The Thirty-nine Steps

The Thirty-nine Steps

Book - 1964
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Publisher: London : Dent, 1964
ISBN: 9780340021989
Branch Call Number: FIC/BUC
Additional Contributors: Ardizzone, Edward 1900-


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Mar 15, 2020

Scary, fast, joyful, and dark. All of these words and many more can be used to describe "The 39 Steps" by John Buchan. This book is the best espionage book I have ever read. It truly lives up to the name "suspense" that is found on the top of the book and it will captivate you from the first to the very last page. All of the characters were excellently crafted, especially the protagonist and the antagonist. I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good and slightly scary espionage book. An excellent read!

Apr 17, 2019

because of the quote, “The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.”

Aug 29, 2018

The story moved a little slowly for me & I didn’t always understand the 1914 British slang. But I enjoyed it enough that I’m not sorry I read it. I didn’t enjoy it enough to read the other 2 books in the series. I very much enjoyed the Introduction in the version I read that was written by the author’s grandson & labels the book as the first modern day spy thriller.

I was fascinated by the history of this 'spy novel' genre and delighted to read 39 Steps in that context. It is indeed a classic for its time.

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.

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.

Jan 13, 2015

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

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.

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.

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Mar 15, 2020

"I believe everything out of the common. The only thing to distrust is the the normal." (Buchan, pg. 29)

Aug 29, 2018

“If you’re going to be killed, you invent some kind of flag and country to fight for, and if you survive you get to love the thing.”

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Mar 15, 2020

PiggyReads thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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