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The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
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The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915)

by John Buchan

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Richard Hannay stories (1)

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3,9231441,839 (3.53)488
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English (141)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (144)
Showing 1-5 of 141 (next | show all)
This is the book that Colonel Mustard is reading through his monocle as he sips his sherry and smokes his cigar in the library: it's that British. A ripping yarn, a jolly good show about a gadabout who--I say!--gets embroiled in a farrago and has a deuce of a time getting out of it. I read it because I like the Hitchcock film so much; it's interesting to see what was added, changed, and cut--such as that, in the novel, the reader actually learns what "the 39 steps" really are. (In the film, we're only told, "An international organization of spies," which doesn't make any sense: why not "the 39 spies?" or ask, "Steps to where?") Very entertaining and silly in all the right ways, as well as the kind of book I finish and am glad to know that its author made a great deal of money from it. The film is better, but if you like the film, give this a read. ( )
  Stubb | Aug 28, 2018 |
dventurer Richard Hannay, just returned from South Africa, is thoroughly bored with London life-until he is accosted by a mysterious American, who warns him of an assassination plot that could completely destabalise the fragile political balance of Europe. Initially sceptical, Hannay nonetheless harbours the man-but one dayreturns home to find him murdered... An obvious suspect, Hannay flees to his native Scotland, pursued by both the police and a cunning, ruthless enemy. His life and the security of Britan are in grave peril, and everything rests on the solution to a baffling enigma: what are the 'thirty nine steps?'
  JESGalway | Apr 16, 2018 |
This protagonist drinks a lot of scotch, but he has it with soda/watered down so he's maybe not the biggest connoisseur. Yet, I was still waiting for the part of the book where he discovers the Thirty-Nine Steps of enjoying Whisk(e)y. It's an insult that the protagonist goes to Scotland and this is never even mentioned. Here's a Johnnie on you ol' John; I need it after reading this.
  Derezzination | Jan 28, 2018 |
The Thirty-Nine Steps is on many "best of" reading lists plus movie versions it lives on forever. Really though it's an artifact of 1914, when paranoia about German spies ran high and citizens found themselves thrust into the open and on the run, so to speak, in the trenches of France. It was the perfect book for the moment as people strove to understand how the great calamity came about - invasion of England by German spies. Add in the latest technology of airplanes and secret codes etc.. it's like a 1915 version of what James Bond did for the Cold War. An important and influential book in the thriller/mystery genre it was one of the first "man on the run" thrillers which are so common now. As a story it's not aging so well but remains readable and condensed enough for a single day or two. Plus the movies are online for free.
2 vote Stbalbach | Jan 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 141 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (62 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Buchan, JohnAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ardizzone, EdwardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorey, EdwardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harvie, ChristopherEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hynynen, AnssiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Praetzellis, AdrianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorn, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Among the first espionage thrillers and an acknowledged classic, The Thirty-Nine Steps well deserves its accolades as one of the best adventure stories of all time. Leaving aside the improbable denouement, the fast paced, brilliantly conceived narrative still excites and carries one along with the sheer suspense of the manhunt - a recurring theme in literature - and Hannay’s struggle against the evil that is the ‘Black Stone'.
May 1914: Europe is close to war and spies are everywhere. Richard Hannay has arrived back in London to begin a new life, when a spy called Scudder asks for help to uncover a German plot to murder the Greek prime minister in London and to steal British plans for the outbreak of war. He claims to be following a ring of German spies called the Black Stone. A few days later, Scudder is murdered. Hannay is forced to continue Scudder’s work and is chased across Scotland both by police and German spies. The solution to the mysterious phrase 'Thirty-Nine Steps' is a thread that runs through the whole story.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141441178, Paperback)

A gripping tale of adventure that has enthralled readers since it was first published, John Buchan's "The Thirty-Nine Steps" is edited with an introduction and notes by Sir John Keegan in "Penguin Classics". Adventurer Richard Hannay has just returned from South Africa and is thoroughly bored with his London life - until a spy is murdered in his flat, just days after having warned Hannay of an assassination plot that could plunge Britain into a war with Germany. An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target for the killers, Hannay picks up the trail left by the assassins, fleeing to Scotland, where he must use all his wits to stay one step ahead of the game - and warn the government before it is too late. One of the most popular adventure stories ever written, "The Thirty-Nine Steps" established John Buchan as the original thriller writer and inspired many other novelists and filmmakers including Alfred Hitchcock. In his introduction to this edition, historian Sir John Keegan compares Buchan's life - his experiences in South Africa, his love of Scotland and his moral integrity - with his fictional hero. This edition also includes notes, a chronology and further reading. John Buchan (1875-1940) was born in Perth, and first began writing at Oxford University, producing two volumes of essays, four novels and two collections of stories and poems before the age of twenty-five. During the First World War he worked both as a journalist and at Britain's War Propaganda Bureau, eventually becoming Director of Information. He published his most popular novel, "The Thirty-Nine Steps", in 1915 - and it has never since been out of print. If you enjoyed "The Thirty-Nine Steps", you might like G.K. Chesterton's "The Man Who Was Thursday", also available in "Penguin Classics". "Richard Hannay is...a modern knight-errant". ("Observer"). "Once you've started, you can't put the book down". (Stella Rimington).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:01 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

Richard Hannay, a mining engineer, 'retires' at the age of 37, having made his fortune in Africa. He finds London dull, until he becomes caught up in a sensational plot to precipitate a pan-European war. Hannay is at first disinclined to believe the young American, with his incredible tales of international intrigue, and hints of a terrible secret. But when the American turns up dead in Hannay's flat, Hannay is forced to flee the attentions of both the conspirators and the law. Hannay is hunted across the Scottish moors by police and spy-ring alike, and must outwit his intelligent and pitiless enemy in the corridors of Whitehall and, finally, at the site of the mysterious thirty-nine steps.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141441178, 0141031263, 0141194723

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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