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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."
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.
|Publication date:||29th May 2008|
|Publisher:||Penguin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd|
|Suitable for:||13+ readers|
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. ...More About John Buchan