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About the Author: John Buchan

John Buchan (1st Baron Tweedsmuir) was a Scottish novelist and public servant who combined a successful career as an author of thrillers, historical novels, histories and biographies with a parallel career in public life. At the time of his death he was Governor-General of Canada.

Buchan was born in Scotland and educated at Glasgow and Oxford Universities. After a brief career in law he went to South Africa in 1902 where he contributed to the reconstruction of the country following the Boer War. His love for South Africa is a recurring theme in his fiction.

On returning to Britain, Buchan built a successful career in publishing with Nelsons and Reuters. During the first world war, he was Director of Information in the British government. He wrote a twenty-four volume history of the war, which was later abridged.

Alongside his busy public life, Buchan wrote superb action novels, including the spy-catching adventures of Richard Hannay, whose exploits are described in The Thirty-Nine Steps, Greenmantle, Mr. Standfast, The Three Hostages, and The Island of Sheep.

Apart from Hannay, Buchan created two other leading characters in Dickson McCunn, the shrewd retired grocer who appears in Huntingtower, Castle Gay, and The House of the Four Winds; and the lawyer Sir Edward Leithen, who features in the The Power-House, John Macnab, The Dancing Floor, The Gap in the Curtain and Sick Heart River.

From 1927 to 1935 Buchan was Conservative M.P. for the Scottish Universities, and in 1935, on his appointment as Governor-General to Canada, he was made a peer, taking the title Baron Tweedsmuir. During these years he was still productive as a writer, and published notable historical biographies, such as Montrose, Sir Walter Scott, and Cromwell.

When he died in Montreal in 1940, the world lost a fine statesman and story-teller.

The John Buchan Society was founded in 1979 to encourage continuing interest in his life, works and legacy. Visit the website (http://www.johnbuchansociety.co.uk) and follow the Society on Twitter (www.twitter.com/johnbuchansoc) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/johnbuchansociety).

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Buchan and Encyclopeadia Britannica

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.


The Complete Richard Hannay Stories Cover Image

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Goodreads rating: 4.19

Paperback, Published in Jul 2010 by Wordsworth Classics

ISBN10: 1840226552 | ISBN13: 9781840226553

Page count: 990

Major General Sir Richard Hannay is the fictional secret agent created by writer and diplomat John Buchan, who was himself an Intelligence officer during the First World War. The strong and silent type, combining the dour temperament of the Scot with the stiff upper lip of the Englishman, Hannay is pre-eminent among early spy-thriller heroes. Caught up in the first of these five gripping adventures just before the outbreak of war in 1914, he manages to thwart the enemy's evil plan and solve the mystery of the 'thirty-nine steps'.

In Greenmantle, he undertakes a vital mission to prevent jihad in the Islamic Near East. Mr Standfast, set in the decisive months of 1917-18, is the novel in which Hannay, after a life lived 'wholly among men', finally falls in love; later, in The Three Hostages, he finds himself unravelling a kidnapping mystery with his wife's help. In the last adventure, The Island of Sheep, he is called upon to honour an old oath.

A shrewd judge of men, he never dehumanises his enemy, and despite sharing some of the racial prejudices of his day, Richard Hannay is a worthy prototype hero of espionage fiction.

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