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The 39 Steps [Hardcover]

John Buchan , Toby Buchan
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 17.95
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2011 1843175932 978-1843175933 Reprint
One of the most exciting 'chase thrillers' ever published, and a huge influence not only on spy fiction, but on Hollywood as well, The 39 Steps is a book which has captured the imagination of audiences for decades. It was written by acclaimed Scottish author John Buchan, who inspired the writing of other great British novelists, including Graham Greene, Ian Fleming and John le Carre. The 39 Steps remains his most famous work. It is the first of five novels featuring Richard Hannay, an all-action hero with a steely determination and an extraordinary knack for getting himself out of sticky situations. The novel charts the electrifying story of an ordinary man caught up in a sinister international plot. Re-packaged as a striking hardback, it is an edition to be cherished by any fan of the book, or anyone just discovering Buchan's work.

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Product Details

Product Description


This latest edition of the novel has been redesigned, resulting in an authentic looking cloth-bound book... Exciting and thrilling, this should be read by all The Sun A spiffing, well-loved Boy's Own sort of read The Daily Mail A handsome new edition Tribune

About the Author

John Buchan was a Scottish diplomat, barrister, journalist, historian, poet and novelist. He published nearly 30 novels and seven collections of short stories. He was born in Perth, an eldest son, and studied at Glasgow and Oxford. In 1901 he became a barrister of the Middle Temple and a private secretary to the High Commissioner for South Africa. In 1907 he married Susan Charlotte Grosvenor and they subsequently had four children. After spells as a war correspondent, Lloyd George's Director of Information and Conservative MP, Buchan moved to Canada in 1935. He served as Governor General there until his death in 1940. Stuart Kelly is the Literary Editor of Scotland on Sunday. He is the author of Scott-land and The Book of Lost Books, and has contributed to The Decadent Handbook, Alasdair Gray: Critical Appreciations and the Scottish Goverment's Introducing Scottish Literature. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An immensely entertaining adventure story! Sept. 10 2009
Richard Hannay, a former Scotsman, has been in South Africa for some time working as a mining engineer. Now returned to the UK and living in a small flat in London, he meets journalist Franklin Scudder, a stranger who, claiming to be afraid for his very life, spins him a tale of his discovery of a complex anarachist plot to de-stabilize Europe and plunge it into a multi-national war by assassinating the Greek premier during an upcoming visit to London. With some reservations, Hannay allows Scudder to hide in his flat.

A few days later, when Hannay finds Scudder murdered with a knife in his heart, he realizes the truth behind Scudder's story and takes to his heels. Scotland Yard will be after him as the only plausible suspect in Hannay's murder and Hannay also realizes that the anarchists will be after him next because they won't know what Scudder might have told him. With Scudder's pocket book in hand, the only thing that contains the clues to his research into the plot, Hannay takes a train north planning to take refuge in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands. His only plan is to come out of hiding at the last minute before Karolides' visit in order to reveal the plot to the British government.

There is no doubt that "The Thirty-Nine Steps" is a staunchly British, well written, exciting and immensely entertaining adventure story that tells the tale of a man on the run in fear of his life. Richard Hannay is also depicted as a courageous patriot who selflessly puts his country's and his government's national interests and security ahead of his own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just Plain Fun! March 13 2004
Format:School & Library Binding
This is one of those short novels that is just a fun read. The main character is taken on a journey that leads him away from the boredom he was experiencing in London. It is a simple first-person story with a very interesting writing style. John Buchan manages to make the "rookie-happenstance-spy being chased by everyone" story work without a hitch.
I wish I had read this novel sooner. I believe it is a must read for anyone interested in good literature and storytelling. I felt like the main character, Richard Hannay, was telling me the story as he puffed on his tobacco pipe. Hannay is like a man trapped in a giant rolling snowball...cept' he's enjoying the wild ride and ignoring the eventual crash.
Buchan made the suspense, the landscape, and the travel blend together in a very well-rounded adventure. I have never seen the movie adaptation, but will definitely look for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Pulp Fiction Oct. 21 2008
Call it a dime novel, call it a thriller, or, as they do in the foreward, a "shocker". Whatever you call it, this Bond-esque short novel is great fun on the face of it, with a by chance, against all odds man of the world getting caught up in and drubbed about by larger forces.

Interestingly written about the genesis of WWI in 1915, the author later went on to become Governor General of Canada (1930). Just adds a little more intrigue to a great little book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A thrill-a-minute... Nov. 26 2009
By D Glover TOP 500 REVIEWER
OK, so this little adventure novel is light on character development and short on complexity. Current tastes seem to favor spider web-like plots and multi-layered subplots along with underlying and conflicting motivations in the respective psyches of the protagonists and villains and the resultant blurring of boundaries between good and evil. This is not that.

This is a simple, straight forward, face value story where the good guy is not only good but honest, noble and innocent and the bad guys are not only bad but scheming, persistent and mysterious. Far from being a weakness, this is perhaps the central charm of this tale. This story is thrill-a-minute, good clean fun, with coded messages, agents in disguise, foot chases through London streets, and hide and seek on the sprawling Scottish moors. It is light but good quality entertainment sprinkled with some genuinely charming mood and description (good cinematography, to mix mediums). Is it a classic? In its way, yes. This would have fired the imaginations of every boy from 10 to 25 (and up) when it was published. If you are still boyish at heart and would like a good escapist read that feels like a spy film from the 30s - 60s (reminiscent of The Man Who Knew Too Much), this is it. And its short enough to read in one or two longish sittings.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Seminal British thriller. Sept. 4 2003
A breezy little read, John Buchan's "The 39 Steps" was quite the success in its' day, and has apparently never been out of print.
The book is an example of an author being not so concerned where the story ends, but in having a lot of fun actually getting there.
Hitchcock's film, liberally quoted in other reviews, is a marvel, and should be required viewing by pretty much everyone. But it's about 50% different than the novel, keeping about half of the stuff found between these pages.
That makes reading the novel after seeing the film an unexpectedly surprising experience. The plot justs gallops along, one adventure and colorful character after another. Buchan's evocative and picturesque Scottish highlands breathe. His cocky hero, Richard Hannay, is a joy to follow. I had no idea there are FOUR subsequent novels featuring Hannay, which I now proudly own, in spectacular Folio editions!
One last thing: the "anti-Semitism" mentioned comes only from the decidedly evil character (and is totally within character), and not seen anywhere else in the novel.
This is not a classic in the "heavy, literal, dense, highbrow" sense. This is a classic that you can imagine thousands of people, early in this century, having just the best time reading.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I remember reading it many years ago. When I ...
I remember reading it many years ago. When I recently saw the movie I decided I had to read it again.
Published 26 days ago by George Vanderwerf
5.0 out of 5 stars A good, exciting
Amazingly prescient. A good, exciting, intriguing read.
Published 26 days ago by Kittyhawk
4.0 out of 5 stars A Romp Through the Highlands
An excellent introduction to the Buchan style of descriptive narrative that takes you though the Scottish wilds. Read more
Published on Sept. 13 2006 by Kelley Charlebois
4.0 out of 5 stars High-quality potboiler of the Edwardian era
John Buchan claims to have written this fast-paced "dime novel" while recovering from an illness. The story of how Richard Hannay stumbles upon and then escapes from a pre-WWI... Read more
Published on Sept. 3 2003 by bensmomma
3.0 out of 5 stars The Adventures of a Super-Sherlock
This 1915 espionage thriller will delight fans of Conon Doyle with a chain of "adventures" involving a chase, disguises, roll playing, an impossible escape, secret code, warplans,... Read more
Published on Dec 9 2002 by Scroop Moth
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book that became an even greater film!
A great espionage thriller, involving danger, murder, and the future of England, set just before World War I. The pace is fast, and it makes for a quick but enthralling read. Read more
Published on Nov. 24 2002 by meiringen
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't live up to its potential
I picked up the Dover Thrift Edition of this novel on the basis of the back cover blurb; I've never seen the film, so I didn't know what to expect except some atmospheric chases... Read more
Published on June 2 2002 by Henry Ehrman
4.0 out of 5 stars Get the Dover Thrift Edition of the 39 steps
Not bad. Voice certainly recalls Robert Donat's portrayal of the protagonist in the Hitchcock movie. Read more
Published on May 15 2002 by Amazon Customer
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