George MacDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman books, has died at the age of 82. Fraser served as an infantryman in Burma and India during the second world war and later worked as a screenwriter and journalist, eventually becoming deputy editor of the Glasgow Herald. But it is for the 12 novels in the Flashman series that he will be best remembered
Launched in 1969, the books reimagined the later life of the bully in Thomas Hughes' Victorian classic Tom Brown's Schooldays. Purportedly based on packages of "rediscovered" documents, the novels depict a vain and cowardly rogue who fights, drinks and womanises his way around the British empire.
The first book was set in Afghanistan, with the eponymous hero emerging from the disastrous retreat from Kabul with his reputation enhanced. The last novel, Flashman on the March, published in 2005, was set during the Abyssinian Campaign of 1868. Fraser was an outspoken critic of recent British foreign policy, calling the invasion of Iraq "the foulest war crime that this country has ever perpetrated".
The series of books is undoubetedly collectable, with the first two in the series routinely selling for three figure sums.
Flashman (Herbert Jenkins, 1969)
Royal Flash (Barrie & Jenkins, 1970)
Flash for Freedom (Barrie & Jenkins, 1971)
Flashman at the Charge (Barrie & Jenkins, 1973)
Flashman in the Great Game (Barrie & Jenkins, 1975)
Flashman’s Lady (Barrie & Jenkins, 1977)
Flashman and the Redskins (Collins, 1982)
Flashman nad the Dragon (Collins, 1986)
Flashman and the Mountain of Light (Collins Harvill, 1990)
Flashman and the Angel of the Lord (Harvill Press, 1994)
Flashman and the Tiger (Harper Collins, 1999)
Flashman on the March (Harper Collins, 2005)