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The Thirty-Nine Steps [Kindle Edition]

John Buchan
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $3.00
Kindle Price: $0.99
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Book Description

• John Buchan fans will enjoy this trilogy of classic espionage novels, all involving Richard Hannay and set in the period before or during World War I: The Thirty-Nine Steps, Mr. Standfast & Greenmantle

The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915)
Richard Hannay is framed for the death of Colonel Scudder and must clear his name while trying to foil the plans of sleeper agents who want to murder a visiting foreign minister.

Greenmantle (1916)
Richard Hannay must investigate a possible uprising in the Muslim world and undertakes a perilous journey through enemy territory.

Mr Standfast (1919)
Richard Hannay deciphers coded messages using a copy of Pilgrim's Progress as he investigates a German spy ring operating in Britain and abroad.

About The Author
John Buchan (1875 – 1940) was a Scottish novelist, historian and Unionist politician who served as Governor General of Canada.
After a brief legal career, Buchan simultaneously began his writing career and his political and diplomatic career, serving as a private secretary to the colonial administrator of various colonies in Southern Africa. He wrote propaganda for the British war effort in the First World War. Buchan was in 1927 elected Member of Parliament for the Combined Scottish Universities, but he spent most of his time on his writing career, notably writing The Thirty-Nine Steps and other adventure fiction. In 1935 he was appointed Governor General of Canada by King George V, on the recommendation of Prime Minister of Canada R. B. Bennett. He occupied the post until his death in 1940.
Buchan proved to be enthusiastic about literacy, as well as the evolution of Canadian culture, and he received a state funeral in Canada before his ashes were returned to the United Kingdom.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A full cast delivers a gripping performance of John Buchan's classic tale of espionage and intrigue. When Richard Hannay discovers a dead body in his apartment, he's dragged into a dark and dangerous world of global politics, secret societies, and undercover agents. Accused of murder and with the fate of the British fleet resting in his hands, Hannay must elude the police and foreign spies, decode a cryptic notebook, and convince the enigmatic Sir Walter Bullivant to believe his incredible tale. David Robb dazzles as Hannay, delivering a gritty, nuanced performance of a man living a nightmare, and with the addition of dramatic music and a host of pitch-perfect sound effects, this audiobook is highly enjoyable and highly recommended. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


It is the dimension of the mysterious that makes Buchan’s writing so unfailingly compelling. (John Keegan, from the introduction) --introduction

Product Details

  • File Size: 1188 KB
  • Print Length: 635 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Pearl Necklace Books; 1 edition (September 14, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,197 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can be re read indefinitely! August 7, 1997
By A Customer
An effortless adventure classic that spans the void between dime shocker and quality literature. The rapid elaboration of the plot, that is so well known that it has passed many images into popular conciousness, is still satisfying after many reads. Richard Hannay returned to England, after making his fortune in South Africa, is unwillingly ensnared in a tortured plot to assassinate Karolides the Greek premier and so plunge Europe into war. Scudder, an American journalist turned spy has coded information relating to the plot but is murdered in Hannay's luxurious flat before he can pass on the code. Hannay, with all fingers pointing to him as the murderer escapes by Scottish express and with Scudder's coded notebook .Decamping from the train in the Sottish lowlands ( the Forth Bridge escape from the train was created with the 1935 Hitchcock film adaptation ) he is pursued across hill and dale by the police and the enemy agents intent on seizeing the notebook. In his flight he holes up in a remote wayside inn with a literary inn keeper, who can quote Kipling. It is here that he masters the code and learns Scudder's secrets. From then on it's a race to get to London and notify the authorities. One of the brilliant scenes on the way, concerns Hannay posing as road mender to evade his pursuers. To do this, Hannay explains how you must become one with the environment you're using as a cover; one of Buchans's favourite ploys and one employed in many of his novels.
Hannay exchanges pursued for pursuer and tracks the agents to their escape channel and ultimately the title of the book is explained. Every reading of this splendid and timeless novel reveals further delights that may have been missed before and even well remembered scenes take on a fresh vividness and charm. My praise may seem fulsome but after experiencing 'The Thirty Nine Steps' you too will be won over
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brisk espionage adventure May 14, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
John Buchan's novel The Thirty-Nine Steps is the prototype of the modern thriller novel, what he called a "shocker." In it, Buchan introduced Richard Hannay, the prototype of the resourceful, intelligent, and tenacious hero of the modern thriller. And while the story may not be as intricate or exciting as its descendents', The Thirty-Nine Steps still succeeds at what Buchan set out to do--entertain.

The novel's story is very straightforward--Hannay, recently returned to "the Old Country" of England from a life spent in Africa, finds himself thoroughly bored with his new life in London. After an American spy is murdered in his apartment, Hannay finds himself on the run not only from the police, who believe him to be the murderer, but from a mysterious and malevolent organization called "The Black Stone." The Black Stone has a secret it wants to keep hidden, and eliminating Hannay would help them keep their cover.

From London into the Scottish countryside, pursued by detectives, sinister Germans in touring cars, and newfangled "aeroplanes," The Thirty-Nine Steps never stops moving, and even at its conclusion one barely has a chance to catch their breath. The story is so gripping I can easily see how it caught Alfred Hitchcock's attention as film material.

The novel is fast-moving and short--barely 100 pages. I read this book in a few hours at a slow deskjob. If I have to find fault with any one part of the book, it's that the conclusion--indeed, the very last half-page or so--didn't make perfect sense. I had to read it twice. But that's only a small problem for this otherwise fun and exciting book.

Almost a century of imitators and innovators in the spy and espionage genres--from Ian Fleming to Tom Clancy--owe Buchan a great debt. Buchan paved the way for these later authors with shockers like The Thirty-Nine Steps and its hero, Richard Hannay.

Recommended rainy-day reading.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spymaster Who Writes Spy Novels December 20, 2003
It was not until recently that actor Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and others learned and revealed the information that John Buchan, author of "The Thirty-nine Steps" as well as the highly successful Greenmantle series, had been the head of the secretive British domestic intelligence agency which parallels the FBI in the United States, MI-5. With that knowledge it is increasingly easier to see how the Scotland-born Buchan was able to write such penetrating spy stories, which contain such a strong tone of believability.
"The Thirty-nine Steps" traces the activities of Richard Hannay into the world of master spies. This gripping first person account details how an innocent was drawn into the grimy world of espionage after an American called Scudder who lived in his Portland Place apartment building contacted him one day, telling him he was about to be assassinated by a group of master spies. When the act is accomplished Hannay becomes a sought after potential victim as the spy group fears what he might know about their enterprise. He is also pursued by police as a murder suspect in Scudder's death.
Hannay, a former international mining engineer, tells adventure stories about his foreign experiences and uses common sense resourcefulness to prevent the police from arresting him as the suspected killer of Scudder and the spy masters who want him dead for what he might have learned from his former neighbor Scudder.
Buchan, a former mountain climber and a distinct man of action, presents Hannay as a man much like himself, using mental and physical resourcefulness to stay out of harm's path. Scotsman Buchan presents excellent descriptions of chase sequences in the Scottish moors as Hannay hides in and steps through heather and brush, eluding those who chase him.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Only worthwhile as an example of an early mystery story
Thought its cultural reputation exceeded its content value.
Published 19 days ago by Vic Ridgley
5.0 out of 5 stars glad I did
Always wanted to read this book, glad I did.
Published 26 days ago by Michael Wilhelm
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
This was so much better than anything I've read recently. This book was a nice departure from the self published drivel that drowns the Kindle store.
Published 1 month ago by Douglas D Snyder
5.0 out of 5 stars Far better than the film
An adventure classic no one should miss! Far better than the film...
Published 2 months ago by Wanda B. Elder
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a classic story. One of the first mystery ...
It's a classic story. One of the first mystery books I read 40 years ago that hooked me on mysteries.
Published 2 months ago by Karl J. Kuessel
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 2 months ago by Adam Golabek
1.0 out of 5 stars If it were any slower...
...time would stop. I know it's considered a classic, but I found it a terrible slog. Hitchcock's film version takes liberties with Buchan's storyline, but it's infinitely better,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Wreditor
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it and will read more of his work
This was my first time reading this author's work and I was held captivated from the start. I was constantly trying to guess who the actual spies were and trying to plot how the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by greyfox
2.0 out of 5 stars Not that great (for me)
I don't know if a book is a classic or a great book just because it is old but I didn't like this book. I am sure many will disagree with me. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bishop
2.0 out of 5 stars move pretty smartly along from start to finish
After all the Serious Literature I've been reading lately, I thought I'd reward my brain with some literary fast food in the form of a classic spy thriller. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Holly
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