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The Thirty-Nine Steps (Dover Thrift Editions) Reprint Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 330 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0486282015
ISBN-10: 0486282015
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint edition (October 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486282015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486282015
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (330 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 7, 1997
Format: Hardcover
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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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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Format: Paperback
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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