- Published: 2012
- Number of pages: 158 pages
- Format: Epub
- File Size: 0.59 MB
- Authors: John Buchan
This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.
Review “An archetypal English spy thriller.” – Robert McCrum –This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition. From AudioFile This enjoyable 1947 radio adaptation of John Buchan’s 1916 thriller comes from the vaults of the CBC. More faithful to Buchan’s novel than was Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film adaptation, Charles Rittenhouse’s script also makes fine use of the sound medium. Musical chords punctuate dramatic moments. A montage of train sounds and conversational snatches succinctly maps hero Richard Hannay’s escape from London and the clutches of a spy ring. After he disguises himself in the garb of a cooperative milkman, Hannay’s innocent whistling lets us trace his steps as he nonchalantly slips past the police. Two badly muffled passages turn up, as expected with historic radio transcriptions, but the play is fast-paced fun. G.H. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine– Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine –This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
Reviews from Amazon users, collected at the time the book is getting published on UniedVRG. It can be related to shiping or paper quality instead of the book content:
⭐ Scotsman John Buchan’s fabulous The 39 Steps is rightly considered a seminal classic in the Adventure/Spy genre and it is for good reason it was on The Guardian’s Best 100 English Novels list at #42.This exciting tale of espionage defined the man-on-the-run tale in breathless fashion, and was the first of the author’s Richard Hannay tales. What remains remarkable is the contemporary prose. Though it takes place before the first World War, offering insight into the view of what was happening at that time, the tale is timeless, and with minor changes, could easily be a thrilling espionage adventure told in our day. Books need to be judged within their context, and while most do, some don’t. At least on Amazon, it has a solid four-star average after hundreds of reviews, which I feel more accurately reflects how much fun this is to read.That’s not to say some of what happens isn’t implausible, almost Cornell Woolrich implausible, but with a style and pace which makes Robert Ludlum seem lethargic — no easy task — the reader is having so much fun they simply don’t care. Reading The 39 Steps is fun and exciting, which is what it is supposed to be. Watching Hannay escape time after time until the thrilling confrontation and conclusion is exhilarating.Buchan writes as though using lighting bolts rather than a pen, and we’re just along for the electric-charged ride. The 39 Steps is the quintessential can’t-put-down read. That thrill you got as a youngster reading a mystery adventure by flashlight beneath the covers was captured by Buchan and moved forward into adulthood, and on that level it doesn’t just succeed, it shines. It’s on The Guardian’s list for good reason.The book differs from Hitchcock’s famous British film adaptation in that there is no love interest for Hannay here; frankly because it isn’t needed. A rollicking good old-fashioned tale that set a bar seldom reached since. Fabulous fun and quite enjoyable when read, if you don’t try to compare it with modern-day spy novels.
⭐ As many other purchasers have complained, this is a terrible (or wonderful) example of what can go wrong with cheap, print-on-demand printing. The last pages of the book – right at the climax of the mystery – are out of order or missing. So the whole experience is ruined.Not the first time I have ordered a book from Amazon with similar P.O.D. errorsAmazon, which I understand Jeff Bezos started as a book publishing venture, should be ashamed of their lack of quality control.
⭐ This edition makes it seem as if the author, John Buchan, deliberately created a narrator who writes weird English. Other editions have him using perfectly normal English. The language in this book sounds as if it has been translated by Google or some related translation service into a form of English that is not idiomatic at all. I subsequently bought a different edition of The Thirty-Nine Steps, which was in normal English.Do not buy this Kindle book!
⭐ It’s interesting to see how far things have come since Richard Hannay entered the scene. “The 39 Steps” feels more like a yarn than a cloak-and-dagger tale, but it’s easy to see how this book can be cited as a pre-cursor to the modern spy-thriller genre.It contains several of the requisite components of the spy-thriller: conspiracy, threat to national security, death of catalyst character that forces the protagonist into action. The resolution of said issues is also in-line with genre standards: equal parts kismet and decisive action that only the protagonist can deliver. At odds with genre-standards is the amount of time Hannay spends hiding in fields (very nearly half the book). For the record, the change of scenery was somewhat novel on its own, as well as appropriate for the era in which the story is set. While the beauty of each area of the natural world is offered with simple, poignant prose, it’s still a guy running through fields, moors and rivers. Running and hiding.It feels as though the principal strength of the story lay in it’s presentation. It’s a quick, easy read that only barely overstays its welcome. Buchan knew to keep the story short, in order to better preserve the feel and charm of a yarn. That’s good, because there’s precious little to hold onto for more than a hundred or so pages.Recommended for: buffs of spy-thrillers tracing the roots of their preferred genre; those curious about what Fleming may have read to help inspire the Bond stories; fans of pulp stories; those interested in popular British fiction circa 1915; people visiting their (great?) grandparents and perusing the bookshelves with a few hours to spare.”The capitalists would rake in the shekels, and make fortunes by buying up wreckage. Capital, he said, had no conscience and no fatherland.””The trouble about him was that he was too romantic. He had the artistic temperament, and wanted a story to be better than God meant it to be.””A fool tries to look different: a clever man looks the same and is different.”
⭐ John Buchan’s The 39 Steps opens with Richard Hanney having a chance encounter that will soon change to the course of his life. A desperate man named Franklin Scudder (who we realize later is a spy) confides in Hanney that he is running for his life, and then proceeds to relate a wild tale of a plan of espionage and assassination. Scudder goes as far as to say he has also faked his own death to get away from those tracking him.“It was the wildest sort of narrative, but I had heard in my time many steep tales…which had turned out to be true…Events take a very sharp and drastic turn when Hanney discovers Scudder dead, a knife in his back. Scudder, however, had left behind a notebook. Could this be the key? Hanney vows to take on Scudder’s mission. Yet, he will now be the one who is marked and now in imminent danger:“Yet, oddly enough, for the first time I felt the terror of the hunted on me.”I found The 39 Steps to be a very engaging and effectively told thriller. Told from the vantage point of our man on the run, we get inside Hanney’s head as encounters each obstacle and trap set for him and has to try to worm his way out, and use his cunning and wits to escape. Additionally, the frantic pace and tempo that Buchan employs helps to create a thrilling and fun ride. I was reminded a bit of the 1993 film The Fugitive as I read.Eventually, Hanney soon realizes that there is a mission of much greater import, and that he must try to fulfill his quest. While on the run, Hanney meets an assortment of characters (some allies, some foes) among them a milkman, a literary innkeeper, a roadman, and a sinister old man. There are definite nods to Sherlock Holmes as our hero tries to figure out the one clue that will solve this puzzle, all the while trying to stay alive.“I felt the sense of danger and impending calamity, and I had the curious feeling, too that I alone could grapple with it.”The 39 Steps is quite an entertaining and lively yarn, filled to the brim with adventure and intrigue. It has a bit of everything you want in a thriller—spies, espionage, decoding messages, aliases and disguises, frantic pursuits, assassination plots.Are there some improbabilities and conveniences to aid our protagonist? Yes, there are. But, I felt that these were forgivable because of the entertainment value over all.Very enjoyable book, and I’m interested in taking on reading the next one in the series, Greenmantle.
⭐ If I could give ZERO stars I would. This book was a disaster. I got to the last 10 pages and nothing made sense. Pages were either out of order or incomplete. Bought this book for my mystery book club but could not participate since I didn’t know how the book ended. I should read the one star reviews before ordering then I would have know what a disaster this POD book was. How do I get my money back. This is the only time I have been disappointed by Amazon.
⭐ This is a virtually unreadable transcription of The 39 Steps. The very first paragraph has errors that detract from this wonderful book. In the original we read, “If anyone had told me a year ago that I would have been feeling like that I should have laughed at him; but there was the fact.” This version reads,”If absolutely everyone had instructed me a yr ago that I would had been feeling like that I have to have laughed at him; but there was the fact.”I gave up on this version after three pages of garbling the text. Don’t waste you money on this version. There are other better transcriptions.
⭐ Classic and quick read which was thouroghly enjoyable. However, in the final chapter, where the entire story comes to a head, pages 81 through 87 are published out of order! It takes awhile to figure out from which page to jump, and back again.This book is published on demand by Amazon, and evidently they have their issues. For example, people have been complaining for over 4 years that this edition has publishing flaws, and Amazon doesn’t care to fix it.Recommend the story, but not this on demand published futility.
⭐ If you, like many since Downton Abbey and other things came along to feed us anglophiles, enjoy a genuine drama that is also a thriller, this is the book for you. It is not politically correct, it is written of and in a period hat will never exist again and what Americans once considered “Merry olde England.”If you like Sherlock, you will love this. If you love a spy thriller, this is your book. If you’d like to go back several decades before Agatha Christie, come along! This is from the days of “hale fellow, well met,” and I look forward to following the other Richard Hannay books that gleam like gems at dusk as I sip on a gin and tonic.
⭐ This is a World War I era spy/adventure/mystery/thriller story written as part of the British government’s propaganda efforts, in which most prominent British writers were enlisted. It’s full of British “good old chaps” who instantly trust and aid each other despite wild tales and incongruities. The villains, of course, are German. Amazing coincidences abound to further the story. How the Germans got most of their knowledge and perpetrated their deeds remains unexplained when the book has ended. How did they locate Scudder to kill him? How did they track and then anticipate the movements of Hannay (yes, I know they had an aeroplane, but that’s not saying enough). Most of the book is a bit of a travelogue with Hannay fleeing the Germans through Scotland (Buchan was a Scot) without really knowing who they are or what they are up to. Of course the British commoners thwart the seemingly invincible German intelligence agents. Perhaps innovative when it was written, but now best read as a period piece.
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