hots up, Flash gets into all sorts of scrapes, and as usual GMF's historical kno ...more
There are historical novels, which are so good that they appear to recreate historical events (e.g. Bernard Cornwell) and history written so well that it reads like a novel (e.g. Prescott and more recently, Alistair Horne). This book by George Macdonald Fraser, “Flashman in The Great Game” falls uncomfortably, rather too uncomfortably, somewhere in between these extremes.

The device used in this book is to present it as a volume of the fictional Flashman’s memoirs, edited and annotated by the aut
Nov 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: flashman
I think this Flashman book almost replaced Flashman at the Charge as my favorite Flashman book for surprising reasons. I think that Flashman at the Charge was definately funnier. Flashman in the Great Game is peppered with the usual hilarity, however the tone of the novel is much more sentimental and reverent towards the historical experience. The Sepoy Mutiny was horrid and awful atrocities were committed on both sides. Flashman spends most of the novel disguised as a "native badmash of unsavou ...more
I'm a big fan of the Flashman series. Fun, absurd, and with a sharp eye toward historical detail, George MacDonald Fraser always manages to capture the sense and hypocrisy of the Victorian age. And the author does a very deft job of inserting Flashman into some of the greatest military disasters of the 19th century without really distorting the underlying historical reality. This one focuses on the so-called Indian Mutiny -- a brutal 1857 revolt against British rule in India that is little known ...more
Ruediger Landmann
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
This time it's Flashman's account of the Indian Mutiny of 1857. This has been one of my favourite instalments in the series yet; very well paced and balanced. Also, like Fraser at his best, the writing is vivid and energetic -- the description of the Siege of Cawnpore will stay with me a long time. As usual, educational as well. Reading this sent me off checking some of the historical facts, especially those around the siege, which I discovered to be horrifyingly accurate. Left me wanting to rea ...more
This continues to suffer from what bothered me in the last installment in the series - less interesting characterization which also leads to less interesting poltics - thus leaving a somewhat disjointed pulpy historical (albeit meticulously so) adventure book. That said, there are some moments of extremely good, distubring writing and atmosphere with the various minor characters and situations Flashman comes across in his passage through the Indian Mutiny. (The main female character is a little ...more
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one deals with the great mutiny in india in 1857/58 and the mysterious and alluring maharani of jhansi, a leader of the mutiny. This is a great series. And the obnoxiousness of Flashman as a character is, I think, not only exaggerated (he's really not that bad) but it also seems to let Fraser make some definite criticisms by comparison of English culture in the 19th century and how ALL englishmen treated women and foreigners.
Stephen Richter
Feb 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, Harry Flashman's falsely acquired reputation send him off for a diplomatic mission to Colonial India. A Russian foil, the Great India Uprising and a beautiful Indian princess await him. On the plus side, the Flashman got to romp with the princess, on the bad side, the Flashman got the rack, the pit and a few new scars. The best one of the series so far.
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, 20th-century
I'm loving these books because I'm learning much about Victorian history, and many of the figures after which many Melbourne streets are named. I knew little of the Indian Mutiny - it's brutal and fascinating. And Flashy as always, self-deprecating, hilarious, and rogering many ladies.
Oct 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vicki Cline
This was a rather unpleasant adventure and not amusing, as most Flashman books are. He's been sent to India to discover if Russia is planning to help India break with Great Britain. He woos a beautiful maharani and goes in disguise as an Indian. My dislike is for the gruesomeness of what happened in the 1857 Indian Mutiny. Many English civilians were slaughtered, including women and children, and there's a bit too much description of that. I've liked the previous books but this was too grim.
Andrew Weitzel
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Flashman never disappoints, even if this novel is much darker than the others. I suppose that can be excused considering the historical event it's based on. Our "hero" is even affected, finding himself doing some very un-Flashy-like things, like falling in love and granting clemency. Still funny and exciting, though.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Series - not for the easily offended.
James Coffey
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a great historical fiction.
Eva Kristin
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
As this is the fifth book in the series, it’s pretty obvious that I like it. By now, I know what to expect when I pick up one of George M. Frasier’s Flashman-books; an exciting and true story from the history of the British Empire, with the most likable unlikable character I’ve ever come across in fiction.

Except this time something was a little different. Is Harry Flashman going soft? I don’t know what I think about that. He still has his one commendable trait though; he only falls for the stron
Keith Thompson
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Great Game" is the ultimate Flashman novel, and the Flashman books are the ultimate historical series. My favorite novel of all time. However, if you haven't read any Flashmans before, don't start with this one. Though it's capable of standing on its own, it IS something of a sequel to the previous book "Flashman at the Charge" (winner of Playboy's Fiction of the Year Award in 1974). Begin at the beginning with with the first two books, "Flashman" and "Royal Flash", as they set the tone for all ...more
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Peter Coomber
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Flashman series of novels are outstanding: very funny, and exciting 'ripping yarns'. The dialogue and action is incredibly well-written and you can't help wanting the main character, Harry Flashman, to succeed, despite him being a despicable character: a racist, a snob, a bully, etc - and a coward to boot (the least of his faults).
I think I learnt more history of the Victorian era from reading these novels than I did from anything picked up while at school. (Whether it is true or not is anot
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The Flashman Club: Book 5: Flashman in the Great Game 7 25 Oct 02, 2011 11:23PM  
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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'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)

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“I've been a Danish prince, a Texas slave-dealer, an Arab sheik, a Cheyenne Dog Soldier, and a Yankee navy lieutenant in my time, among other things, and none of 'em was as hard to sustain as my lifetime's impersonation of a British officer and gentleman.” 14 likes
“I'm as religious as the next man - which is to say I'll keep in with the local parson for form's sake and read the lessons on feast-days because my tenants expect it, but I've never been fool enough to confuse religion with belief in God. That's where so many clergymen... go wrong” 10 likes
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