The novelist George MacDonald Fraser, author of the popular Flashman series of adventure stories, has died after a long battle against cancer.
The 82-year-old former soldier worked as a journalist for The Herald newspaper, then known as The Glasgow Herald, for many years.
He also wrote screenplays and a memoir of his experiences as an infantryman in the Burma campaign, but it is for his semi-historical novels based around Sir Harry Flashman that MacDonald Fraser will be best remembered.
The Flashman series is based on the bully character of Thomas Hughes' Victorian classic Tom Brown's Schooldays grown up and serving as an officer in the Army, fighting, drinking and womanising his way around the British Empire.
Each of the novels purports to come from packets of faux-autobiographical notes –the Flashman Papers – discovered in the 1960s. When the first instalment of these entirely fictional memoirs, created by MacDonald Fraser, first appeared in the US in 1969, around a third of its 40 reviewers believed they were a genuine historical find. One reviewer said that the works were "the most important discovery since the Boswell Papers".
Although many found Flashman's 19th-century racism and sexism distasteful, the books sold in huge numbers and MacDonald Fraser was praised for his attention to historical detail. He published the final book in the series in 1994.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
George MacDonald Fraser RIP
George MacDonald Fraser, author of the Flashman novels has died aged 82. From his obituary in The Independent: