This is an omnibus edition of all John Buchan's books featuring the British secret agent "Richard Hannay". The first of these, "The Thirty-Nine Steps" will, doubtless, be familiar to many people through the famous Hitchcock movie adaptation, but I suspect that the remaining books in the series may be less familiar to some.
The books are:
The Thirty-Nine Steps
John Buchan wrote "The Thirty-Nine Steps" while he was seriously ill at the beginning of World War I. In it, he introduces his most famous hero, Richard Hannay, who, despite claiming to be an "ordinary fellow", is caught up in the dramatic race against a plot to devastate the British war effort. Hannay is hunted across the Scottish moors by police and a pitiless enemy in the corridors of Whitehall and, finally, at the site of the mysterious 39 steps. The best-known of Buchan's thrillers, this novel has been continuously in print since first publication and has been filmed three times.
This novel continues the story of Richard Hannay, taking him from convalescence following the Battle of Loos, back to London for a vital meeting at the Foreign Office, and thence on a top-secret mission across war-torn German-occupied Europe.
In Mr Standfast (1919), the third of the novels featuring Richard Hannay, we meet again Pieter Pienaar and John S. Blenkiron. It is 1917 and Hannay is brought out of the battlefield to perform the desperate task of tracking down and destroying a network of German spies. Hannay's opponent is Morton Ivery, the bland master of disguise, who seeks to outwit Hannay as he and his agents are pursued through England, Scotland, France, and Switzerland.
For its pace and suspense, its changes of scene, and thrilling descriptions of the last great battles against the Germans, Mr Standfast offers everything that has made its author so enduringly popular.
The Three Hostages
At the end of World War I, Richard Hannay has retired to the Cotswolds. There, news comes to him of three kidnappings and a plot of political and financial magnitude. Hannay abandons his idyll to counter the threat and his adventures lead to an encounter with his most formidable enemy.
The Courts of the Morning
Although not a Richard Hannay story as such (he narrates the introduction to the story), this is a wonderful story of revolution in a (fictitious) South American country, and features the cast of characters from the earlier Richard Hannay books - Archie, Sandy, Blenkiron, and the rest. It also forms an important "back story" for the final book in the omnibus, "The Island of Sheep".
The Island of Sheep
The Island of Sheep (1936) is John Buchan's last thriller, featuring the return of Richard Hannay, the hero of The Thirty-Nine Steps, Greenmantle, Mr Standfast and The Three Hostages, from a comfortable retirement. Hannay redeems his promise to protect the son of an old acquaintance from a sinister conspiracy, and the action moves rapidly from England through the Scottish Borders to the Island of Sheep in the remote Norlands, where Hannay and his friends turn at last to confront their enemy. Memorable for its vivid evocations of place, the novel constitutes a complex reflection upon its own position at the end of Buchan's career and at the end of a modern Scottish tradition of adventure romances.
EDIT: 15 Jan 08
Improved the formatting and recreated the book. Uploaded v2.
EDIT: 30 Dec 08
Added "The Courts of the Morning" to the omnibus. Uploaded v3.
EDIT: 1 Jan 09
Thoroughly proofed and corrected "The Thirty-Nine Steps", which was in a very poor state. Reformatted "Greenmantle" and "Mr. Standfast" to correct a problem with paragraph breaks. Uploaded v4.
EDIT: 4 Feb 11
Thoroughly proofed all the books in the omnibus against printed editions. Most were in a reasonable state, but "The Courts of the Morning" required extensive work to correct it. I'd now regard this as pretty much a finished product - if you find any remaining errors, please let me know. Uploaded v5.
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