Infobox Book |
name = Flambards
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = First US edition cover
author = K. M. Peyton
cover_artist = Illustrated by Victor G. Ambrus
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series =
genre = Novel
publisher = Oxford University Press (UK) & World Publishing Co. (USA)
release_date = September 1967
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages = 193 pp (UK hardback first edition) & 206 pp (US hardback edition)
isbn = ISBN 0-19-271278-0 (UK hardback first edition)
preceded_by =
followed_by = The Edge of the Cloud

"Flambards" is a novel by the English author K. M. Peyton.

The book and its three sequels are set just before, during, and after World War I. The first book, originally published in 1967, tells how the teenage heroine, orphaned heiress Christina Parsons, comes to live at Flambards, the impoverished Essex estate owned by her crippled and tyrannical uncle, William Russell, and his two sons, Mark and Will. She falls in love with one of her cousins and, later, with the family's former stable-lad. Its original sequels were "The Edge of the Cloud" and "Flambards in Summer" (both 1969); "Flambards Divided" (1981) controversially reversed the ending of the original trilogy.


Christina Parsons, who has been shunted around the family since she was orphaned at five years old, is sent to live at Flambards with her mother's half-brother, the crippled Russell. Her Aunt Grace speculates that Russell plans for Christina to marry his son Mark in order to restore Flambards to its former glory using the money that she will inherit on her twenty-first birthday. Mark is as brutish as his father, with a great love for hunting, whereas the younger son William is terrified of horses and aspires to be an aviator. Christina soon finds friendship with an injured William, who challenges her ideas on class boundaries, as well as a love for horses and hunting. William and Christina eventually fall in love and elope at the end of the first book.'The Edge of the Cloud', the second novel in the series, continues directly from the end of the first book and follows William and Christina's relationship and his aviation, with a back-drop of upcoming war, suffragettes and the death of Mr Dermot and Sandy (William's friends). The book culminates in William and Christina's marriage, with the knowledge that he will join the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) three days after the end of their honeymoon.A widowed Christina gives birth to William's daughter Isobel in 'Flambards in Summer', and falls in love with Dick (the former stable-lad), who has returned to Flambards to manage the farm. In 'Flambards Divided', Christina and Dick find soon after their marriage that they want different things in life. He falls in love with Clara, Isobel's nursemaid, and Christina falls in love with Mark who has been changed in the war. Although she states "No-one will ever be the same as William", she ends 'Flambards Divided' happily, with the knowledge that she and Mark will marry as soon as laws are changed so that a man can marry his brother's widow.

TV adaptation

A popular British television series (made in 1978 but not shown until 1979) was based on the first three novels in the series - "Flambards Divided" had not been written at this stage. Called simply "Flambards", the programme starred Christine McKenna and Alan Parnaby. Thirteen 50-minute episodes (an hour long including commercials) were made by Yorkshire Television for ITV, adapted by Alan Plater, Alex Glasgow and William Humble.

The music soundtrack was written by David Fanshawe; the "Song of Christina", for which many best remember the series, was sung by Nick Curtis. The music also featured the ondes martenot with its distinctive, haunting electronic sound. An LP of the theme and incidental music (featuring the David Fanshawe Ensemble conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes) was released by Philips Records, but never enjoyed a commercial CD release. It can now be bought directly from the composer. [ [http://www.fanshawemusicstore.com/index.php?cPath=2 CDs - Fanshawe compositions & world music recordings] CD - FLAMBARDS - Music Highlights]

Video and DVD releases

The series initially appeared on PAL VHS in 1994, released by the now defunct Video Gems label, and then received a further video release in 1999 by Granada Television, which had taken over YTV in 1997. This was superseded by a region 2 DVD released by Granada subsidiary VCI in January 2004. This DVD was deleted in 2005, but the series was again released on DVD by Network on July 31, 2006, with a limited edition including a CD of the music from the series also being made available.

In the United States, the series was released on region 1 DVD in June 2001.

Episodes of "Flambards" were among those used to make the Rob Brydon comedy series "Director's Commentary" in 2004.


The series has also been repeated in the UK on archive channels such as Hallmark and UKTV Drama (then known as UK Drama). It appeared on PBS stations in the United States in 1979, and on the US channel A&E in the early 1990s.


External links

* [http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/flambards/] - a "Flambards" forum
* [http://flambards.flyingdreams.org/ Flying Dreams] - a "Flambards" fan page
* [http://lianki.tripod.com/] - a "Flambards" fan page

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