"A treat for both Sabatini readers and enthusiasts of stories of the French Revolution!"
Ranging from 1900 to 1916, the selection of stories included in this volume give a fair representation of Rafael Sabatini's earlier work.
The centerpiece of the collection, "The Camisade", first appeared in Cassell's Magazine of Fiction, May 1916. It deals with certain themes which would later appear in Scaramouche. One questions whether Sabatini may have begun to work upon an earlier version of Scaramouche at this time.
The earliest story in the collection is "The Coward", which was originally published in Pearson's Magazine, May 1900. Also from Pearson's Magazine, to which Sabatini contributed to regularly in the first years of the Twentieth Century, is "Mademoiselle de Castelroc". "Mademoiselle de Castelroc" was printed in 1904 and later expanded into the novel, "The Trampling of the Lilies".
"The Republic's Seal" appeared in Ainslee's Magazine, September 1901. It was reprinted in London Magazine the following August under the new title of "Under the Red Seal". Only in the past months has the earlier version of the story been uncovered and shown to differ from the later one in name alone. This recent research has uncovered not only stories previously believed lost but cases of magazines reprinting old Sabatini material over twenty years after it first appeared.
"The Ghost of Citizen Duvallon" is from an October 1903 issue of London Magazine. As far as is known, this story is not from an earlier source, though we cannot rule out the possibility.
This volume is rounded off with "The Baker of Rousillon" from Pall Mall Magazine, September 1906.
published by Michael Cummins, 2001
Even though these stories were published very early in his career, you can see how skilled Sabatini was in observing people and bringing those feelings to life in his writing. While the stories are set in post-Revolutionary France, the plots generally revolve around conflicted feelings and personal interactions. The politics of the time are a backdrop, a way for the former "upper" classes to interact with others on a level playing field.
Sabatini resists the temptation to make all the former nobles heroic, although many of the protagonists come from the former upper class. On the other hand, the former lower classes produce just as many sympathetic, identifiable characters.
These stories, like the best of Sabatini, are less about the glitter and swash of an undeniably romantic setting and more about conflicts with which modern-day, ordinary people might identify.
The Camisade was printed in a limited edition and is difficult to find. Since so few of the books were printed, it is doubtful you will find copies for resale. You can find The Baker of Rousillon and The Camisade on this site.