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Repackaged to tie-in with hardback publication of 'The Reavers' and to appeal to a new generation of George MacDonald Fraser fans, 'Mr American' is a swashbuckling romp of a novel. Mark Franklin came from the American West to Edwardian England with two long-barrelled .44s in his baggage and a fortune in silver in the bank. Where he had got it and what he was looking for no one could guess, although they wondered - at Scotland Yard, in City offices, in the glittering theatreland of the West End, in the highest circles of Society (even King Edward was puzzled) and in the humble pub at Castle Lancing. Tall dark and dangerous, soft spoken and alone, with London at his feet and a dark shadow in his past, he was a mystery to all of them, rustics and royalty, squires and suffragettes, the women who loved him and the men who feared and hated him. He came from a far frontier in another world, yet he was by no means a stranger...even old General Flashman, who knew men and mischief better than most, never guessed the whole truth about "Mr American".

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780006470182
ISBN-10: 0006470181
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 130mm x mm)
Pages: 592
Imprint: Harper
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publish Date: 17-Jun-1996
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » A gloriously old-fashioned novel - stately in pace, thickly textured, reticent yet romantic - about a stolidly old-fashioned hero worthy of Owen Wister. . . or Gary Cooper. "Mr. American" is Mark Franklin, a 35-ish mystery man who arrives in 1909 England with a Mexican saddle, a pair of Remington pistols, and apparently unlimited funds: he withdraws (UKP)50,000 in gold from American Express in London, stashing it in a safety deposit box for a rainy day; he hires a valet, for 24 hours only, to advise him on the finest in clothes purchases; and when a chance encounter wins him a night of love with musical-comedy charmer "Pip" Delys, he thanks her with some pricey gems. But London is only a stop-over for roots-seeking Franklin; he's on his way to take up squire-like residence in the Norfolk village of Castle Lancing, where his ancestors lived 300 years ago. And for a while it seems as if Franklin (whose fortune comes from a silver strike) has indeed found his real home: he stumbles into the good graces of crabby old Edward VII, who's visiting a nearby estate; he slowly earns the grumbling approval of the villagers; he comes out on top in a feud with piggish Lord Lacy, a land-developer who tries to force Franklin's old kinswoman out of her cottage; he acquires the perfect valet in Boer War vet Thomas Samson; still better, he acquires the love of Lady Peggy Clayton, a beauteous young neighbor. And not even an ugly surfacing of Franklin's past can ruin his future: when Kid Curry - an aging, ill outlaw with a psychotic grudge - comes gunning for Franklin (who once hung around with the Wild Bunch), unflappable Samson helps his master to kill Curry (in self-defense) and bury the body. Within five years, however, Franklin's new life will turn sour. Wife Peggy, a London socialite uninterested in motherhood, is revealed first as a liar (she tricks Franklin into funding arms for Ulster's Protestant rebels), then as a blase adulteress. Franklin's honor suffers further damage when his platonic chumship with Pip is misinterpreted and when he's called as a witness at the shady trial of two vandalizing suffragettes. And there's some tense cat-and-mouse suspense with Scotland Yard when Kid Curry's skeleton surfaces. So - in the novel's surprisingly touching last pages - a disillusioned Franklin says his goodbyes to England. . . . Doesn't sound like the ribald, tongue-in-cheek Fraser of the Flashman series? Well, it's not - though Franklin's first run-ins with hypocritical society are royally comic. And, in fact, the only mood-breaking sequences here are cameo appearances by leering, 90-year-old Flashman himself. Everywhere else, happily, Fraser plays this straight - and the result, though slower going than customary in today's decade-hopping sagas, is unusually evocative historical fiction: authentic in detail and dialogue, rounded with full-blooded characters, and carried along with a steady, caring sense of destination that's far more satisfying than the hectic plotting of most period adventures. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - George MacDonald Fraser

The author of the famous 'Flashman Papers' and the 'Private McAuslan' stories, George MacDonald Fraser has worked on newspapers in Britain and Canada. In addition to his novels he has also written numeous films, most notably 'The Three Musketeers', 'The Four Musketeers', and the James Bond film, 'Octopussy'. George Macdonald Fraser died in January 2008 at the age of 82.

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