Presented within the frame of the supposedly discovered historical Flashman Papers, this book describes the bully Flashman from Tom Brown's School Days. The papers are attributed to Harry Paget Flashman, who is not only the bully featured in Thomas Hughes' novel, but also a well-known Victorian military hero. The book begins with an explanatory note that while this is the sixth packet of the papers to be published, the story contained within actually takes place chronologically after Flashman, the first packet to be published, and between the two timeframes featured in Royal Flash, the second story to be published. Flashman's Lady begins with Flashman's encounter with Tom Brown, a former acquaintance from Rugby School, and progresses through cricket, battling pirates with James Brooke in Borneo, and enslavement in Madagascar under Queen Ranavalona I, detailing his life from 1842 to 1845. This book is unique among the Flashman series for containing extracts from the diary of his wife, Elspeth. It also contains a number of notes by Fraser, in the guise of editor, giving additional historical information on the events described.
Flashman meets Tom Brown at a tavern and is convinced to play cricket at Lord's for a team made up of Old Rugbeians. His impressive play (performing possibly the first ever hat-trick) leads to more matches, and an encounter with Daedalus Tighe, a notorious bookie He also meets Don Solomon Haslam, a businessman from the East Indies, who has a lot of money, prestige, and a fascination for Elspeth, Flashman's wife. Due to a wager with Haslam, blackmail from Tighe, and threats from a Duke arising from an affair with the Duke's lover, Flashman is forced to accompany Haslam, Elspeth, and Morrison (his father-in-law) on a trip to Singapore. There Haslam reveals his true identity and kidnaps Elspeth. Flashman must reluctantly chase after them, with the help of James Brooke. This chase takes him to the jungles of Borneo, the nests of pirates, and finally to Madagascar, where he is enslaved and becomes military advisor and lover to Queen Ranavalona I. Escape from the island seems impossible, and with his wife's help he has to overcome his cowardice to evade their pursuers.
Sulieman Usman/Don Solomon Haslam - The society man who went to Eton College is also the notorious pirate whose stronghold is in Borneo. Flashman describes as "portly, you might say, if not fat, with a fleshy, smiling face, and fine teeth which flashed white against his swarthy skin."
Fuller Pilch - Considered to be the best cricket batsman of his time, who Flashman catches out. Flashman says "I'm not sure that the sincerest tribute I got wasn't Fuller Pilch's knitted brow and steady glare as he sat on a bench with his tankard, looking me up and down for a full two minutes and never saying a word."
James Brooke - The White Rajah who saves Flashman in Singapore and then takes him to rescue his wife. Flashman is impressed with him despite himself.
Angela Burdett-Coutts - Flashman finds an image of her in Brooke's possession, and finds out that Brooke has a crush on her. Flashman remembers her not as fondly - "I'd taken a loving fumble at her myself...but she'd simply stared straight ahead of her and dislocated my thumb. Wasteful little prude."
Jean Laborde - A Frenchman and former slave in Madagascar who helps Flashman on his arrival in that country
Ranavalona I - The queen of Madagascar and Flashman's lover. Flashman describes her as "a diabolical despot who was undoubtedly mad, fickle, dangerous, and fiendishly cruel," although he later decides she is more wicked than mad.