A master of lechery, treachery and poltroonery, Flashy's undeserved reputation for heroism renders him the British Army's candidate of choice when it comes to skulking behind enemy lines in Ali Baba attire. After all, who but the great amorist could contemplate navigating a land populated by hostile tribes and the lovliest (and most savage) women in Africa, from leather-clad nymphs with a penchant for torture to de-ballocking Amazons and a voluptuous barbarian queen with a reputation for throwing disobliging guests to her pet lions?
©2008 George MacDonald Fraser; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
This is a great series "Flashman". The history of the British empire told by the rogue who always comes out smelling like a rose. I recommend this to anyone that likes history and has a sense of humor.
I don't often give in on a book. This one, this time, I did. And about 80% of the way through! On the rare occassions when I abandon a book it is usually early on but this one took hours to grind me down.
I suspect that I kept giving it the benefit of the doubt because I have enjoyed other tiles in the Flashman series.It may be because the historical background to this one is little known to me. It may be because the narration didn't strike me as well fitted. It may be because even a great author (MacDonald Fraser is quite good but definitely not great) pushes out a dud every now and then. More realisically it is a mix of all of them.
I came to this after relistening to an old Flashman favourite (F in the Great Game) and a new addition (Flashman).
The first of these is narrated by Timothy West who is perfect for the part.
The second by Rupert Penry-Jones who was startlingly adequate at the role. I was wthin a whisker of abandoning that one when it finished.
But this title is narrated by Toby Stephens whose performance was as patchy as they come. The reason West is perfect is because these are the memoirs of a man being read in his later years relating his exploits as a young man. They should be read by an old duffer and Timothy West does old duffer about a hundred times better than either of the other two. I'll be willing to bet cash money that he costs more than either of the other two but the quality is there all the way through the recording. It just sounds very very wrong to have a 12 year olds voice reading an old man story.
So I'm left up a stump now. I had intended to build a listening career on this series but now find that unless they are narrated by West I am quite likely to abandon them.
My advice is probably to either only listen to the ones narrated by West or never listen to them. Without his performance they are pretty insipid stuff.
While this is not anywhere near my favorite narrator of the Flashman series, he does a serviceable job. But what kills this audiobook is the fact that it's abridged. The Flashman series relies on historical detail and plot twists -- the abridged version simply skims the important points of action. You lose so much of the period flavor and historical feel of the complete books. GMF is a talent writer who is an utter joy to read; if you want to abridge something, abridge those awful lawyer books by hacks like John Grisham. Leave the good books alone.
I had a hard time engaging with this book. It is part of a larger series written by GMF. The prior books had the same narrator whose voice, tone, and tempo were familiar to me. I am not sure why Audible doesn't have the version the prior narrator performed, but this is a weaker version.
This was... boring. I couldn't even finish it. The narrator did a great job, but I couldn't care about the main character at all, or stay focused on it enough to follow the plot. I gave up.
Indianna Jones and The Temple of Doom images where sparking in my minds eye.
This was my first Flashie . I can't wait to get more ....but which one ?
yes ... by another reader
I have Flashman & the Great Game ...it was far better in the reading
I listen to a lot of nonfiction and this was a nice break from reality. A fun romp across Africa with Flashman's typical pitfalls and high jinks. The narration was excellent. The story was average.
Not the usual narrator for the series, but Toby Stephens does a good job. Quick story but a good one nonetheless for fans of Flashman! If you're new to the series I'd recommend Flashman & the Mountain of Light for a starter rather than this book.
"Great stuff for Flashman fans"
I love George Macdonald Fraser's Flashman series. They are rollicking good reads and give a tremendously fascinating insights ito some fairly obscure corners of our history. This one - alas the last as Fraser died earlier this year(?)- is right up with the best. Terrific stuff.
I dont normally buy abridged versions but was attracted by Toby Stephens being the narrator - and he is excellent, indeed he makes the book for me, being as good as Timothy West who has been a peerless narrator in earlier books in the Flashman series.
Strongly recommended - and if you like this, read the earlier books too.
He is very good
Great Historical detail
Why have the Timothy West versions not been released in full?
Toby Stephens is very good, but the fact that these are abridged is incredibly annoying. I keep feeling that I missing out on a lot of detail and tremendous dialogue. No Explanation as to why these have been cut down in size. Doubtless related to money. The listeners have been short changed.
I would buy more Flashman with either Stephens or Rupert Penry Jones reading them. If they were unabridged.
This is my first experience with Flashman and while I found the story line not to my liking (might just be because it was an abridged version) I really enjoyed Toby Stephens narration. Very enthusiastically read and enough to convince me to try another Flashman story.
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