Adventure / Fictional Saga
Gold Coast (modern day Ghana)
#8 of a series
This is the eighth in a series which has passed me by until now.
The protagonist in this series is Thomas Flashman, uncle of the (in)famous Harry and thus is the expected all-round rogue, rake and coward. In this adventure Thomas finds himself shipwrecked on the West Africa Coast, captured by an African tribe, but wheedles his way out of a nasty death and is escorted to Cape Coast Castle where the British have a small outpost.
Any hopes that Flashman has about catching the next ship out are soon dashed as news comes that the fearsome Ashanti tribe are amassing warriors. Though a civilian, Flashman's reputation (his good one, manufactured mostly by himself) obliges him to take part in a scouting party, where he is captured and once more is in fear of his life. Yet, with the help of a beautiful spy and one of the former king's wives, he escapes dressed as an African maiden and finds his way back to Cape Coast Castle again. The Ashanti are now, literally, on the warpath.
Once again, Flashman is roped in to organising the defence of the fort, but all the old fears are there and he makes sure that he has an escape route, if necessary.
It must be remembered that this is not Harry Flashman; Uncle Thomas is not quite such a quivering coward, not quite the self-centred, irresponsible blackguard. Indeed, he appears to have some degree of courage (albeit, Dutch courage) and a reasonable grasp of military strategies.
The author has drawn on contemporary sources – he has included many of the known participants and their experiences – and put together an enjoyable novel in the wake of a fine tradition started by George MacDonald Fraser.
A good read.
© Richard Tearle
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