Putting aside certain political questions, this is an engrossing and interesting story. When I read this the first time I was quite young and I can't believe that I appreciated it. Kipling is a better writer than I remember. I'm not about to go around claiming he's Conrad or anything, but I don't think I've given him his due before. It's a good tale. And I like how he doesn't dumb down the narrative. Fortunately, I had end notes!