Flashman's Lady

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Flashman's Lady
First edition
Author George MacDonald Fraser
Cover artist Arthur Barbosa
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Historical novel
Publisher Barrie & Jenkins
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 328
ISBN 978-0-452-26489-2
OCLC 16980497
Preceded by Flashman in the Great Game
Followed by Flashman and the Redskins

Flashman's Lady is a 1977 novel by George MacDonald Fraser. It is the sixth of the Flashman novels.

Plot introduction[edit]

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.

Plot summary[edit]

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 mistress, Flashman is forced to accompany Haslam, Elspeth, and Morrison (his father-in-law) on a trip to Singapore.

Haslam kidnaps Elspeth and flees East; investigations reveal that 'Don Solomon Haslan', old Etonian and prosperous businessman in London and Singapore, is also 'Sulieman Usman', a well-known pirate prince based in Borneo. 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 minds.


Fictional characters[edit]

Historical characters[edit]

  • 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 him 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."
  • Alfred Mynn - A renowned all-rounder cricketer of the era known for his roundarm bowling.
  • Nicholas Felix - The third famous cricketer Flashman defeats.
  • Richard Harris Barham - Noted novelist who Flashman meets at a hanging
  • Whampoa - Chinese merchant who is the Flashmans' host in Singapore
  • Joseph Balestier - Planter and merchant who was the first United States counsul in Singapore
  • Catchick Moses - Armenian Jewish merchant and co-founder of the Straits Times
  • Henry Keppel - British post captain who accompanies Flashman and Brooke to Borneo
  • 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."
  • Charles Anthoni Johnson Brooke - Brooke's nephew and eventual successor as White Rajah
  • 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.
  • Radama II of Madagascar - Ranavalona's son, who protects Elspeth in Madagascar.