Horatio Hornblower? Wimp. Richard Sharpe? Peasant. When it comes to fictional British military figures, accept nothing less than Sir Harry Flashman.
Bully, coward, cad, thief and archenemy of decency everywhere, Flashman began life in Tom Brown's School Days, the 1857 novel by Thomas Hughes. Only in Fraser's hands, however, did he reach maturity, blossoming from mere adolescent bully to well-rounded adult scoundrel. Over 12 novels, Flashy commits all seven deadly sins across four continents. If there'd been glamorous, amorous babes in Antarctica, it would surely have been five.
Undoubtedly, tales of run-of-the-mill bravery have their place, but the grandeur of empire demands an epic villain. For this England, thankfully, there's this Lawrence of Amorality, this Duke of Wenchington. For he is a jolly bad fellow.
I work in Circulation, and have been a circulation assistant longer than I care to admit. Previously, I wrote for several obscure publications, all of them now defunct. When off-duty, I can usually be found with my wife in the pursuit of happiness, roller coasters and kimchi.