'Flashman' series author dies.

Sad news:

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Author of Flashman series dies

George MacDonald Fraser, the author of the popular Flashman series, has died from cancer. He was 82.

The former soldier and journalist, best remembered for his books charting the adventures of Sir Harry Flashman, a fictional soldier and hero of the Victorian wars in the 19th century, passed away yesterday, said his publisher.

Fraser's inspiration for the Flashman series came from the Thomas Hughes novel Tom Brown's Schooldays, in which Flashman is mentioned as a cowardly bully at Rugby school. He went on to develop the character as a pompous womaniser who despite running from many of the battles of the British empire always ends up swathed in glory by the end of the plot.

The books contain highly detailed historic accounts from the author's own research and the author Kingsley Amis once called him "a marvellous reporter and a first-rate historical novelist".

The books were based on a set of imaginary memoirs, the Flashman Papers, supposedly written by the character himself. At the time the books were criticised for being sexual and racist but were loved by teenage boys.

Since the first novel in the series was published in 1969, they went on to be bestsellers and Fraser was praised for his historical accuracy.

He was born in Carlisle in 1926 and at 18 joined the Border Regiment to serve in the Second World War.

In 1943 his battalion was sent to India and he was also involved in fighting against the Japanese. He became a Lieutenant and at the end of the war moved to the Gordon Highlanders, serving in the Middle East.

After leaving the Army, he began work as a reporter and eventually moved to the Glasgow Herald. In 1966 he briefly held the position of editor. But Fraser decided he had had enough of newspapers and did not like the way they were changing.

He began work on the Flashman series as a way out of journalism and 12 books were published between 1969 and 2005.

During this time he also wrote a number of scripts for films including The Three Musketeers which featured Oliver Reed and the James Bond film Octopussy.

He moved to the Isle of Man and was awarded the OBE in July 1999 for a literary career spanning 30 years.

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(from the UK Telegraph)

I haven't read all the Flashman books, but they were a lot of fun. What I remember most was that Flashman, who narrates the books and is an incredibly arrogant serial womanizer, always describes how his own beautiful wife is utterly devoted and loyal to him, even as the reader can see that she's going to bed with every handsome man around her.

There's a movie of one of the books out there starring Malcolm McDowell that captured the flavor of the books. Worth Netflixing. I think it was called "Royal Flash."

I've never heard of either the author in question nor the book series.

dhelor wrote:

I've never heard of either the author in question nor the book series.

The series was well known in the 1970s, mostly because it involved a ne'er-do-well, selfish anti-hero making his way through the underbelly of all the most glorious historical moments of the British empire. The 1970s was the time when a lot of what was held sacred was turned on its head.

I don't know if it was the first novel of its kind, but it probably holds up well today if you like the kind of book where the hero is kind of an amoral a-hole, but the establishment people around him are even bigger a-holes.

My first thought was that it was about a superhero with an extremely disturbing super power.

George Macdonald Fraser will be missed. Flashman was great. He was a coward, a lecher, and a cad, but he was honest and he gives a very interesting take on Victorian history. I'm still looking forward to the BBC version of Flashman at the Charge. The folks that brought us the Sharpe series are producing it.

Frasier also wrote the Screenplays to the 3 Musketeers and the 4 Musketeers, I'm a HUGE fan of Dumas musketeers and Fraser's screenplays are the only ones that do them justice. Plus, his Hollywood History of the World should not be missed.

Really, if you are any kind of fan of historical fiction, historical humor, or the history of Victorian England, you owe it to yourself to give Flashman a go.

Thanks George, rest in peace, you've had a hell of a life.

The series would have made great graphic novels. Maybe at some point, someone will want to recycle the stuff for a new market.