A quick trip to Waterstones was called for this morning to snatch up a copy of the 12th volume of the Flashman Papers, Flashman on the March. (£13.99 at Waterstones where it is book of the month or £10.79 online, plus p+p.)

I was prompted by the reviews in the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Times. The MoS echoes my thoughts that Flashman should be a set book at school, saying, they “ought to be on any serious history curriculum.” This would normally be flattering, but when the reviewer is Peter Hitchens, well I start to worry when I find myself sharing any of his opinions.

The good news is that the ageing MacDonald Fraser has already started on the book that we’ve all been waiting for in which Flashman pretends to fight on both sides in the American Civil War. I just hope we don’t have the same five-year wait that we had since the previous volume, Flashman and the Tiger, published in 1999.

I’ve finished the first chapter of FotM and unlike previous volumes that lead you gently into the tale, this one cuts straight to the chase. It is certain to keep me occupied for a day or two before Mrs P loses patience and steals it from me, so if I’m a little quiet, you’ll know why.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

3 comments… Add yours
  • Mosher 10th April 2005

    I always wondered how a first edition hardback can have "the new bestseller" on it. It's a little presumptious seeing as it's been printed and published before a copy's been sold.

  • Shooting Parrots 10th April 2005

    I have to say the same thought occured to me. I suppose it will be a bestseller based on the previous volumes. The other thing I wonder about are the glowing quotes from various newspaper on the back — they must get their copies and write their reviews well in advance of publishing.

  • Mosher 11th April 2005

    Depending on the "review" that can be vastly midleading, certainly if they nab them the same way films do.

    I've seen films with "…amazing!!! TOTAL FILM" on the poster, and suchlike. Basically, before the film came out or was reviewed, the magazine published an article on films they were looking forward to over the summer. One of them was this film and contained the sentence "We have high expectations – the effects in the trailer for FILMNAME are amazing!!!"

    Film comes out, it's pants, actual review slates it… but the publicist nicks the text from the earlier article. All legal and above board.

    Actually, that *has* happened for books before as well. I recall someone in SFX deliberately writing a review so that the publishers couldn't pick out *any* positive words because they'd done just that for the previous novel by the same author.


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