Flashman creator George MacDonald Fraser, Jan. 2 George MacDonald Fraser, a British writer whose popular novels about the arch-rogue Harry Flashman followed the hero as he galloped, swashbuckled, drank and womanized his way through many of the signal events of the 19th century, died on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2008, on the Isle of Man. He was 82 and had made his home there in recent years. Flashman, first published in 1969, introduced Flashman as he fought, drank and womanized his way across the British Empire, Europe and the United States, playing a pivotal role in the century's great historical moments. A vain, cowardly rogue, Flashman nonetheless emerged from each episode covered in glory, rising to the rank of medal-garlanded brigadier general. Fraser thought his antihero's appeal was not surprising. "People like rascals; they like rogues," Fraser told the BBC in 2006. "I was always on the side of the villain when I was a child and went to the movies. I wanted Basil Rathbone to kill Errol Flynn."
New York Times/HarperCollins, file