Mr American is a swashbuckling romp of a novel. Mark Franklin came from the American West to Edwardian England with two long-barrelled .44s in his baggage and a fortune in silver in the bank. Where he had got it and what he was looking for no one could guess, although they wondered -- at Scotland Yard, in City offices, in the glittering theatreland of the West End, in the highest circles of Society (even King Edward was puzzled) and in the humble pub at Castle Lancing.
Tall dark and dangerous, soft spoken and alone, with London at his feet and a dark shadow in his past, he was a mystery to all of them, rustics and royalty, squires and suffragettes, the women who loved him and the men who feared and hated him. He came from a far frontier in another world, yet he was by no means a stranger! even old General Flashman, who knew men and mischief better than most, never guessed the whole truth about Mr American.
©1998 George MacDonald Fraser; (P)2010 Random House
Mr. America peaked my interest at first, and I thought it would have takes some different directions than it took. The narrator was great, and certainly added to the book. The plot took several naps and it seemed as if the writer was struggling to fill the page. The condensed version may have been better in this case. I did stay with it and am not sorry I did. It is one of those books you can listen to on a long ride, and if you are distracted and miss some of it you will not loose the gist of the story. Aauh go ahead and get it.
J. Jason Gale
This work upset my world for days. It quietly drew me in at first. I thought 'it has no plot at all' -- an accessory well concealed in amongst the ornate language that had already ensnared me beyond any hope of escape. I found it all irresistibly beguiling.
I was there, in Castle Lancing, England, living a gentry's life of leisure. And 'who's the antagonist' I wondered. But it didn't matter: I was hooked and couldn't stop listening except at gunpoint.
And in the end I was heartbroken that it was all over. I will listen to this one again.
PS: The landscape is littered with antagonists: witting and otherwise.
By accident my previous read had been Brideshead Revisited, which was another Edwardian story of aristocratic manners. It was good but I liked this story better. It combined many genres and gave a great historical account of what it was like in 1909-1914 England through the eyes of a reformed gunfighter from Colorado. There were many stories within stories and when it seemed it might be going flat in tone (it's 23 hours) General Harry Flashman walks in and picks things right up again. A great listen and David Case did another fine job. Plus the ending was touching. George Fraser really is a first class writer.
I tried, and stuck with almost half way, but couldn't do it.
Events just seem to happen to the protagonist, who is passively thrown into one remarkable situation after another.
I think David Case is a very good narrator, I've probably listened to hundreds of hours of his narration. However.....I really don't like the american accent he does for the main character, I can't get past it, it's really off.
I usually like when the current history of the time is blended into literature, but here, it's very awkwardly done.
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