Just for the record, The Chronicles of Clovis has nothing whatever to do with the legendary French king. It is a collection of 30 extremely wry and witty short stories written by the inimitable Saki (the pen name for H.H. Munro). The setting is in the midst of upper class English society during the Edwardian Period, the period between the Boer War and World War when the British Empire reached it's peak. Devotees of Downton Abbey will find themselves on familiar ground, save for the slightly disconcerting presence of Clovis. Clovis Sangrail, the nominal central character about whom these stories revolve, is a typical Saki hero: young, vain, effete, worldly, slightly cruel, a bit decadent and extremely witty.
Included in this collection are some of Saki's very best works, including "Mrs. Packleetide's Tiger", "The Background", "The Jesting of Arlington Stingham", "Tobermory", "Sredni Vastar", "The talking-Out of Tarrington", "Filboid Studge" and "The Secret Sin of Septimus Brope".
Both Saki, and the world about which he wrote so well, came to an end during with World War I. Nevertheless, few writers have ever been able to achieve Saki's level of irony, satire, wit and sophistication. It was a terrible loss, both to Britain and the reading public everywhere, when Saki was killed on the Western Front in 1916.
There are good things which we want to share with the world and good things which we want to keep to ourselves. The secret of our favourite restaurant, to take a case, is guarded jealously from all but a few intimates; the secret, to take a contrary case, of our infallible remedy for seasickness is thrust upon every traveller we meet, even if he be no more than a casual acquaintance about to cross the Serpentine. So with our books. There are dearly loved books of which we babble to a neighbour at dinner, insisting that she shall share our delight in them; and there are books, equally dear to us, of which we say nothing, fearing lest the praise of others should cheapen the glory of our discovery.
About the Author
Saki was the pen name of the British writer Hector Hugh Munro (1870 1916). In addition to his short stories, of which he was an acknowledged master, he also wrote a full-length play, "The Watched Pot", in collaboration with Charles Maude; two one-act plays; a historical study, "The Rise of the Russian Empire"; a short novel, The Unbearable Bassington"; a parody of Alice in Wonderland", "The Westminster Alice"; and a fantasy about England under German occupation, When William Came".