Thursday, 4 September 2008

The Thirty Nine Steps

Title: The Thirty Nine Steps

Author: John Buchan

Number of pages: 126

Started: 4 September 2008

Finished: 4 September 2008

Opening words:

I returned from the City about three o’clock on that May afternoon pretty well disgusted with life. I had been three months in the Old Country, and was fed up with it. If anyone had told me a year ago that I would have been feeling like that I should have laughed at him; but there was the fact. The weather made me liverish, the talk of the ordinary Englishman made me sick, I couldn’t get enough exercise, and the amusements of London seemed as flat as soda- water that has been standing in the sun. ’Richard Hannay,’ I kept telling myself, ’you have got into the wrong ditch, my friend, and you had better climb out.’

Plot summary:

Richard Hannay has just returned to England after years in South Africa and is thoroughly bored with his life in London. But then a murder is committed in his flat, just days after a chance encounter with an American who had told him about an assassination plot which could have dire international consequences. An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target for the killers, Hannay goes on the run in his native Scotland where he will need all his courage and ingenuity to stay one step ahead of his pursuers.

Summary taken from Amazon.

What I thought:

I enjoyed this book, which was a speedy and engaging read about a man on the run who is caught up in a major plot involving government’s and murders and a whole lot of things on between. In many ways it is a bit of a Boy’s Own adventure and Buchan himself said he wrote the novel of “where the incidents defy the probabilities, and march just inside the borders of the possible”. I read the whole book during a long train journey to Scotland, which was a good time to read it given that part of the story involves a train journey to Scotland and then Hannay’s attempts to evade his hunters. Well worth a read.

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