Although it is neither sci-fi nor fantasy, I decided to add a little blurb about George MacDonald Fraser's Flashmanhere.
The title character, Harry Flashman, is not your typical hero. He's a coward, racist, rapist, and opportunist of the worst sort, and preserving his own skin is always first and foremost in his mind. The first of the Flashman books was published in 1969, before the political correctness had wormed its way into every facet of our lives. Harry Flashman is refreshingly despicable in many ways, but very amusing as well.
The first book is starts out in 1839 England and covers the early years of Harry's military career as he travels to India. If you like Kipling, you'll probably get a kick out of Flashman as well. Loads of fun.