> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 1 March 2011
  • ISBN: 9781409034216
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 272

The Thirty-Nine Steps




The original and best adventure story ever told, with spies, thrilling chase scenes and explosions

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY STELLA RIMINGTON

May 1914. Britain is on the eve of war with Germany. Richard Hannay is living a quiet life in London, but after a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger he stumbles into a hair-raising adventure - a desperate hunt across the country and against the clock, pursued by the police and a cunning, ruthless enemy. Hannay's life and the security of Britain are in grave peril, and everything rests on the solution to a baffling enigma: what are the thirty-nine steps?

  • Pub date: 1 March 2011
  • ISBN: 9781409034216
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 272

About the Author

John Buchan

John Buchan was born in Perth. His father was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland; and in 1876 the family moved to Fife where in order to attend the local school the small boy had to walk six miles a day. Later they moved again to the Gorbals in Glasgow and John Buchan went to Hutchesons' Grammar School, Glasgow University (by which time he was already publishing articles in periodicals) and Brasenose College, Oxford. His years at Oxford - 'spent peacefully in an enclave like a monastery' - nevertheless opened up yet more horizons and he published five books and many articles, won several awards including the Newdigate Prize for poetry and gained a First. His career was equally diverse and successful after university and, despite ill-health and continual pain from a duodenal ulcer, he played a prominent part in public life as a barrister and Member of Parliament, in addition to being a writer, soldier and publisher. In 1907 he married Susan Grosvenor, and the marriage was supremely happy. They had one daughter and three sons. He was created Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield in 1935 and became the fifteenth Governor-General of Canada, a position he held until his death in 1940. 'I don't think I remember anyone,' wrote G. M. Trevelyan to his widow, 'whose death evoked a more enviable outburst of sorrow, love and admiration.'

John Buchan's first success as an author came with Prester John in 1910, followed by a series of adventure thrillers, or 'shockers' as he called them, all characterized by their authentically rendered backgrounds, romantic characters, their atmosphere of expectancy and world-wide conspiracies, and the author's own enthusiasm. There are three main heroes: Richard Hannay, whose adventures are collected in The Complete Richard Hannay; Dickson McCunn, the Glaswegian provision merchant with the soul of a romantic, who features in Huntingtower, Castle Gay and The House of the Four Winds; and Sir Edward Leithen, the lawyer who tells the story of John MacNab and Sick Heart River, John Buchan's final novel. In addition, John Buchan established a reputation as an historical biographer with such works as Montrose, Oliver Cromwell and Augustus.

Also by John Buchan

See all

Praise for The Thirty-Nine Steps

“The book is even more fun than the films”

Guardian

“The father of the modern espionage adventure”

Sunday Times

“Buchan makes superb use of wild landscapes in this economical and gripping story”

The Times

“Go into a bookshop today, pick up The Thirty-Nine Steps and I guarantee you will read it to the end. There is random and graphic violence, there is clear and present evil, eyes that are hooded 'like a bird of prey' - and a man 'skewered to the floor by a long knife through his heart'”

Daily Mail

“Richard Hannay is, like his American brother Philip Marlowe, a modern knight errant. Charging through a hypocritical world, he is a seeker after truth with a boundless love of nature, a liking for simple pleasures and a hatred of pettiness and snobberies.... Buchan's novels are eerily resonant with today's troubles... Hannay is a hero for all times”

Observer


Related titles