Chapter Five. Various Doings in the West. Chapter Six. The Skirts of the Coolin. Chapter Seven. I Hear of the Wild Birds. Chapter Eight. The Adventures of a Bagman. Chapter Nine. I Take the Wings of a Dove. Chapter Ten. The Advantages of an Air Raid. Chapter Eleven. The Valley of Humiliation. Chapter Twelve. I Become a Combatant Once More. Chapter Thirteen. The Adventure of the Picardy Chateau. Chapter Fourteen. Mr Blenkiron Discourses on Love and War. Chapter Fifteen. St Anton. Chapter Sixteen. I Lie on a Hard Bed.
Chapter Seventeen. The Col of the Swallows. Chapter Eighteen. 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.
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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. 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.
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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. 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. There were some exciting passages in this book, but overall I found that the faults exhibited in the two earlier Hannay tales, namely a tendency to pontificate on character, fate, and philosophy plus a heavy reliance on coincidence to advance the plot were more pronounced here.
Buchan also makes frequent refer What is it with series? Buchan also makes frequent references to events from the previous two books, so this is far from a stand-alone tale. I also found the love interest subplot fairly cringeworthy. The girl is half Hannay's age, for starters, and so wonderfully clean, wholesome, bright, and fearless that I wanted to strangle her. The central plot of the book sets Hannay up against his Moriarty, an evil arch-enemy he's crossed swords with in the past.
Hannay is sent "undercover" among pacifists and conscientious objectors, which gives Buchan endless opportunity to natter on and on about the National Character. When Hannay waxes philosophical, I just skim. That sort of earnest sermonizing seems to have been as de rigeur as fatuous irony is today. What is even more predictable are the countless references to "the Bosch" as the evil spies and perpetrators behind all that's wrong with the war effort.
After a spell among the pacifists, one of Buchan's trademark chase scenes moves things along at a gratifying pace though there are, alas, so many fortuitous encounters that the plot is marred considerably. The last part of the book, which takes place in Switzerland and then on the front in France can be a little hard to follow without brushing up on WW1 tactics and battles.
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At the time this was written , of course, all these events would have been common knowledge. I have to say, however, that I actually enjoyed the opportunity to immerse myself in These books are very much of their time , and there are many baffling references, some minor and some major, which invariably set me googling.
In this novel, for example, I learned that an "Aquascutum" is a type of coat Hannay mentions the word repeatedly , that there were travel restrictions in place for parts of Scotland during the war a fact which is central in an extended "chase" scene , that there were about 50 air raids in Britain during the war, and that "Mr.
Standfast" is a character in Pilgrim's Progress. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. It helped that I was reading this e-text on my iPad and could quickly switch over to a browser to consult Google Speaking of e-books, a word of warning: I first started reading this from a free e-book I'd downloaded from Barnes and Noble. The text was so badly scanned that virtually every sentence had misspelled words and mangled passages.
After about ten pages, I gave up and downloaded a free edition which was almost error-free from Amazon. This is the kind of book I would never normally read but I was led to it because i read in another book that parts of it were set in the early days of Letchworth Garden City and I have a historical interest in that. I believe the protagonist Richard Hannay features in other of Buchan's books and he is certainly well drawn. The book I suppose is best described as an action thriller, a tale of espionage and battle in World War 1.
There are lots of twists and turns and predictably a romance along t This is the kind of book I would never normally read but I was led to it because i read in another book that parts of it were set in the early days of Letchworth Garden City and I have a historical interest in that. There are lots of twists and turns and predictably a romance along the way and a sacrifice at the end which allows the heroes the British of course to win out. Even though it now seems a bit dated and certainly it was predictable, I found it a satisfying read. It is very well written as one would expect from such a famed writer and jumps rapidly from action scene to action scene set in a bewildering variety of locations, with the characters in a number of innovative disguises, rather reminding me of the Milk Tray man Hannay appears as a sort of pre-James Bond figure, suave and upper class Brit but definitely full of British fairness and courage and there were many plot twists, sometimes seeming rather too convenient.
I don't know whether this one was ever made into a film, but it certainly has the right scenic qualities for a movie. Overall, I enjoyed it even though it wasn't really my type of book and I was a bit disappointed that the part set in Letchworth only comprised a chapter or two at the beginning. Although I knew in advance roughly what would happen, I still wanted it to end the way that it did so I felt quite satisfied when I got to the end. If you like spy thrillers and history you will like this book.
The first two, The 39 Steps and Greenmantle, were both excellent and this third story follows easily with another excellent, well-paced, thriller. The Germans are infiltrating pacifist factions and using these people to help their ends, as a conduit for passing information, and other activities. Hannay follows a trail to northern Scotland and back to the front in this wartime adventure.
There are excellent characters in this story, Buchan writes thoughtfully and the story, especially the ending is all excellent. An excellent follow-up to the first two books. Next in this series will be The Three Hostages. View 1 comment. Hard to rate this novel, since it had elements of what I liked in book 1 a well paced mystery filled with improbable lucky escapes and what I disliked in book 2 glory of war, what we would consider racist comments about the 'enemy', more glory of war, yada yada.
I also found the protagonist to be quite dim in this novel, not noticing the obvious clues, whereas in the first novel he was perhaps unlucky, but smart enough to work out some of the more obscure clues adding pace to the novel Give Hard to rate this novel, since it had elements of what I liked in book 1 a well paced mystery filled with improbable lucky escapes and what I disliked in book 2 glory of war, what we would consider racist comments about the 'enemy', more glory of war, yada yada.
I also found the protagonist to be quite dim in this novel, not noticing the obvious clues, whereas in the first novel he was perhaps unlucky, but smart enough to work out some of the more obscure clues adding pace to the novel Given the book finished on a low note its hard to give it a higher rating and I'm less likely to move on to the next one.
Perhaps if it is set after the war, I may give it a chance. Shelves: thriller-suspense , adventure. I found this 3rd installment of the Richard Hannay story gripping! Although it could probably be read as a stand-alone, it does refer to the first two books of the series: The Thirty-nine Steps and Greenmantle , and I would strongly recommend starting with the first book.
This time Hannay tracks down German spies and his main opponent is a master of disguise called Ivery who pursues him through Europe With, as a bit of an unusual backdrop, 'The Pilgrim's Progress' Though a bit overly descriptive at times, this classic war adventure novel is loaded with action, adventure and excitmement on every pa Another thrilling, fast-paced, WWI novel by Buchan featuring the adventures of Richard Hannay and his associates Pieter Pienaar, John Blenkiron and Mary Lamington.
Though a bit overly descriptive at times, this classic war adventure novel is loaded with action, adventure and excitmement on every page This is the 3rd installment of the Richard Hannay series. Hannay is a General of infantry troops in Africa when he is called to go undercover to flush out a German spy ring. The book does a good job n character development and the scenes and action are very good.
The book does have its slow spots but I have never read a book that is non stop action front to back. So far I thing that this is the best book of the series. Slightly dated, but a rollicking good read as the hero is once again under cover and adopting multiple disguises to outwit and try to thwart a surprising enemy with a chilling plan. Reassembling the crew from his second adventure, but with less of each of them and more on Hannay, this is on the return to the form of The Thirty-Nine Steps.
His second adventure from the war and the better of the two. Buchan really lets his politics show through in this one. There are passages in this book where Dick Hannay takes a back seat and Buchan steps into the lead role, damning socialism, labor unions, and especially pacifists. Once Hannay slips back into the book, the narrative regains it strength and the plot surpasses that of Greenmantle, and at times the pace resembles the breakneck chase of 39 steps. All in all, good book Another thrilling yarn by John Buchan! Perhaps the best of the Richard Hannay books.
Alas, Buchan's wonderful yarns can seem tarnished by his Imperialist and pro-war views, but seen in context, they are first rate. If you're interested in Mr. These other books will introduce you to many of the supporting characters found here and are essential for understanding parts of this plot. As for Mr. Standfast , its highs are very high, but its doldrums are dull indeed, and there are large portions of this book that run on far too long, even by the standards of the s when it was written.
I If you're interested in Mr. It is a great letdown after Greenmantle , which is so far the high point in the series for me. Even still, Mr. Standfast is a great adventure, and its many subplots and characters lead to satisfying and sometimes unexpected conclusions. If you can't tell by that name, our hero and this book are British as hell. If you're an Anglophile and you love this sort of WWI spy adventure, and you understand that it's full of jingo and can take it for what it is, you'll like this book!
But read the other two first, then make the decision for yourself whether to read this third. May 27, Lila rated it really liked it. This adventure tale takes Richard Hannay through a series of impossible feats of daring--putting a package of anthrax in a pocket!
It is full of the casual racism of the time, not unexpected; the damsel in distress is actually pretty spunky, but why so young? A woman of 18 doesn't need to be the love interes This adventure tale takes Richard Hannay through a series of impossible feats of daring--putting a package of anthrax in a pocket! A woman of 18 doesn't need to be the love interest of a character in his late 30s.
What is notable about this book is how literary the tale is. The title refers to Pilgrim's Progress. Hannay reads English classics during downtime and even goes to a school teacher to purchase reading material. This reflects the use of British classics in WWI, especially Dickens, as a way of strengthening patriotism. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Kindled for free: Not quite as good as Green Mantle or thirty-nine steps, but quite good still.
Four quotes! Curious both for its affect on the author and its affect on the reader! But most of us Americans have gotten a grip on your Old Country. You'll find us mighty respectful to other parts of your Empire, but we say anything we damn well please about England. You see, we know her that well and like her that well, we can be free with her.
But they're all at home with the old man who used to warm them up with a hickory cane, even though sometimes in their haste they call him a stand-patter. It was more; for in that hour England first took hold of me. Before my country had been South Africa, and when I thought of home it had been the wide sun-steeped spaces of the veld or some scented glen of the Berg. But now I realized that I had a new home. I understood what a precious thing this little England was, how old and kindly and comforting, how wholly worth striving for.
On my last visit to Scotland, when I covered more moorland miles a day than any man since Claverhouse, I had been fascinated by the land, and had pleased myself with plans for settling down in it. But now, after three years of war and general rocketing, I felt less drawn to that kind of landscape. I wanted something more green and peaceful and habitable, and it was to the Cotswolds that my memory turned with longing. I puzzled over this till I realized that in all my Cotswold pictures a figure kept going and coming—a young girl with a cloud of gold hair and the strong, slim grace of a boy, who had sung 'Cherry Ripe' in a moonlit garden.
Up on that hillside I understood very clearly that I, who had been as careless of women as any monk, had fallen wildly in love with a child of half my age. Cool but funny impressions of Celtic lands and people About midday I topped a ridge, and beheld the Sound of Sleat shining beneath me. There were other things in the landscape.
In the valley on the right a long goods train was crawling on the Mallaig railway. And across the strip of sea, like some fortress of the old gods, rose the dark bastions and turrets of the hills of Skye. He told me of evictions in the year.