Author: Fraser, George MacDonald
Details: Product Description The aging but heroic soldier, Harry Flashman, is caught in the middle of the Chinese Taiping Rebellion and is unwittingly called on to champion the fortunes of a concubine, a Minister, and a female bandit, all to his own personal gain From Publishers Weekly The delightful cad Flashman stalks again, now through China's 19th-century Taiping Rebellion, in this eighth and perhaps most sparkling volume of his "memoirs." Though a little longer in the tooth, Colonel Flashman, V.C., has lost none of his dash, cunning, amorous propensity or cowardice. His adventures begin when he accompanies a consignment of "opium" (actually guns) to Canton on behalf of a British missionary. Thereafter, as Ambassador Elgin's chief intelligence officer, he gets into a succession of dire scrapes which include being attacked by pirates and falling into the hands first of the ferocious but disciplined Taipings, then of the equally ferocious but decadent Manchu imperialists. At one point he comes within a hair's breadth of having his poltroonery exposed; at other points he finds himself the sexual partner of a Chinese Amazon and, more plaything than partner, of the formidable Imperial Concubine Yi, later empress, to whose treacherous court intrigues he becomes privy. He winds up witnessing Elgin's destruction of Peking's Summer Palace, an act of vengeance described with horrifying vividness. There's a deal of shrewd observation in Flashman, and a deal of solid history in his flamboyant memoirs, factors that add weight to their dazzle. Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal Scholars and acquaintances of Sir Harry Flashman, V.C., will be gratified to hear of the appearance in print of the eighth installment of his memoirsmanuscripts dealing with activities in China in the early 1860s. Fresh from the Indian Mutiny, "Flash Harry," self-confessed coward, womanizer, and scoundrel, finds himself landed in "Manchoo" China torn by the Taiping Rebellion. A combined force of British and French troops commanded by Lord Elgin simultaneously pushes toward Peking to force Western realities on the Chinese emperor. There is plenty of action as the redoubtable Flashy scrapes through many dangerous and disagreeable situations in this chaotic setting. Emerging as usual unscathed, with public (if not private) honor intact, Sir Harry recounts his memories of the Summer Palace and the Yi Concubine (later Empress Tzu-hsi). This enjoyable romp incidentally provides a wealth of historic data. Delightful fun. William C. McCully, Park Ridge P.L., Ill.Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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