Flashman on the March
First edition cover
|Author||George MacDonald Fraser|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
|Pages||320 pp (paperback)|
|Preceded by||Flashman and the Tiger|
As in all of Fraser's Flashman novels, the story is presented as part of the Flashman Papers, supposedly written by Sir Harry Flashman, the villain of Tom Brown's School Days. It begins with the usual explanatory note detailing the discovery of the papers.
The adventure is set in 1867-8 and starts in Trieste, shortly after Flashman's service with Emperor Maximilian I in Mexico. Flashman then travels to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and takes part in General Robert Napier's 1868 expedition.
Having fled Mexico aboard the Austrian warship carrying the Emperor Maximilian's body home for burial, Flashman is on the run, after mortally offending Admiral Tegethoff by seducing his great-niece en voyage. Flashman meets an old acquaintance, Jack Speedicut (who appears in other of the novels), who enlists him to escort a shipment of Maria Theresa thalers to General Robert Napier's forces in Abyssinia, via Suez.
General Napier, overjoyed to find the noted military hero Flashman arrived in Abyssinia, immediately despatches him on a secret undercover mission to recruit Queen Masteeat and her Galla people, who are opposed to Emperor Theodore II of Ethiopia, travelling in the company of her half-sister Uliba-Wark, who is herself scheming to depose Queen Masteeat. Flashman succeeds in enlisting the assistance of Queen Masteeat, but is then captured by Emperor Theodore's forces.
The second half of the novel deals with Flashman's relations with the Emperor and covers the final battle with Napier's forces and their allies, after which Theodore commits suicide. Flashman tells Napier at the conclusion that the British government could have avoided the whole sorry adventure if they had simply given Theodore the respect that a monarch deserves by properly responding to his letters.
- Harry Paget Flashman - The hero or anti-hero.
- Jack Speedicut - An old school friend of Harry's, who also appears as a supporting character in Tom Brown's Schooldays.
- Uliba-Wark - The half-sister of Queen Masteeat.