George reviews Royal Flash

Flashy mixing with the regal set.


Royal Flash is the second book in the Flashman Papers by writer George McDonald Fraser.

Set in the fictional Duchy of Strackenz in 1848, the story jumps across a number years and involves Falshmans interactions with Otto Von Bismarck and Lola Montez and the Schleswig-Holstein question.

Royal Flash has Harry Flashman penchant for cash and women being exploited to his misfortune when he ends up being used to replace the intended husband in a royal wedding and how he comes out the other end.

Well written and drawing on historical fact to support the story, it is different to many Flashman books in that the story is broken in to multiple parts rather than one long story.

This doesn’t damage the story but, once you’ve read more of the stories, you fill in the gaps in the intervening years. Not a massive problem other than this depth of knowledge of the character isn’t, at this point, reflected by the authors writing (he’s on book 2, I’ve read the lot).

The story is very familiar to anyone who is aware of the Prisoner of Zenda. There are a lot of similarities – apart from the character I guess. And the mask.

The film was made into a movie, likely off the success of the books (which was massive) but the film is very much of its time and feels like a bit of a cheap comedy. I wouldn’t recommend the film but I would recommend the book.

I love the Flashman Papers and, although this is one of my least favourite of the series, it’s still good.