England's classiest delinquent in his fifth appearance--this time amid the bestial slaughter of the Great Indian Mutiny of 1857. But there's also a predictable amount of dedicated bouncing in the boudoir. It starts at Balmoral, ""all drizzle and mist and. . . holy Melancholy,"" when Flashman, to his horror, is propelled to India to find out what the Russians are doing and to wheedle a local Rani British-wards. The Rani is of startling loveliness and (unfortunately) political acuity, but before long she is responding to Flashman's cocksman splendors with a tryst in naught but bangles and tireless innovations. Thereupon follow adventures as a native sepoy, as a butler, and as a victim of circumstance through dreadful massacres, flights, executions, atrocities and last minute rescues. . . all on the flanks of actual history. Withal the ribaldry and rowdy hedonism, there's a ripe grain of Falstaffian cynicism. A new unbuttoned confession from the great historical flasher.