Flashman sallies forth once again, in Flashman and the Angel of the Lord, book IX of the series by the redoubtable George MacDonald Fraser. Colonel Harry Flashman is on the way home from India, having served illustriously in the Empire and garnering a fair bit of glory for himself, through all the usual cravenly and duplicitous methods that are his trademark. One quick tryst leads to another and Flashman ends up in Africa. From Africa, after laying the buxom lass of his former nemesis, who can barely get a word in edgewise without a Latin phrase or two, Flashman ends up in America, deep in the grip of the Ku Klux Klan who want him to play a pivotal role in sparking the Civil War. Flashman has one hair-raising adventure after another, culminating in the usual laudatory acclaim we’ve come to expect from one of the most famous anti-heroes of all time.
Fraser meticulously researches every book he writes, and the book is rife with references to real occurrences and people, which are corroborated by the voluminous footnotes and appendices, in some sort of exegetic self-correction. It’s not the historical placement or the factual correctness that leads you to admire Flashman’s escapades, though they do help. It’s really Fraser’s literary style that carries the day. If you’ve ever yearned for a rollicking adventure from a time not-too-recently gone by, replete with political incorrectness, immense debauchery and infernal inveigling, then these books are for you.