The Thirty-Nine Steps 

The Thirty-Nine Steps 

by John Buchan

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Overview

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: 9780613063333
Publisher: Demco Media
Publication date: 06/28/1991
Product dimensions: 4.68(w) x 7.18(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

John Buchan (1875 - 1940) was a Scottish novelist, historian and Unionist politician who served as Governor General of Canada, the 15th since Canadian Confederation. After a brief legal career, Buchan simultaneously began his writing career and his political and diplomatic careers, serving as a private secretary to the colonial administrator of various colonies in southern Africa. He eventually wrote propaganda for the British war effort in the First World War. Buchan was in 1927 elected Member of Parliament for the Combined Scottish Universities, but he spent most of his time on his writing career, notably writing The Thirty-Nine Steps and other adventure fiction.

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The Thirty-Nine Steps  3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
39 Steps is a great book! I read it for my Composition class and quickly got intriqued by it. Full of adventure with some comical events. Kept you involved throughout the book. I would recomend this book to anyone that likes detective stories and adventure.
Figgles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading one Richard Hannay adventure is like taking a chocolate from a box, it's hard to stop at just the one. Brief and thrilling, if you can get over some of the cringworthy references to Jews (autre temps etc) it's the perfect read for a lazy afternoon. All JB's themes are there but the essence of a thriller is the working out of the formula and there is a magical sense of time and place.
MrsPlum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At some future date, I will dedicate some time to writing the more detailed review this work deserves. In the interim, I will summarise by highly recommending this corking, ripping, absolutely spiffing yarn.
elliepotten on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Richard Hannay is bored out of his skull in London, and about ready to head abroad again in search of a more diverting life. But lo! In the first of many amazing coincidences, his American neighbour accosts him in the hallway that very day and begs him for help. He has discovered a cunning plot to start a war between Germany and Russia, and since he knows too much, the men in question want him dead.A day or two later, when Hannay finds said neighbour on his smoking room floor with a knife through his heart, he realises he must run - so run he does! With the police behind him for murder, and the warmongers out to stop him hijacking their plans at any cost, the book becomes a helter-skelter race against time as Hannay fights to stay alive long enough to act on his late friend's information and stop the dastardly German plot.There's a whole lot of running across moors and splashing through streams, improvised disguises and quick thinking, and, of course, hiding from that iconic aeroplane full of baddies. Buchan wrote that he meant this to be a "shocker' - the romance where the incidents defy the probabilities, and march just inside the borders of the possible' - and that is exactly what he delivers. It is fast and absorbing, faintly amusing and utterly absurd at times - and well worth a couple of hours of guilty-pleasure reading time!
ponsonby on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Difficult to know what to say about this book, one of the first espionage 'thrillers'. As often observed it does contain a few racist lines (against Jewish people) but no more so than many other books of 19th and early 20th century period (cf Trollope). Its main flaws are (1) the unlikelihood of the chase situation which is set up (if you really wanted to disappear after a murder would you really go off to a lonely country area where you stick out like a sore thumb?) (2) the claim that the police would be on his track so efficiently when they would have no idea where he had gone, and (3) the schoolboy explanations of politics, national interest etc. Particularly funny is that the book envisages as a main plot driver that Britain would have shared its naval dispositions with France before WWI, as it actually did its army planning. Having read the book I can see why the various film versions have been based on substantial adaptations to the original plot. Worth reading if you have seen one of those adapatations, but probably not otherwise.
LynnB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because it was described as the novel that started the spy novel genre. The plot is contrived -- the hero getting involved in serious espinonage just because he's bored; and everyone he meets seems more than willing to believe his story and help him. But, it's a page-turner, it's short, and the author is a former Governor General of Canada.
johnthefireman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not only is it a classic and a great thriller, but it also features a lot of action on a train. What more could one want?
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The accent - it's a problem. I've never gotten used to think accents, regardless of their origin - be they Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Brum, anywhere - and here Buchan decides, when he sends his hero scurrying up north to escape the police, to present all of the dialogue as close to the dialect as possible. It's hard work, as a result.
datrappert on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a book I had been thinking about reading for years, but had always been put off by the fear that it would probably be pretty old fashioned and maybe not all that much fun. I was wrong on both counts. And, when I opened the file on my Kindle, I was delighted to find that this book was even shorter than most of the classic Gold Medal paperbacks of the 1950s. This is a great, well told story from the beginning. It sets out to entertain and does so very well as the protagonist, Richard Hannay, finds himself involved in a sinister German plot in the run-up to the First World War. His journeys through Scotland, pursued by a monoplane, the police, and the sinister agents of the enemy, while finding help from some very well-drawn local characters are very well done. Where the book suffers is its reliance on really unbelievable coincidences--such as whose relation one of his helpers turns out to be--and implausibilities such as why he doesn't seek help sooner. In the best tradition of this type of novel, he has to unravel things himself. The ending, while satisfactory, is also not as good as the rest of the book. Buchan spends a lot of time describing how Hannay is almost convinced of how innocent things look when he is closing in on the enemy's lair, but since we know he must be on the right track, his inner misgivings get a little annoying after a while, and they are not in keeping with the sharp intelligence Hannay shows throughout the rest of the book. Some of the best scenes are when he takes on the identity of various characters to wangle his way out of a bad situation. I see that Buchan wrote several other novels about Hannay, with his life as a character extending from this book's publication in 1915 to his last appearance in 1936.
shrubbery on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Incredibly dated and laughably bad.
jeffome on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nice, neat little book that moderately kept my interest. The constant focus on successful disguises kept it slightly out of my realm of believability. And I did also have a little trouble following the political crisis and what it was everyone was actually trying to stop.....but i may have been distracted. If nothing else, it makes me want to take a bike ride throughout England and Scotland to experience first-hand the scenery very vividly described.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even though I've always enjoyed espionage novels, for some reason I had never read Buchan's classic. I had only experienced it through the Hitchcock movie. With a new version airing on PBS's Masterpiece in a couple of weeks, I decided to do what I should have done a long time ago: read the book. Even though I had recently seen the Hitchcock version on TV, the movie plot had been altered enough that it didn't serve as a spoiler for the action in the book. I didn't have any more idea of what was coming next than the first person narrator did. If anything, I probably felt more dread than the narrator did. As the action started in May of 1914, he only feared what might happen given the current state of world affairs. I knew what happened just weeks later in the summer of 1914 that launched the world into a Great War. Buchan doesn't waste a lot of words in telling this story, so reading it doesn't involve a huge time commitment. I would encourage all mystery, thriller, and espionage fans to read this classic of the genre.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
An innocent conversation with a neighbor on the stairs draws colonial Richard Hannay into a vortex of political intrigue and danger. Events rapidly develop as Hannay is framed for a murder and decides to run for it. Even though he's wanted by both murderous spies and the British police, he's determined to uncover the riddle and stop an impending catastrophe for the British Empire. All the while he's on the run - sometimes literally - in the wilds of Scotland. The book is a colorful 103-page action adventure and, like most spy novels, sometimes unbelievable. However, it's an entertaining read. I recommend it to anyone who likes action, adventure, or spy novels. (By the way, I noticed the British author used 'on the weekend' in this 1915 publication. Interesting, because now almost all English say 'at the weekend'.)