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Flashman

The Flashman Papers, Book 1
Narrated by: Colin Mace
Series: The Flashman Papers, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Harry Flashman: the unrepentant bully of Tom Brown's schooldays, now with a Victoria Cross, has three main talents - horsemanship, facility with foreign languages and fornication. A reluctant military hero, Flashman plays a key part in most of the defining military campaigns of the nineteenth century despite trying his utmost to escape them all.

Flashman, soldier, duellist, lover, imposter, coward, cad, and hero triumphs in this first installment of The Flashman Papers. His adventures as the reluctant secret agent in Afghanistan and his entry into the exclusive company of Lord Cardigan's Hussars culminate in his foulest hour - his part in the historic disaster of the Retreat from Kabul.

This is the story of a blackguard who enjoyed villainy for its own sake. Shameless, exciting, and funny, Flashman's deplorable odyssey is observed with the cynical eye of a scoundrel who was honest only in reporting what he saw. He makes all other black sheep look respectably grey.

©2015 George MacDonald Fraser (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

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Fun, fabulously un-PC

All the worst parts of British culture hung out to dry. Satire on par with Yes, Minister, but far more salty. Spike Lee should make this into a TV show, the perfect picture of how we became so horrible in Europe. In a time when works of art are judged by the morality of the main character this is utterly irredeemable of course; a story of the Man, British colonial superiority, a cross between James Bond and Indiana Jones. Cheerfully racist and misogynist. Great naughty fun.

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What a fantastic listen

I don’t no what every body is going on about, complaining about Colin Mace. He was superb and really brought Flashman to life in my eye. Each to their own I suppose.

Great listen don’t let the other reviews put you off like it nearly made me do so glad I took a chance and it paid off

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  • PJB
  • 06-20-15

Spoilt by Poor Narration

Would you try another book written by George MacDonald Fraser or narrated by Colin Mace?

This is one of my favourite books, full of humour, history and excitement. This recording is spoilt by bland narration. The story is told by Flashman writing at the end of his life but we get neither the cynical and knowing old man nor the passionate, excitable, terrified young one. Instead it sounds like the vicar giving a geography lecture to the Women's Institute.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Colin Mace?

The Flashman books read by Timothy West seem to have disappeared from Audible. They were infinitely superior, a real joy to listen to.

Any additional comments?

Bring back Timothy West

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Charles
  • 07-13-15

Flashman rides forth.....

I'm a fan of the Flashman books, and loved the Timothy West-narrated versions that used to be available. Sadly, only a few titles were ever released, so I've had to wait until now to be able to hear the rest of the stories in their full unabridged versions, now with Colin Mace in the narrators chair. The story itself is classic Flashman, the cowardly bully from Tom Brown's Schooldays, charting his expulsion from school to joining the Army and his adventures in Afghanistan. It's a perfect place to start.

For the narration, Colin Mace does a good job, whilst not *quite* reaching the level of sheer caddishness that Timothy West managed to convey. Mace sounds a little "younger" when narrating, which does sit a little awkwardly to the "fact" that this is an elderly Flashie telling of his adventures. I'd also add that he has a habit of speaking a little quieterwhen not conveying speech, which can sometimes make you keep adjusting the volume to try to hear everything without it being too loud. That wouldn't be a problem for listeners at home, but if you're listening in a car like I do, it can be a bit niggly to have to do this. It's a minor thing, though.

I'll definitely be adding others from the mace-narrated collection to my library.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 07-12-15

Rip roaring storytelling at its best.

This is storytelling of the highest quality. Wins no awards for political correctness but scores highly for pleasure, humour and amusement.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • GORDON FRASER
  • 06-01-17

Brilliant Fantastic a real ripper of a story

A true great autobiography of one the bravest men who made our British empire great !

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Neil
  • 05-10-17

My inner flashman...

New to the world of the mercurial Mr flashman..where have I been all this time??? grinning to myself on lonely train journeys to work on his adventures and miscomings. I am A very new fan to his ecacapes and wonder who he might tumble with or escape from next.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Debs J
  • 01-25-17

Brilliant!

excellent character, fantastic writing, great humour and you can't help but like the chap...scoundrel though he may be!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • P. Kirkbright
  • 08-02-16

The first-person anti-Sharpe

The first hour almost stopped me listening to this before I really began. It takes a little time to get into both the story and the narrator speaks fairly swiftly.
Flashman is a bully, a coward, a racist (as is everyone in the story), a misogynist, a murderer and a rapist. He admits all these faults himself. He is certainly not a hero. He is, however, an excellent storyteller and a compelling character. The story is well-written, having the feel of an unvarnished truth told by a man who is utterly without scruple.
If you like Flashman as a person, I doubt I'd want to know you, but as an inversion of the heroic archetype he is magnificent.
It's certainly worth the listen, though you'll be uncomfortable at times. It's worth pressing on through those moments, as the whole is a well-written adventure story. But for pity's sake, wear headphones.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt
  • 06-19-19

Victorian adventure

An exciting page turner of the Victorian scoundrel Harry Flashman.

I found the pacing was a little off in the last half of the book, with the first half quickly bouncing between several characters and locations before plateauing. I also found Flashman turn from a lovable rogue in the first half to more of a despicable and desperate character in the latter chapters which is obviously the writers intension but had me rooting for him much less.

Will look forward to seeing what the next instalment offers.

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  • Mr. M. J. Yeomans
  • 06-18-19

Fantastic. Story expertly livens history

Fantastic story that expertly brings to life the first Anglo-Afghan war of the 1830s/1840s. The author has done tremendous research (having studied the period myself), this is an enjoyable way to learn about the time without having negative impact on truth through dramatisation. Flashman's story also brings some interesting questions about bravery, valour, cowardice and sense to really challenge ideas of what really are noble / desirable 'heroic' qualities and the reality behind them. Recommended.

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  • "geordiemoozy"
  • 06-03-19

A cracking version of a great story

Flashman is a great character. A rogue of the worst kind, supremely spiteful, cowardly and lecherous, he is someone you root for, just to see what kind of scrape he gets into next. This book is the first of about a dozen Flashman novels, all jam packed with meticulously researched military history from the last half of the 19th century. You learn as you laugh at Harry's plights!

The novel is beautifully paced with never a dull moment and the reader is fine. I read all of the Flashman books about 20 years ago, but I think I will now work my way through the audiobooks too. My personal favourite is Flashman and the Redskins.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-17-18

A ripping good yarn!!

A swashbuckling adventure that paints a picture so vivid you feel as though you are living in colonial times!

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  • Hugh
  • 10-06-16

good yarn

a good story with lots of historically interesting facts. at times the character of flashman is evil