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A Sad End for Flash Harry?

Unexpected because one so seldom sees any reference to this enormously underrated set of historical novels.

Mr. Katz charitably describes the fictional Harry Flashman as an antihero, a true coward, a liar, and an addictive womanizer. This is the short list. One might easily add: blackguard, bounder, poltroon, war deserter, drunk, and brothel-frequenter. But Sir Harry is also a clear-eyed observer of the human condition and all its attendant folly. He is as honest with himself as he is dishonest with others.

For those unfamiliar with the Flashman series, a bit of background. Harry Flashman comes of age in Victorian England; the historical events in the novels take place between roughly 1840 and 1895. Young Harry is expelled from Rugby at an early age, quite predictably in his parents' view. Owing to his semi-aristocratic background and quick tongue, he ends up commissioned in the British Army and later the East India Company. Yet by his own admission he has but three prime talents: "for horses, languages, and fornication."

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