John Updike on George MacDonald Fraser’s New Novel

From The New Yorker:

George MacDonald Fraser’s twelfth book about the Victorian rogue and soldier Flashman, finds both the author and the hero in dauntless fettle, the former as keen to invent perils and seducible women as the latter is, respectively, to survive and to seduce them. Fraser, an Englishman schooled in Scotland, served with the Highland Regiment in India, Africa, and the Middle East, before settling on the Isle of Man. He has written other fiction, plus history, autobiography, and film scripts, besides serving as Flashman’s assiduous editor; the series is presented, under the over-all title “The Flashman Papers,” as its protagonist’s memoirs, which need only a few footnotes and spelling corrections to become excellent entertainments. It was a brilliant stroke of Fraser’s, in the first volume, “Flashman” (1969), to retrieve a minor figure in Thomas Hughes’s greatly popular, intensely Christian best-seller “Tom Brown’s School Days” (1857) and reanimate him as a lauded though inadvertent hero in the service of the British Empire.

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