The Thirty-nine Steps

The Thirty-nine Steps

Book - 2004
Average Rating:
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Penguin Putnam
Famous as the basis for several films, including the brilliant 1935 version directed by Alfred Hitchcock, The Thirty-Nine Steps is a classic of early twentieth-century popular literature

Richard Hannay has just returned to England after years in South Africa and is thoroughly bored with his life in London. But then a murder is committed in his flat, just days after a chance encounter with an American who had told him about an assassination plot that could have dire international consequences. An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target for the killers, Hannay goes on the run in his native Scotland where he will need all his courage and ingenuity to stay one step ahead of his pursuers.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Baker & Taylor
Returning to England after years in South Africa, Richard Hannay enters the Secret Service accidentally after he finds a murdered neighbor in his apartment and finds himself on the run from the police and the killers alike. Reprint.

Blackwell North Amer
Adventurer Richard Hannay has just returned from South Africa and is thoroughly bored with his London life - until a murder is committed in his flat, just days after the victim had warned him of an assassination plot that could bring Britain to the brink of war. An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target for the killers, Hannay goes on the run in his native Scotland, where he must use all his wits to stay one step ahead of the game - and warn the government before it is too late.

Publisher: London, England ; New York, N.Y. : Penguin Books, 2004
Description: xviii, 118 p. ; 20 cm
ISBN: 9780141441177
0141441178
Branch Call Number: Buch
Additional Contributors: Keegan, John 1934-

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Onewhoissaved
Sep 30, 2016

"The 39 Steps", 1915, John Buchan. Buchan calls this novel a "shocker", their word for our "dime novel". England is on the eve of World War I. Scottish born Richard Hannay has lived most of his life out of England and now has returned for some diversion. Without any warning he is drawn into not just a fight for his own life but for the safety and lives of all of England. The writing is good and the vocabulary used here sent me to my dictionary, often without success because of the words needed for a world of 1915 England. Good action here. Alfred Hitchcock's movie by the same name is quite different than the book.

w
wyenotgo
Aug 03, 2015

A fast-moving easy read; a straightforward spy novel. Despite being set a hundred years ago, in a pre-WW1 England, with its Old Country peculiarities including household servants everywhere and passenger trains that stop at every tiny hamlet, it doesn't really seem to be dated. As with any spy story, it requires suspension of disbelief, especially regarding the seemingly endless ingenuity of the protagonists at squeezing out of impossible situations. But that's what makes the genre so entertaining.

l
lukasevansherman
Jan 13, 2015

Enjoyable, early espionage thriller that is a little dry and a little dated. The Hitchcock film is lighter and more entertaining.

g
greatwar100reads
Dec 21, 2014

Buchan describes The Thirty-Nine Steps as a ‘shocker’ – “where the incidents defy the probabilities, and march just inside the borders of the possible.” His description is dead on. The novel is a romp. The situations are barely believable. The coincidences are contrived. But it’s all great escapist fun.

a
alexguthro
Feb 04, 2014

Fun and entertaining read from long ago.

RichKel Oct 24, 2013

The movie is based on the book but don't expect them to be the same. There is no woman, no romance. Hannay is an intrepid adventurer who cleverly escapes every tight situation by relying on his wits. Not a bad novel but it lacks the tension and suspense of a good spy novel.

o
Onewhoissaved
Jun 19, 2013

John Buchan created the character Richard Hanney and kept him going for 5 novels. The 39 Steps has been the inspiration of movies and copy-cat writings. No one preceded Buchan but others follow him. But Buchan himself is probably more storied than his fictional creations. Maybe you would like to check the John Buchan Society? This man died in 1940 but the Society seems to be very current.

m
macierules
Dec 29, 2010

Short but full of adventure - apparently this little book was the original spy novel. Inspired me to put a hold on the Hitchcock movie. John Buchan (aka Baron Tweedsmuir) was one of our Governors General.

b
blossom21
Oct 18, 2010

The book is quite different from the movies. It takes place before WWI. and the pace is slower and less exciting.

d
ds123
May 30, 2010

A fun quick read, although really its a pretty silly story - but a product of the time in which it was written.

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