The Thirty-Nine Steps – John Buchan


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Enter Richard Hannay and the beginning of ‘the chase’ adventure

Adventurer Richard Hannay, just returned from South Africa, is thoroughly bored with London life until he is accosted by a mysterious American, who warns him of an assassination plot that could completely destabilize the fragile political balance of Europe. Initially sceptical, Hannay nonetheless harbours the man but one day returns home to find him murdered. An obvious suspect, Hannay flees to his native Scotland, pursued by both the police and a cunning, ruthless enemy the ‘on the run’ trope that was to influence countless others. His life and the security of Britain are in grave peril, and everything rests on the solution to a baffling enigma: what are the ‘thirty-nine steps’?

A classic, the book featured on Guardian’s Best 100 English Novels list at #42.


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