The Thirty-Nine Steps

The Thirty-Nine Steps

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Overview

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

A young mining engineer must elude both foreign agents and British authorities to save his own life and expose a plot with catastrophic implications for Britain.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199537877
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 09/21/2009
Series: Oxford World's Classics Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 863,538
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

John Buchan, Baron Tweedsmuir, was a Scottish diplomat, barrister, journalist, historian, poet and novelist. He wrote adventure novels, short-story collections and biographies.

His passion for the Scottish countryside is reflected in much of his writing. Buchan's adventure stories are high in romance and are peopled by a large cast of characters. 'Richard Hannay', 'Dickson McCunn' and 'Sir Edward Leithen' are three that reappear several times.

Alfred Hitchcock adapted his most famous book 'The Thirty-Nine Steps', featuring Hannay, for the big screen.

Born in 1875 in Perth, Buchan was the son of a minister. Childhood holidays were spent in the Borders, for which he had a great love. He was educated at Glasgow University and Brasenose College, Oxford, where he was President of the Union. Called to the Bar in 1901, he became Lord Milner's assistant private secretary in South Africa. By 1907, however, he was working as a publisher with Nelson's. During the First World War Buchan was a correspondent at the Front for 'The Times', as well as being an officer in the Intelligence Corps and advisor to the War Cabinet.

Elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament for one of the Scottish Universities' seats in 1927, he was created Baron Tweedsmuir in 1935. From then, until his death in 1940, he served as Governor General of Canada, during which time he nevertheless managed to continue writing.

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The Thirty-nine Steps 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a pretty short read (10 chapters) and I got through it pretty quickly. It was easy reading. I had seen the Alfred Hitchcock's version of the movie before I read it, so I went into it thinking there was a going to be a romance. WRONG! It wasn't anything like the movie (actually, I should say the movie wasn't anything like the book). I might have been improved by including a romance, but that's just from a woman's point of view (ha, ha!). Anyway, my overall impression of the book was that I didn't like it quite as well as I thought I was going to. You could really tell it was a dime novel. I didn't understand the complicated international secret and Scudder's code, mostly because the author lightly scimmed over that part (and that's the main part, right?). I kind of got bored with Hannay running around chapter after chapter. But the last three chapters redeem the rest of the book, I think. That was when I began to get interested and it grew more exciting. It's too bad Alfred Hitchcock didn't borrow a little more than the title and the main character's name and nothing else from the plot. Would I recommend another person to read it? Since it's a short read, I'd say go right ahead... just leave all expectations behind you.
Big_Willy More than 1 year ago
There's always a risk stepping out of ones interests and I downloaded this book from a mail-order flyer in the mail. Turns out it was a good move. This book is part espionage and all intrigue that takes place in the months leading toward World War I in Great Britain. The main character is an uninspired resident of London who wishes he knew his grander purpose to provide spark and excitement in his life. Turns out he gets that in spades when he meets up with another person in his apartment and sets off on a whirlwind adventure. The plot itself isn't complex but absolutely interesting as the character zips around the countryside sorting out what to do. I found many of the author's lines to be very funny and intelligent. This was a Google download so brace yourself for random characters sprinkled with love throughout this otherwise very short book. ENJOY!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was quite refreshing! It had a good plot with good charactors. A very easy, enjoyable read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was amazed at the quick pace and wonderful storyline. They say this was the foundation for most spy thrillers. I can belive it.
WhisperingStories 10 months ago
When it was first published, this novel must have been fascinating reading. At the time the UK was at war with Germany and there were no doubt German spies in the country. The book was initially serialised in a magazine and many chapters end on the proverbial cliff hanger. As a result the story is fast paced and full of action. In a dedication before the book John Buchan describes the book as a “dime novel” or “shocker” where ‘… the incidents defy the probabilities and march just inside the borders of the possible’. I cannot put it better than that. The lead character of Richard Hannay is a wealthy man in his late ‘thirties who has recently returned from successful business activities in Africa. Bored with London society he initially relishes the intrigue offered by his chance meeting with Scudder but his situation soon deteriorates. I found the Hannay and the other leading characters somewhat stereotypical but that is not altogether surprising in an action novel of this length. I suspect Buchan’s target audience did not want depth and sensitivity; they wanted easy to understand characters and lots of action. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of country life in Galloway which would then have been a world away from life in an English city. Yes, it may seem a bit thin and dated but before you question its definition as a Classic novel, consider the thousands of spy thrillers published in the intervening century which follow the same format. I am sure we have all read work from authors who could well have been influenced by John Buchan. The Thirty Nine Steps deserves a read if only for its historical status. I have awarded it three stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wish that most modern thriller-spy stories wete as good as this. Highly recommended! aj west
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A classic thriller well worth the read. ~*~LEB~*~
glauver More than 1 year ago
The Thirty-Nine Steps was one of the prototypes of what is now called spy fiction. Fans of LeCarre, Alistair MacLean, or Len Deighton might feel a bit let down. Richard Hannay was not a agent as we think of one, but more of an adventurer. The novel is one long chase with little letup. There is not much moral complexity; the English are good and the Germans are bad. John Buchan was a good descriptive writer, but his plots were full of holes and coincidences and don't stand scrutiny. Some of his remarks seem anti-Semitic, although I have read critics who defend him on this charge .In this novel, Hannay is the only character who stands out, probably because it is so short. Later books are better as he gathers a circle of friends to help him in his quests. The best way I can describe this book is Robert Louis Stevenson writing just before WWI.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mary-MK More than 1 year ago
Well-written, fast-paced novel that stands the test of time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the_curious_reader More than 1 year ago
Superb spy thriller, filmed several times - once by Alfred Hitchcock - The Thirty-Nine Steps is worth reading even if you have seen one of the films as it surpasses its genre and stands on its own as a novel. Having read this book by John Buchan, my best bet is that you will go on to read more of his work..
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