I’ve long been curious about the “Flashman” series by Fraser, and finally decided to read this first one, published in 1969. Harry Flashman was a minor character in an early British school-boys novel, “Tom Brown’s School Days,” which I liked. There he was a bully and a villain. In this book he’s no better. Worse, if anything, though as he narrates the story in his old age, at least Harry Flashman is honest about his own character failings and bad deeds. The other thing that interested me is the way the author has woven Flashman’s story into many aspects of true history. Here it’s the British army in India and Pakistan in 1839. Flashman’s role is made up, but the history is accurate, and the monumental mis-management and huge blunders made by the British was fascinating in a train-wreck sort of way. While I can’t say I liked Harry at all, he’s put through so many battles and tortures both mental and physical that by the end I had some grudging respect for his ability to survive against such high odds. If you like historical fiction with elements of bawdy adventure and sly commentary on the failings of humanity, this series may be for you. I’m not sure if I will read more, but I’m tempted.