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I love the Flashman novels by George MacDonald Fraser. When Fraser died I simultaneously hoped for and dreaded someone taking up his his mantle and writing about Sir Harry or one of his forebears or descendants. I say hoped for because a good Flashman novel is a wondrous thing; I say dreaded because I feared it would be a horrible mashup.
I don't know whether Robert Brighwell is in good standing with Fraser's estate, but I certainly hope so, for I found this book a ripping, brilliant read-- or, I should say, listen. It's every bit as good, IMO, as the first Harry Flashman novel, which is my favorite, and reader Henry Clore Harrison has a delightful accent and is easy on the ears.
Thomas displays the family traits of a gift with languages, a way with the ladies, and blackguardedness, but seems considerably nicer than Harry. I find this fortunate, for if Harry had been much worse he would have been strapped across the mouth of a cannon and shot (as he indeed almost was), and too sweet a character wouldn't make for a good read. Thomas is his own man and not Harry's clone, which is as it should be, but if you turned him down and shook him hard, Harry might fall out, which is also as it should be.
I'm disappointed the third book in the series is not yet available in audio and astonished Brightwell hasn't caught the interest of the big publishing houses. I'll buy the other books in the series when they're available in audio, but I'm not going to wait-- I'm going to read the rest of Brightwell's Flashman books, starting immediately.
As an aside, I bought only one of Fraser's Flashman books. I was not entranced with the narrator, who sounds as if he were Harry in his 80s, recounting his adventures.
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What made the experience of listening to Flashman and the Cobra the most enjoyable?
I'm a fan... trending toward superfan. I got chills on multiple occasions while listening to "Flashman and the Cobra". I felt like I was there at the Battle of Assaye, storming the fortress of Gawilghur, or experiencing Flashman's revelation about Solomon / Salame.Robert Brightwell not only knows how to tell a tale, but also knows how to make the little things pay off. He does his homework, crafting a big story of big historical events while keeping the details that ground it in reality and make it believable and relatable.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Thomas himself, of course, but the Begum of Samru and Freddy Carstairs will always stay with me, along with the fierce warriors of the rajput.
What about Henry Clore Harrison’s performance did you like?
Mr. Harrison did an excellent job throughout, including recreating accents without descending into mockery. He has a different tone than David Case (who narrates the Flashman Chronicles), but it has a similar comfortable flavor.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Any additional comments?
Can't recommend it highly enough, both the performance and the story. Fraser would be very, very proud of Mr. Brightwell's work.