Flashman at the Charge by George Macdonald Fraser
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1973. Stated "First American Edition" on the copyright page. Hardcover. 288 pages ; 23 cm. $6.95 dust jacket. Random House rubber stamp seal at bottom edge. No markings to pages. Binding is firm. Pages toned.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!" Was there a man dismayed?
I Indeed there was!.. And delighted readers of the voluminous (and scandalous) memoirs of literature's Ace of Cads will guess at once that it's none other than Harry Flashman, whose wavering saber and trembling ingenuity are all that can save him in the teeth of his comrades' determination to die a glorious death at the gallop against the Russian [guns at Balaclava. But how on earth did our Flashy, with his connoisseur's nose for the first warning whiff of grapeshot and his allergy to frontal attack, ever find himself there in the first place, among the British Cavalry engaged in such a conspicuously fatal (and futile) enterprise?
The answer is that ifs all his own fault, and comes of toadying to Prince Albert, and hanging about in billiard halls. But Balaclava and the perils of the Crimean War are only the beginning; beyond lie the snowbound wastes of the Russian empire, [beleaguered mansions, mysterious fortresses, head-long escapes, savage hordes to the right of him, beautiful females (of course) to the left of him,.. and ahead, war on the roof of the world to determine the fate of all India, with nothing to check the oncoming armed might of Imperial Russia but our hero's pumping heels and skuldugging imagination.
To the new millions who learned to love to hate Flashman while watching "Tom Brown's School Days," a message: What you saw on TV was only the beginning! Now you can follow the career of that bully, that liar, that prince of poltroons in the years after Rugby, as he sprints along the corridors of power the world over, sound of wind, strong in desire, but faint in moral fibre. His new adventure is rich in the sterling qualities that have endeared him to a host of loyal admirers: cowardice, treachery, lechery—and an unsparingly comic honesty as a historian. Indeed, history is hardly history unless Flashman is there to observe it (in fleeting glimpses over his shoulder). Read Flashman at the Charge and you'll understand his international reputation as:
"A ONE-MAN DEMOLITION SQUAD As irreverent and as picaresque as Tom Jones, always more dramatic and often funnier" (Chicago Today)
"SPICED LIKE CURRY . . . nobody's fool" (Book World)
"A LIAR, LECHER, BULLY, COWARD ... splendidly entertaining Flashman never loses" (Time)
"ONE OF THE FUNNIEST HEROES you'll meet in a long time" (Detroit Free Press)
"TERRIFIC!" P. G. Wodehouse
"A CORKER" (Edinburgh Evening News)
"A CROSS between Byron's Don Juan and Fielding's Tom Jones!" (Best Sellers)
"MARVELOUSLY ENTERTAINING ... a delight" (Providence Journal)
"IRRESISTIBLE" [TheTimes, London)
"SHEER DELIGHT" (Boston Herald Traveler)
"DAZZLING" (Book-of-the-Month Club News)
"BEAU SABREUR with a balsa spine.... A blue and humorous vein is wide open: let it pour, Fraser, till the heart's content" (Chicago Tribune)
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