Once again Brigadier General Hannay is taken from the trenches of the front line to save his country on a desperate mission. This time he must find the genius behind a vast network of spies infiltrating English pacifists and conscientious objectors. Hannay finds the man only to have him evade capture at the last moment. However, this is only the beginning of a thrilling adventure which takes him back to Scotland for more exploits in the manner of The Thirty Nine Steps, to France again and on to Switzerland, pitting his wits against the mastermind behind the sinister organisation ‘the wild birds’.
All his old friends are with him and our hero has to convince Bullivant, Blenkiron, Peter Pienaar, and the love of his life, Mary Lamington, that he would recognise the chameleon like villain again who must be hunted down and destroyed to avoid defeat of the Allies. The riveting tale contains some chilling descriptions of ‘modern warfare’; the new weapon, gas; and comes to a climax with the brave antics of that new breed of men, the Royal Flying Corps.
(P)2008 Assembled Stories
"Peter Joyce is the most remarkable one-man band in audiobook publishing. Joyce, an experienced actor, reads them all himself." (The Independent)
About Assembled Stories: Over the years the national press have reviewed Assembled Stories titles as "excellent", "remarkable", "entrancing", "superb", "magic for sure", "masterly", "wonderful", "a class act" and "a splendid example of audio at its best".
Mr Standfast has so much going on in it that you really need to listen to it more than once. Buchan had really reached his stride by the time he came to this book and wove a compelling and intricate story around his hero and recurring characters.
I would say there is more wartime propaganda espoused in this than in any of the other books, but considering where the world was in the course of the first world war when this was written, that's perfectly understandable. I found the characters better rounded too. Even the newer characters introduced just in this book.
Another standout for me was the detail given to Hannay's friendship with his best friend Peter, when he went to nurse him back to health. Nowadays if an author tried to go into that detail everyone would be crying 'Gay', but there was no question in Mr Buchan's narrative of anything but a deep respect and regard for his closest confidante. That kind of writing is a rare and wonderful thing.
Along with the author's mastery of words was to immerse the reader (listener) in the taste and texture of life and war in those times.
As for the narrator, I can't speak highly enough. He did (for me at least) what few narrators seem able to do, and that is to present the story without a sense that he was doing anything but presenting a voice in my head to impart the progress of the characters and events they found themselves a part of. By this I mean, I forgot I was listening to someone else reading and simply absorbed the story much the same as I would if I were reading it to myself.
I highly recommend this book.
John Buchan is a great author! Thanks Audible for a great several hours. The reader Peter Joyce did a superb job. Please keep more Buchan books coming and have Peter Joyce read them! The adventures of Dickson McCunn for example. Thanks
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