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The prologue is narrated by Richard Hannay , so the novel is sometimes included in Buchan's Hannay series; the action is set in a fictional country on the west coast of South America. When Sandy Arbuthnot's friend John Blenkiron discovers that a charismatic industrial tycoon is plotting to rule the world from his base in the small South American country of Olifa, Sandy leads a revolution to scuttle the plot and allow the Olifans to decide their own fate; the book opens with a prologue narrated by Hannay, describing how Hannay is approached by the American military attache in London to covertly solve the mystery of Blenkiron's disappearance in South America.

Hannay seeks out his friend Sandy Arbuthnot for help, but Sandy soon disappears, sending Hannay a mysterious letter saying to lie low and keep quiet; the action next moves to Olifa, where Janet Roylance are honeymooning. The Roylances are intrigued by two sets of people they meet: a party of boorish American tourists and the strange, half-sleepwalking copper miners from the city of Gran Seco, ruled by a powerful mining tycoon, Gobernador Castor.

As Archie and Janet explore and befriend Castor, it becomes clear that the Americans are using their innocent curiosity as a cover for spying on Castor, that one of them may be Sandy in disguise. Sandy meets Archie and Janet in secret and tells them they are in danger, but they insist on staying and helping him uncover Castor's plot. At the hacienda of Olifan Don Luis, Sandy explains what he and Blenkiron have uncovered: Castor enslaves Indians, pulls the strings of the government, controls his followers using a local drug, is a megalomaniac out to destroy democracy by causing civil war in America.

Sandy and Don Luis plan to lead an Indian uprising that will not fight Castor but call him leader, embarrassing him. Everyone agrees to help, Archie and Janet use their friendship with Castor to kidnap him, while Sandy and Blenkiron begin the revolution by seizing the copper mines. Sandy has a close shave with death in which he discovers his old school pal Lariarty is one of Castor's addicted minions.

The second part of the story is set at the titular Courts of the Morning, the rebel's secret base in the north of Olifa. Here and Barbara Dasent, Blenkiron's niece, try to reform Castor into a decent human being. Meanwhile and Don Luis engage in guerrilla warfare against the superior Olifa army. Castor's closest confidants, lost without their supply of the drug, make at attempt to rescue Castor but capture Janet instead, kidnapping her; this incident wins Castor to the rebel cause, but a distraught Archie flies into the wild Indian territory to search for Janet, crashing his plane and wandering through the jungle.

In the Indian country, Janet is held prisoner for seven days escaping with the help of Archie and Don Luis. In the concluding section, Don Luis reveals that he has been planning a general revolution for three years and the country is ready to rise. Castor, a man reborn, takes the command from Sandy; the Olifa army remains a threat until Sandy daringly blows up a mountain pass, cutting the huge army in two and allowing the rebels to take enough prisoners to force the government to surrender.

At the moment of victory, the drug addicts make one final revenge attempt, killing Castor and Lariarty, although Janet and Barbara survive. Don Luis is elected the new president, Sandy refuses a prestigious post in favour of returning home to Scotland and marrying Barbara. Contemporary reviewer J. Priestley criticized the lengthy space devoted to detailing troop movements and describing the terrain, exposition that slows down the more thrilling sequences such as Janet's hostage ordeal.

Buchan's biographer Andrew Lownie felt that Castor's redemption was unrealistic. Physical and racial stereotyping is used to describe several characters, such as the noble, mystic Indians and the scarred and misshapen toughs in Castor's bodyguard ; the character of Sandy Arbuthnot was based on Buchan's friend, Aubrey Herbert. David Daniell in The Interpreter's House quotes Kipling who professed to be "rested and delighted" by the book and who called it a tour de force. Rose Macaulay said that the book was "so enchanting and beautiful that I read it for my pleasure".

Daniell himself notes that while the tone is relaxed, the control is tight, "it is as if Buchan is drawing together all his skills under the influence of his response to the land and its people". David Goldie noted in that "One of the animating ideas of The Blanket of the Dark is that English values are expressed more profoundly in the quiet wisdom of its folk than in the forceful actions of its rulers". Thriller genre Thriller is a broad genre of literature and television, having numerous overlapping subgenres.

Thrillers are characterized and defined by the moods they elicit, giving viewers heightened feelings of suspense , surprise and anxiety. Successful examples of thrillers are the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Thrillers keep the audience on the "edge of their seats" as the plot builds towards a climax ; the cover-up of important information is a common element. Literary devices such as red herrings, plot twists, cliffhangers are used extensively. A thriller is a villain-driven plot, whereby he or she presents obstacles that the protagonist must overcome. Homer's Odyssey is one of the oldest stories in the Western world and is regarded as an early prototype of the genre.

Writer Vladimir Nabokov , in his lectures at Cornell University , said: "In an Anglo-Saxon thriller, the villain is punished, the strong silent man wins the weak babbling girl, but there is no governmental law in Western countries to ban a story that does not comply with a fond tradition, so that we always hope that the wicked but romantic fellow will escape scot-free and the good but dull chap will be snubbed by the moody heroine.

In short, if it "thrills", it is a thriller. As the introduction to a major anthology argues Thrillers provide such a rich literary feast. There are all kinds; the legal thriller , spy thriller, action-adventure thriller, medical thriller, police thriller, romantic thriller, historical thriller, political thriller, religious thriller, high-tech thriller, military thriller.

The list goes on and on, with new variations being invented. In fact, this openness to expansion is one of the genre's most enduring characteristics, but what gives the variety of thrillers a common ground is the intensity of emotions they create those of apprehension and exhilaration, of excitement and breathlessness , all designed to generate that all-important thrill.

The Thirty-Nine Steps

By definition, if a thriller doesn't thrill, it's not doing its job. Suspense is a crucial characteristic of the thriller genre, it gives the viewer a feeling of pleasurable fascination and excitement mixed with apprehension and tension. These develop from unpredictable and rousing events during the narrative, which makes the viewer or reader think about the outcome of certain actions.

Suspense builds. The suspense in a story keeps the person hooked to reading or watching more until the climax is reached. In terms of narrative expectations, it may be contrasted with surprise; the objective is to deliver a story with sustained tension, a constant sense of impending doom. As described by film director Alfred Hitchcock, an audience experiences suspense when they expect something bad to happen and have a superior perspective on events in the drama's hierarchy of knowledge, yet they are powerless to intervene to prevent it from happening.

Suspense in thrillers is intertwined with hope and anxiety, which are treated as two emotions aroused in anticipation of the conclusion - the hope that things will turn out all right for the appropriate characters in the story, the fear that they may not; the second type of suspense is the " Thriller music has been shown to create a distrust and ominous uncertainty between the viewer of a film and the character on screen at the time when the music is playing. Common methods and themes in crime and action thrillers are ransoms, heists, kidnappings.

Common in mystery thrillers are the whodunit technique. Common elements in dramatic and psychological thrillers include plot twists, psychology and mind games. Common elements of science-fiction thrillers are killing robots, machines or aliens, mad scientists and experiments. Common in horror thrillers are serial killers, stalking and horror-of-personality. Elements such as fringe theories, false accusations and paranoia are common in paranoid thrillers. Threats to entire countries, espionage , conspiracies and electronic surveillance are common in spy thrillers. Characters may include criminals, assassins, innocent victims, menaced women, psychotic individuals, spree killers, agents, terrorists and escaped cons, private eyes, people involved in twisted relationships, world-weary men and women, psycho-fiends, more.

The themes include terrorism, political conspiracy, pursuit, or romantic triangles leading to murder. Plots of thrillers involve characters which come into conflict with each other or with outside forces; the protagonist of these films is set against a problem. No matter what subgenre a thriller film falls into, it will emphasize the danger that the protagonist faces; the protagonists are ordinary citizens unaccustomed to danger, although in crime and action thrillers, they may be "hard men" accustomed to danger such as police officers and detectives. While protagonists of thrillers have traditionally been men, women lead characters are common.

In psychological thrillers, the protagonists are reliant on their mental resources, whether it be by battling wits with the antagonist or by battling for equilibrium in the cha. Adventure fiction Adventure fiction is fiction that presents danger, or gives the reader a sense of excitement. An adventure is an event or series of events that happens outside the course of the protagonist's ordinary life accompanied by danger by physical action. Adventure stories always move and the pace of the plot is at least as important as characterization and other elements of a creative work.

D'Ammassa argues. Indeed, the standard plot of Medieval romances was a series of adventures. Following a plot framework as old as Heliodorus , so durable as to be still alive in Hollywood movies, a hero would undergo a first set of adventures before he met his lady. A separation would follow, with a second set of adventures leading to a final reunion.

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Variations kept the genre alive. From the midth century onwards, when mass literacy grew, adventure became a popular subgenre of fiction. Although not exploited to its fullest, adventure has seen many changes over the years — from being constrained to stories of knights in armor to stories of high-tech espionages. Adventure novels and short stories were popular subjects for American pulp magazines, which dominated American popular fiction between the Progressive Era and the s.

Worts , Georges Surdez , H. Bedford-Jones , J. Allan Dunn. Adventure fiction overlaps with other genres, notably war novels, crime novels, sea stories, spy stories, science fiction and Westerns. Not all books within these genres are adventures. Adventure fiction takes the setting and premise of these other genres, but the fast-paced plot of an adventure focuses on the actions of the hero within the setting. With a few notable exceptions adventure fiction as a genre has been dominated by male writers, though female writers are now becoming common.

Adventure stories written for children began in the 19th century. Kingston , R. Ballantyne , G. Henty specializing in the production of adventure fiction for boys; this inspired writers who catered to adult audiences to essay such works, such as Robert Louis Stevenson writing Treasure Island for a child readership. In the years after the First World War , writers such as Arthur Ransome developed the adventure genre by setting the adventure in Britain rather than distant countries, while Geoffrey Trease , Rosemary Sutcliff and Esther Forbes brought a new sophistication to the historical adventure novel.

Modern writers such as Mildred D. Taylor and Philip Pullman have continued the tradition of the historical adventure. The modern children's adventure novel sometimes deals with controversial issues like terrorism and warfare in the Third World. After the War, Hannay is married to Mary and living peacefully in the Cotswolds , when he receives a request to help solve the mysterious kidnapping of the children of three prominent people. Given nothing to go on but a few mysterious clues, assisted by friends like Sandy Arbuthnot , must track down the dastardly villains behind the plot before it's too late It is some time after the war, Sir Richard Hannay is living in rural tranquility, having bought Fosse Manor and married Mary Lamington.

Hannay's new friend, local doctor Tom Greenslade, a well-travelled and learned man, talks ominously one night of psychology , the subconscious and post-war society. Dick reads a letter from his old boss Sir Walter Bullivant , warning him that he will soon be asked to undertake another job for the country. Next day, Julius Victor visits Hannay and tells him his daughter Adela has been kidnapped and held hostage, asking Hannay to help find her; that day, MacGillivray visits and tells Hannay of a sinister criminal organisation, controlling the mass of disturbed and disordered minds left over from the Great War, tracked by the police forces of the world.

Faced with capture, the leaders had taken three hostages, Victor's daughter, an aristocratic student and a young boy, sending each of their families a mysterious poem to prove the kidnappings were linked, he explains that they have only until June to round up the gang, that the hostages must be safe by then. Hannay is adamant that he cannot help, but his third visitor that day, Sir Arthur Warcliff, tells him about his missing son, Hannay is drawn into the chase; that night, he lies awake pondering the lines of doggerel sent to the families, connects them to something Greenslade had said recently.

Next day he tells Greenslade all, bids him remember where he drew his phrases, two of which, concerning a blind woman spinning and a barn in Norway , matched verses from the poem, while the third in Greenslade's speech referred to a curiosity shop run by an elderly Jew, which seems to bear no correspondence to the poem's reference to the "Fields of Eden".

Greenslade is baffled, but Hannay recalls a hymn mentioning the Fields of Eden, which Greenslade connects with his vague memories. Another day's pondering gets them no closer. Greenslade remembers an evening in a country pub, where a man named Medina had broken his pipe as he hummed the tune, at the same meeting mentioned the ideas echoed in the poem. Hannay heads to London to meet Macgillivray, runs into his old friend Sandy Arbuthnot.

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Macgillivray briefs him on their enemies, soon after Hannay meets with Medina, a handsome and accomplished man who Hannay finds he likes a lot, but doesn't yet take into his confidence, he sees Sandy again, suspicious of Medina, the three attend a meeting of an elite dining club, where something Medina says affects Sandy — he becomes rude and angry, tries to drag Hannay away, but Hannay refuses and walks home with Medina.

They stop at Medina's house for a pipe, there Hannay has a strange dreamlike experience of which he remembers little, only realising that Medina attempted to hypnotise him and that he somehow resisted. He wakes next day feeling ill, visits a Doctor Newhover, whose name was planted in his head and who refers him on to a masseuse named Madame Breda , in whose house he sees a strange young girl, he is again hypnotised , by unseen hands and a strange voice, again resists. He reports his experiences to Sandy, who urges him to watch Medina and makes plans to investigate the house of the masseuse, to take his researches to Europe.

For some time Hannay hangs around Medina, one day attending a secret dance-hall with his friend Archie Roylance , where he sees a beautiful girl with dead eyes led away by Medina's suspicious butler, but learns little, he visits Newhover again, learns that he plans to head to Norway. At last, visiting Medina, he is taken to the library where he was first hypnotised, introduced to Medina's mother, a striking, blind old woman. He is again hypnotised, made to do demeaning tasks, until they are sure he is under their control.

He hears of Medina's plans to meet with one Kharama, learns the gang plans to break up by midsummer, before he faints from exhaustion. Hannay arranges with his friend Archie Roylance to be flown home from Norway when the time comes, is taken to meet Kharama, an impressive but sinister Indian who discusses hypnotism with Medina, he gets a note from Sandy, arranging a meeting. Telling Medina he is ill and needs a week's rest, he fixes a rendezvous with Roylance and heads home to Fosse, where he sets up a pretence of being in his sickbed, he meets Sandy and they share what they have found, slips onto the boat taking Dr Newhover to Norway.

Arriving there, he sees Newhover head off by boat, follows at a discreet distance. Knowing Newhover's heading, he leaves his boat at the village before, bidding the pilot to await his return, heads overland to Merdal. There, not wishing to be seen at the inn by Newhover, he approaches some locals to find lodging, is amazed to meet Herr Gaudian, a German engineer he met during the events of Greenmantle.

LibriVox LibriVox is a group of worldwide volunteers who read and record public domain texts creating free public domain audiobooks for download from their website and other digital library hosting sites on the internet. It was founded in by Hugh McGuire to provide "Acoustical liberation of books in the public domain" and the LibriVox objective is "To make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet".

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Because of copyright restrictions, LibriVox produces recordings of only a limited number of contemporary books. It contains much popular classic fiction, but includes less predictable texts, such as Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and a recording of the first digits of pi; the collection features poetry, religious texts and non-fiction of various kinds. In January , the catalogue contained 55 percent fiction and drama, 25 percent non-fiction and 20 percent poetry.

Around 90 percent of the catalogue is recorded in English, but recordings exist in 31 languages altogether. Standfast' is by far the darkest of the three novels, as Hannay alternates between the frontlines and backrooms of some of the most climactic moments of the war. There is a vivid sense of the horror of war, both in blitz-torn London and in the battlefields of Europe.

Even though Hannay has his share of comrades, and even a love interest described as 'childlike' or 'like a slim boy' rather a lot of times - was Buchan a closeted Uranian? It also features a villain who is somehow far more diabolical than when we first met him in '39' and far more purely villainous than the villains in 'Greenmantle'. The ending is bittersweet, with some noble companions lost.

Along the way, I also realised that Hannay works as a character because Buchan is able to show us his limitations to just the right degree as to make his superhuman abilities palatable. Hannay describes a couple of lines of Goethe used as passwords by German spies as 'pretty dismal poetry' and confesses to having no ear for any instrumental music other than marching tunes.

These foibles remind us that, for all his achievements, Hannay has led a life that has had little of culture or art in it, and Buchan does not present this as a flaw or an advantage, simply as a part of the character, allowing us to draw our own conclusions.

This a far cry from the first Bulldog Drummond novel where 'Sapper' is clearly in love with his headstrong buffoon of a hero, even though he doesn't come across as especially notable even through 'Sapper's narrative. Buchan was a subtle author; there are many fine things woven into the fabric of this novel. You don't have to agree with his politics or his religion to admire how he has deeply interwoven them with an exciting adventure story in a manner that gives added depth to the plot rather than making it into a shallow polemic.

Matthew Reilly can brag until he's bleat in the face about pure entertainment, but a writer who is aware of his world-view and intelligently works it into his novels is preferable to any amount of allegedly subtext-less hi-jinks. I enjoyed this book tremendously and it is my favorite Hannay adventure to date. Or perhaps it is just that I am getting to know the characters better. We'll see with the next book. The parts where Hannay was spying were exciting and fun reading. There was a bit too much military strategy and action near the end for my taste, but it was minor compared to the rest of the novel.

View all 4 comments. Standfast is the third book in my Buchan of the Month reading project. For me, it has everything: a mystery, some thrilling set pieces, great characters, numerous locations, a touch of romance and some chilling scenes on the battlefields of World War One France. I always get a bit tearful at the end. As well as being a very entertaining book, Mr. Standfast explores some serious themes — courage, fortitude, sacrifice. As the title suggests, Mr. That book was an important text for Buchan and I believe it informs many of the themes in Mr. Standfast I have just mentioned.

However, just a few thoughts on the connections between the two texts All of these elements I feel are apparent in Mr. It acts variously as a prize, a code-book and a source of moral and comfort. Later, it provides a method of authenticating the character Hannay has adopted. This operates at two levels: as a common language to express feelings, anxieties and hopes and, at a practical level, as a code for secret communications between the characters.

View 2 comments. Buchan is a bit of an acquired taste. The book is a bit slow at times, and the values that form its backbone are often foreign. But that is part of his charm. I love old books that were once popular. They are the window into the soul of an age. In this one, we have a wonderful view of the tensions between pacifism and patriotism, socialism and class expectations in WWI Britain. Much of this is quite illuminating, and by itself makes the book worth reading.

In order to worm his way into a spy rin Buchan is a bit of an acquired taste. In order to worm his way into a spy ring, Hannay has to pose as a pacifist. And as in Buchan's other books, it is precisely what Buchan doesn't mean to show us that is particularly illuminating: the generous "condescenscion" of the upper class General Hannay in appreciating the salt of the earth British soldier, the notion that he as an officer has an orderly as a servant, the casual racism of references to Asians, Italians, and Africans, the demonization of "the Boche.

That alone is a reason to read the book - a reminder particularly appropriate to Goodreads, that sharing the act of reading with someone else enhances the reading itself. I relished that I was getting a view not only into the mind of the time, but also of the great jurist. Though of course, I have no idea what he thought of the book. My friend gave it to me because it is organized around metaphors and characters from A Pilgrim's Progress , and I had recently given her husband a lovely old illustrated edition of the same.

Not remembering my Pilgrim's Progress as well as I might, or as the good christians of Buchan's day might have, a lot of the connections went over my head, as did some of the taken-for-granted background about WWI. The war front really only comes alive at the end of the book, in the concluding battles. By the way, I don't understand the other reviews that suggest that Buchan is completely negative about pacifists. While he builds a portrait of the narrowness of the sentiment of those opposed to the war as opposed to the solid citizens who shoulder the burden uncomplainingly , it is almost Trollopian in its sympathy for those so portrayed, and in the end, it is a conscientious objector who is described as "the best of us" at the front.

I read The Thirty-Nine Steps long ago, but don't remember it well, and never read Greenmantle , the second book in his Richard Hannay series, so that may have contributed to my review. If I'd read the books in sequence, the characters and the thrust of the narrative would have been more familiar, and I might have found the book more engaging. I'd recommend starting with The Thirty-Nine Steps. Tears galore for me at the finish of this splendid tale: also a wonderful examination of people under the pressure of strife and war.

For its pace and suspense, its changes o Tears galore for me at the finish of this splendid tale: also a wonderful examination of people under the pressure of strife and war. Read aloud. My favourite Buchan, well, at least, my favourite Hannay Buchan Greenmantle is a close second. If you don't, he will funk worse next time. I hadn't enough courage to be able to take chances with it, though I was afraid of many things, the thing I feared most mortally was being afraid.

He also manages to pull off at least two major plot climaxes and a bunch of helter-skelter escapades Hannay is that word incarnate , not to mention the funny Scots characters that pepper Buchan's writings 'For the first wee bit,' Hamilton reported, 'we thocht he was gaun daft. Lots of fun. Stars David Robb and Clive Merrison. More than a bit convoluted and ridiculous, but what are you gonna do? It's John Buchan and an engaging story.

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In the third of the five Richard Hannay novels, Dick, now a Brigadier General, is recalled from leading his troops on the Western front in the Great War in order to take part in a top secret spy mission. There's a German posing as a Brit in the British countryside, and Hannay adopts the pose of a pacifist in order to smell him out.

Before much smelling happens, the nearly-forty Dick Hannay More than a bit convoluted and ridiculous, but what are you gonna do? Before much smelling happens, the nearly-forty Dick Hannay falls head over heels for a girl I think she's nineteen who happens to be his spymaster. Dick seems to be particularly drawn to her boyishness: "I remember the way she laughed and flung back her head like a gallant boy.

But now I revised that picture. The crystal freshness of morning was still there, but I saw how deep the waters were. It was the clean fineness and strength of her that entranced me. I didn't even think of her as pretty, any more than a man thinks of the good looks of the friend he worships. Standfast a character from Pilgrim's Progress , is rather more so. The Germans have a pretty easy time recruiting the British to work for them, someone tells Hannay. A clever man in that kind of game can make better use of a fool than of a rogue.

Buchan's heroes are always hale, hearty, and bookish. Manliness means being a very upper-crusty, very well educated warrior. A real man can barely stand sitting still. He wants to be in the center of the action; if that's a world war, all the better. There's no ugly war here. It's all beautiful.

Mr. Standfast by John Buchan - Audiobook

These are men who join in wars because they want "fresh air and exercise. This is a book published in Not a terrible spy thriller. Standfast may be the weakest of the series. Like the second book, Greenmantle , it is set during WWI, and once again Hannay is pulled off the front lines with orders to infiltrate a German espionage ring. Standfast has some exciting set pieces, like Hannay's tramp over the Isle of Skye, off Scotland's coast, and his breakneck drive and later glacier climb through the Alps, the novel suffers from too many of these The third of the Richard Hannay novels beginning with The 39 Steps , Mr.

Standfast has some exciting set pieces, like Hannay's tramp over the Isle of Skye, off Scotland's coast, and his breakneck drive and later glacier climb through the Alps, the novel suffers from too many of these sorts of adventures--in short, the book sprawls in a way the more tightly focused Hannay novels don't. Buchan takes us from the English countryside to Glasgow to Skye to London to Switzerland to Italy and, finally, back to the trenches of northern France. All of this traipsing through Europe never succeeds in giving the reader a good grasp of how exactly Ivery's spy ring works, or even what his ultimate plan is--it all seems to be a bare-bones framework to hang the admittedly enthralling adventures on.

Also troubling is the tone of the first fourth or third of the book; Buchan's books are always jingoistic and xenophobic, but Mr. Standfast strikes a meaner, uglier tone with Hannay's infiltration of a pacifist sect. I understand that England was in the middle of WWI when this novel was written, but Buchan rages against anybody who would object to war or even question if it was being fought intelligently or morally--the pacifists and conscientious objectors Hannay runs across are all ripped and described insultingly, with the implication they are all cowards, mentally unstable, or most likely traitors.

Fortunately, Buchan mitigates these early insults with the character of Lancelot Wake, who maintains his pacifist principles but dies delivering messages through the most dangerous parts of the trenches. One other note: as I read through the Hannay novels, I can't help but compare Hannay to James Bond, as Fleming was clearly influenced by Buchan's novels. Where Bond would have a cynical, pragmatic edge, Hannay, in the dawn of modern spycraft, feels that espionage is degrading, diverting soldiers from the front lines--an activity necessary only because the corrupt Germans started the whole game.

Hannay also does not possess the hardness we see in Bond--when he lies, bluffs, or infiltrates, he carries a deep sense of shame at what he is doing, firmly believeing it is less than manly. Buchan was himself an interesting character who wrote some great weird fiction as well as works of serious history. Richard Hannay is commanding an infantry brigade on the Western Front when he finds himself once again, somewhat against his will, assigned to counter-espionage duties.

This time he must go undercover as a pacifist. Pacifist and anti-war activists in Britain are being used by the Germans to undermine the Allied war effort and Hannay must track down the master spy behind this plot. Hannay finds that pacifists are not quite what he expected. Some he instinctively dislikes while for others he gradually learns to feel a grudging respect. He also has another even bigger surprise. The rather crusty year-old brigadier finds himself falling madly in love with the year-old Mary Lamington. Mary is ravishingly beautiful and exceptionally intelligent.

She is also a formidable secret agent. Personally I think this is nonsense. Buchan was a complex and intelligent man and his views are by no means simplistic or rigid. He was also a masterful story teller and the Hannay novels are essential reading for anyone with a love for spy fiction. This story was published in and appears to have been written either during or just at the end of the First War.

It cries out with details and emotion that was still hot at the time of writing. It reads to me as a report on the battles by someone who was there and the report given while it was all fresh in his mind. The anti-German rhetoric is what you would expect but is tempered occasionally with remarks praising German organisation, determination, and hard work. The villain, whom we know This story was published in and appears to have been written either during or just at the end of the First War. The villain, whom we know from the previous books, and proven to be a German aristocrat, is the ideal evil doer; brilliant, highly motivated, and with an army of agents at his command.

With only four; John Blenkiron, the American mining engineer; Richard Hannay; Peter Pienaar, the South African hunter; Mary Lamington, the teen age spy; if they should win it would be a great achievement. Nothing like having terrible odds to stir up all one's abilities. There are patriotic rants such as you find in writing of the period so you have to be careful not to be drawn in too much or you'll find yourself crying "Up the British! View all 5 comments.

Despite its age, published in , almost one hundred years ago , this was a gripping book which I found hard to put down. The battles of the First World War were mentioned a lot and the names all meant something to me - third battle of Ypres, Polygon Wood, the Somme, Amiens, etc. And the German spy that the Intelligence Service was trying to catch was very slippery. Richard Hannay got himself into and out of a number of difficulties. Highly recommended. Very suspenseful. This book's strong point is the suspense, although I like the character of Richard Hannay.

Overall, very worth reading, and probably you'll have to read it all at once, but it's not as good as the first book, the 39 Steps, partly because the ending was slightly drawn out and then suddenly cut off. I guess it was permissible, but I didn't prefer it. An exciting and thought provoking read An excellent read if you like old fashioned adventure stories, even if at times a bit far fetched One of Buchan's best, I think. After reading Mr. Standfast, it's clear I should read Pilgrim's Progress , as it plays an important part in the story.

Standfast is a character in Pilgrim's Progress , one to whom a character in Mr. Standfast the book aspires. Confusing until you've read a mile in their shoes. Or something. Standfast appears to be the third book in a series set before and during World War I. Of course, being a doofus, I couldn't start at the beginning except I've seen two versions of the film adaptations.

Richard Hannay, the main character, is a British general temporarily reassigned to intelligence to infiltrate a group of people who seem to be not for the un United Kingdom. There is evidence of espionage, and it is based upon this evidence that Hannay is redeployed. Adventures ensue. This covers the first third of the book, and I can't really relate the rest of the story without spoilers.

This book is much longer than the books I have been reading, pages! There were times the book seemed to drag, and perchance when reading upon my phone, I paid more attention to how quickly I could read and flip to the next screen to lower the estimated time to completion of the chapter than to the story itself.

Yet, when I thought about it, the ebb and flow accurately portrayed Hannay's view of his mission. At times it moved quickly, at other times it moved nowhere, and sometimes it moved in quicksand. Hannay is generally well characterized in the book, for we see most everything through his eyes and ears.

By John Buchan

Other characters we learn different amounts about, the more important to Hannay, the greater the information related. While the reality of the characters might not be known to us, the reality of them as known by Hannay is sufficient. And as near as I can tell, Hannay has respect for all the people around, even the enemy. Oh, he vehemently disagrees with them, but as an army fellow, he respects the discipline and the strategy of the German military, which seems rather surprising for the time of the book.

While an adventure of one particular man and his cohorts, Mr. Standfast serves as a celebration of the common British man and woman. Not necessarily for the war, each serves in his or her own way in support of the country, to defend it and their way of life not just for themselves, but for their descendants and those who cannot or will not do it themselves. When I finished reading this at breakfast this morning, I had to compose myself so as to not burst into tears in the middle of Whataburger.

This was such a bittersweet ending to the book. This is war, though, and this is life. There is death that comes and death that is put off, but in the end we are all touched by it one way or another. And loved. I recommend Mr.


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Standfast highly not with reservation but with slight trepidation. Do not enter lightly, but perseverance will be rewarded hence, five stars. What is it with series? I just don't like them, that's what. This third Richard Hannay book was a bit of a letdown, but I couldn't bring myself to rate it two stars.