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The Thirty-Nine Steps | [John Buchan]

The Thirty-Nine Steps

Richard Hannay, Buchan's hero in this 1915 thriller, stumbles across a dark plot to attack England by the German Reich (of World War I vintage) but has to flee when his discovery becomes known. He then engages in several hot pursuits and narrow, if theatrical, escapes, but all's well that ends well.
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Publisher's Summary

Richard Hannay, Buchan's hero in this 1915 thriller, stumbles across a terrorist plot to destabilize Europe. A British spy in the mold of James Bond, Hannay is an action man with a polished veneer. After a series of murders, Hannay takes up the cause when he has to go on the run. A thrilling series of events come to an exciting conclusion.

Table of Contents

Chapter 01: The Man who Died

Chapter 02: The Milkman Sets Out on his Travels

Chapter 03: The Adventure of the Literary Innkeeper

Chapter 04: The Adventure of the Radical Candidate

Chapter 05: The Adventure of the Spectacled Roadman

Chapter 06: The Adventure of the Bald Archaeologist

Chapter 07: The Dry-Fly Fisherman

Chapter 08: The Coming of the Black Stone

Chapter 09: The Thirty-Nine Steps

Chapter 10: Various Parties Converging on the Sea

John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir (1875–1940) was a Scottish novelist, short story writer, biographer and diplomat.

The son of a minister, Buchan was born in Perth, Scotland. Buchan won a scholarship to Oxford and received several writing awards while studying classic literature. After traveling the world in diplomatic circles, Buchan spent time running for political office, publishing a magazine and writing spy thrillers.

After success in many arenas and impressing many with his contributions during WWI, Buchan was appointed Governor General of Canada, where he served until his death. Upon his appointment, King George V, made him a peer.

(P)2006 Alcazar AudioWorks

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  •  
    Ronna United States 08-06-13
    Ronna United States 08-06-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Great classic mystery"

    THE 39 STEPS by John Buchan is a classic mystery of political intrigue before WW2. Richard Hannay is feeling board in his apartment in London, when a stranger comes telling a tale of intrigue. When a dead body is found in Hannay's room, he goes on the run, trying to fulfill the stranger's job of warning the English of impending danger. Many close calls keep Hannay on the run. He much convince the powers to be that he knows what he's talking about, and catch the German spies.

    This classic mystery is well done with many small adventures with every chapter. Hitchcock did a great film of this story of espionage and intrigue just before WW2. Without car chases, computers, or many fire arms that make up so many of today's thrillers, Buchan maintains a great pace in this book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ch Portland, OR USA 09-11-07
    ch Portland, OR USA 09-11-07 Member Since 2002

    I love to read and hope you do too! Audio books are great for people on the go!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyable escapism"

    I enjoyed the historical setting/context of this book.
    I thought the reader did an excellent job.
    I could well imagine Alfred Hitchcock making a movie of this -- it was fast paced and mysterious in parts.
    I could detect influences of other writers of his time.
    The only complaint I might make is that the book's plot is a bit simplistic compared to contemporary suspense work.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy J Tornado Alley OK 12-24-13
    Nancy J Tornado Alley OK 12-24-13 Member Since 2011

    Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Classic Espionage Novel"

    Most of us who love mystery and suspense stories have seen at least one dramatization of "The Fifteen Steps", whether on stage, in movies, or in a television performance. The productions I have seen have made substantial changes from the original book.

    For instance, those productions all left me with the impression that the story was set in the period immediately before World War Two. In fact, this story was published in 1915 and involves the period leading up to the FIRST World War. And the most radical change from the book is the addition in many versions of a lovely young woman who accompanies the hero in his frantic dash across England in an attempt to foil the plans of a band of conspirators who want to begin a war by assassinating a foreign official.

    This original version of the story was a great listening experience, with excellent narration by David Thorn, who handled various regional dialects and foreign accents with great skill. At the price (only $1.95 for members), you will get more than your money's worth.

    Highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rollin Cholula, Mexico 03-27-12
    Rollin Cholula, Mexico 03-27-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A classic mystery, well narrated"

    John Buchan's mysteries are well known to older generations but not so to younger readers. So bravo to Audible for distributing this classic tale. The thirty nine steps is the story of a "colonial" Britisher recently returned to London and finding himself in the middle of an international conspiracy. He's quite the hero, almost singlehandedly escaping his pursuers and nudging the stodgy military establishment into action. These days, a character like this is no longer credible: the singularly brave and resourceful individual, motivated both by a love for adventure and love for his country. But the main character is far from arrogant; in fact, he's the stereotype of the unassuming and modest but extremely capable British citizen. I realize this may not appeal to postmodern readers of today. I especially enjoyed the ins and outs of the plot and the detailed descriptions of the ordinary people of the Scottish moors and Welsh hills. David Thorn's narration is impecable and his Scottish accent for some characters seemed quite authentic to a non-British speaker.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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