Greenmantle by John Buchan
  

The Lovereading4Kids comment

A favourite book of August 2010 Guest Editor Graham Marks, who explains his inspiration: "Erskine Childers’ Riddle of the Sands and John Buchan’s Greenmantle were two books I read when I was 11 or 12 years old and which have never left me. They were both written very early in the 20th century and are where the whole spy fiction genre started; I loved the way both these writers spun complex, intricately–plotted and nail-biting tales that you couldn’t put down. I still love reading books like that, and they’re what I attempt to write."

Synopsis

Greenmantle by John Buchan

In Greenmantle (1916), Richard Hannay, hero of The Thirty-Nine Steps , travels across war-torn Europe in search of a German plot and an Islamic Messiah. He is joined by three more of Buchan's heroes: Peter Pienaar, the old Boer Scout; John S. Blenkiron, the American determined to fight the Kaiser; and, Sandy Arbuthnot, Greenmantle himself, modelled on Lawrence of Arabia. The intrepid four move in disguise through Germany to Constantinople and the Russian border to face their enemies: the grotesque Stumm and the evil beauty of Hilda von Einem.

About the Author

John Buchan

John Buchan led a truly extraordinary life: he was a diplomat, soldier, barrister, journalist, historian, politician, publisher, poet and novelist. He was born in Perth in 1875, the eldest son of a Free Church of Scotland minister, and educated at Hutcheson’s Grammar School in Glasgow. He graduated from Glasgow University then took a scholarship to Brasenose College, Oxford. During his time there – ‘spent peacefully in an enclave like a monastery’ – he wrote two historical novels.

In 1901 he became a barrister of the Middle Temple and a private secretary to the High Commissioner for South Africa. In 1907 he married Susan Charlotte Grosvenor; they had three sons and a daughter. After spells as a war correspondent, Lloyd George’s Director of Information and a Conservative MP, Buchan – now Sir John Buchan, Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield - moved to Canada in 1935 where he had been appointed Governor-General.

Despite poor health throughout his life, Buchan’s literary output was remarkable – thirty novels, over sixty non-fiction books, including biographies of Sir Walter Scott and Oliver Cromwell, and seven collections of short stories. In 1928 he won the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Britain’s oldest literary prize for his biography of the Marquis of Montrose. Buchan’s distinctive thrillers – ‘shockers’ as he called them – were characterised by suspenseful atmosphere, conspiracy theories and romantic heroes, notably Richard Hannay (based on the real-life military spy William Ironside) and Sir Edward Leithen. Buchan was a favourite writer of Alfred Hitchcock, whose screen adaptation of The Thirty-Nine Steps was phenomenally successful.

John Buchan served as Governor-General of Canada until his death in 1940, the year his autobiography Memory Hold-the-door was published. His last novel Sick Heart River was published posthumously in 1941.

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Book Info

Format

Paperback

Author

John Buchan
More books by John Buchan

Publisher

Penguin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd

Publication date

29th May 2008

ISBN

9780141035840

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