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Three Hostages [Paperback]

John Buchan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Jan. 1 1953
A charismatic but dangerous adversary stands between Richard Hannay and his mission to free the three hostages. The author also wrote "The Thirty-Nine Steps", "Greenmantle", "Mr Standfast" and "The Island of Sheep".

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Product Description

From Library Journal

This early (1924) spy adventure is one of five Buchan novels featuring the heroic Richard Hannay. Hannay is called out of retirement to rescue the kidnapped offspring of three highly placed British citizens. Hannay soon uncovers a global syndicate supporting a single man who has notions of world domination. The story suffers from exaggerated descriptions of its characters. For instance, the kidnapper, Medina, is not just a good shot, he's the best shot in England next to the King. The British are portrayed as wonderful people, but other races fare less well. Yet the story is undoubtedly good fun and is enhanced by the modulated voice and subtle characterizations of British actor Edmund Dehn. For large suspense collections.
Mark Pumphrey, Polk Cty. P.L., Columbus, N.C.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.


'Between Kipling and Fleming stands John Buchan … the father of the modern spy thriller.' (Christopher Hitchens) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perennial favorite of mine! Sept. 12 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
John Buchan is more famous for "The 39 steps" (several movie versions) but, to me, The Three hostages is a much more exciting and interesting. I find the theme of hypnotism, the character of Medina, Richard Hannay, and the kidnapped all most intriguing. Great story, great characters.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thanks, Wordsworth! April 2 2001
By Joseph W. Smith - Published on
Kudos to Wordsworth Classics for keeping these four books in print -- affordable, too! I've now read all but one of the Hannay adventures (this one, plus "39 Steps" and "Mr. Standfast") and thoroughly enjoyed them all. "Hostages" moves a bit slower and doesn't have quite as much "local flavor" as the others; but it's a fine book, with much to recommend it and much to remember.
I enjoyed especially the respectful portrait of Hannay's wife, every bit as smart and tough as he -- quite surprising in an era (and culture) that I had assumed would be somewhat chauvinistic -- and a real relief from other spy stories in which the women simply scream helplessly until The Man comes along. Mind you, I have no political agenda -- and indeed am quite conservative about gender roles; but I just find it so much more sensible and realistic when women characters act like human beings!
"Hostages" is also remarkably prescient about the onset of WW2, and how Hitler would try to rule the world not merely through brute force but through propaganda and mass hysteria. There is also some fine thematic development here, esp. the notion that a spy mission may achieve "success" without "victory."
But the best thing about the book is its final chapter; as in "Standfast," "Hostages" has a split climax; the main conflict is resolved about 35 pages before the end of the book, and then there's a further, more nitty-gritty, down-to-earth duel at the end. Fantastic!
These books are great for folks looking for good old-fashioned adventure like James Bond, but without the girls and the violence.
Highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Period Thriller Dec 6 2012
By J. R. Trtek - Published on
This is Buchan's fourth novel featuring Richard Hannay, hero of The Thirty-Nine Steps, and if you can pretend you are a somewhat naive reader in the 1920s and just sit back and enjoy the ride as if it were an old movie serial, you'll probably enjoy it very much. The story is set after World War I, with Hannay settled down, married and with a son. Manipulative evil still prowls the world, however, and Hannay's old spy boss Bullivant calls him out of retirement to deal with one threat in particular. As you can guess from the title, there is hostage-taking -- three times over -- and enigmatic clues to decipher and underlings to ferret out. Espionage jack-of-all-trades Sandy Arbuthnot is in on the action, as is Hannay's wife Mary, and an old wartime acquaintance of Hannay's makes an appearance as well. Admittedly, portions are melodramatic and hokey by today's standards, but it's still a rollicking good read, right up to the final confrontation between Hannay and his nemesis du jour.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is a great story, but... Oct. 21 2010
By D. Drake - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story is pretty good, but paying 4 dollars for an ebook that is filled with the same errors and lack of pagination as the free Project Gutenberg version is ridiculous. What a waste of money...
3 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little bizzare Feb. 15 2002
By A Customer - Published on
I have enjoyed many of John Buchan's novels: The Thirty Nine Steps, John McNab, Huntingtower (especially amusing), The Island of Sheep. But this Richard Hannay novel is rather strange, involving the use of hypnotism as a means to gain political power. Most of his novels are rather far-fetched, but fun. I'd give this one a miss though. Really out-there!
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