The Flashman Papers

date of publication:  1970

The Flashman Papers is a series of novels and short stories written by George MacDonald Fraser, the first of which was published in 1969. The books centre on the exploits of the fictional protagonist Harry Flashman. He is a cowardly British soldier, rake and cad who is placed in a series of real historical incidents between 1839 and 1894. While the incidents and much of the detail in the novels have a factual background, Flashman's actions in the stories are either fictional, or Fraser uses the actions of unidentified individuals and assigns them to Flashman. Flashman is a character in the 1857 novel by Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown's School Days; Hughes' version of the character is a bully at Rugby School who is expelled for drunkenness. The character was then developed by Fraser, and appeared in the 1969 novel Flashman. Fraser went on to write a total of eleven novels and one collection of short stories featuring the character. During the course of Fraser's novels, Flashman goes from his expulsion from school into the army. Although he is a coward who tries to run away from any danger, he is involved in many famous military episodes from the 19th century, often taking actions that cause or affect subsequent events, such as his flatulence affecting the Charge of the Light Brigade, or being the person who probably shot George Armstrong Custer. When circumstances run against him and he is forced to fight, he often does so bravely and capably. Despite his cowardice and his attempts to flee, he becomes a decorated war hero and rises to the rank of brigadier-general. He also meets people who either were notable at the time—such as Benjamin Disraeli and the Duke of Wellington—or who became well known after Flashman met them—such as Abraham Lincoln. Flashman either has, or tries to have, sex with most of the female characters: by the end of the ninth book he estimates that he has had sex with 480 women. The publication sequence of the books differs from the fictional chronology, with the time frame of some books overlapping. One of the novels, Flashman and the Redskins, is in two parts: part one takes place in 1849–50, while the second covers 1875–76. Although the main series of stories finishes in 1894, Flashman lives on until 1915 and appears in his late 80s in another Fraser novel, Mr American. Source: Wikipedia (en)

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