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A small part of his vast international fan-base mostly deluded Americans continued to believe that the books were genuine historical documents and Macdonald Fraser merely their editor.From the early 1970s, on the back of Flashman's success, Mac Donald Fraser pursued a second and yet more lucrative career as a Hollywood screen-writer.Among other exploits he was promoted to lance-corporal on four occasions, but three times broken to private for minor infringements of army routine. Subsequently he was given a commission in the Gordon Highlanders and served with the regiment in the Middle East and North Africa, eventually leaving the army in 1947.This period in his life forms the back-drop to the semi-autobiographical "Mc Auslan" stories, collected in The General Danced at Dawn (1970), Mc Auslan in the Rough (1974) and The Sheikh and the Dustbin (1988).
This interest later produced two full-length novels (The Candlemass Road, 1993 and The Reivers, 2007) and a historical work, The Steel Bonnets (1971).Mac Donald Fraser came late to authorship: he was already in his mid-forties when the first Flashman novel inspired in P. Wodehouse what he called "that watcher-of-the-skies-when-a-new-planet stuff", with a quarter-century's military service and bread-and-butter journalism behind him.Though no one could have been more Scottish in his outward demeanour, George Mac Donald Fraser was a Carlisle doctor's son, and educated at the town's grammar school, before indifferent exam results prompted a relocation to Glasgow Academy.Unlike the conventional heroes of historical fiction, Flashman is a coward, a bully and a satyromaniacal philanderer. " Turned down by nearly every publisher in London, Flashman, which follows its anti-hero ingloriously through the Afghan War of 1841-42, was an instant success.The fistfuls of honours and decorations with which he is routinely showered (these include a General's rank, the Victoria Cross, the Queen's Medal and the thanks of Parliament) are invariably the result of grotesque accidents. In subsequent adventures, Flashman impersonates Danish royalty in a rewrite of The Prisoner of Zenda (Royal Flash, 1970), gets mixed up in the slave trade (Flash For Freedom!
He had married Kathleen Hetherington, a reporter on a rival paper, in 1949.