Despite being the third of Churchill's works to be published Savrola was actually the first that he started writing, in the summer of 1897. However, since both The Story of the Malakand Field Force and The River War dealt with far more topical subjects they took priority on the schedule, and Savrola was not published until the end of 1899. It is also tempting to think that the kind of reputation Churchill was seeking from his writing was far better served by accounts of the campaigns he was serving in.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Churchill poured his maturing political philosophy into the character of his hero Savrola. It has been been argued that this lifts the novel from the 'Ruritanian romance' genre and makes it one of Churchill's most significant literary efforts. I disagree with this. For all its psychological insights those insights are significant only because of who the author was. Written by an unknown author this book would be lost to history today. It's a moderately fun read, but at heart remains a 'Ruritanian romance' and has dated badly when read through modern eyes.
The French A la Voile Latine edition published unbound in a slipcase is generally agreed to be one of the most beautiful of all the Churchill trade editions. The good news is that the Andre Collot woodcuts from that volume are to be re-issued in the upcoming St. Augustine's press edition.
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