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Mr. Standfast

John Buchan

Book Overview: 

This is the third of Buchan's Richard Hannay novels, following The Thirty-nine Steps and Greenmantle. Set, like Greenmantle, durinig World War I, it deals Brigadier-General Hannay's recall from the Western Front, to engage in espionage, and forced (much to his chagrin) to pose as a pacifist. He becomes a South African conscientious objector, using the name Cornelius Brand. Under the orders of his spymaster, Sir Walter Bullivant, he travels in the book through England to Scotland, back to the Western Front, and ultimately, for the book's denouement, into the Alps.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Oban and the next thing I'm awa ayont Barra. Sheep's the difficult business. They maun be fetched for the sales, and they're dooms slow to lift. So ye see it's not what ye call a pleasure trip, Maister Brand.'

Indeed it wasn't, for the confounded tub wallowed like a fat sow as soon as we rounded a headland and got the weight of the south-western wind. When asked my purpose, I explained that I was a colonial of Scots extraction, who was paying his first visit to his fatherland and wanted to explore the beauties of the West Highlands. I let him gather that I was not rich in this world's goods.

'Ye'll have a passport?' he asked. 'They'll no let ye go north o' Fort William without one.'

Amos had said nothing about passports, so I looked blank.

'I could keep ye on board for the whole voyage,' he went on, 'but ye wouldna be permitted to land. If ye're seekin' enjoyment, it would be a poor job sittin' on this deck and admirin'. . . Read More

Community Reviews

From BBC Radio 4:
Agent Richard Hannay hunts his nemesis, the head of a First World War German spy ring. Stars David Robb and Clive Merrison.

I enjoyed this book tremendously and it is my favorite Hannay adventure to date. (Or perhaps it is just that I am getting to know the characters better. We'll see with the next book.) The parts where Hannay was spying were exciting and fun reading. There was a bit too much military strategy and a...more

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. Really, I'd say 2-1/2.

There were some exciting passages in this book, but overall I found that the faults exhibited in the two ear...more

Buchan is a bit of an acquired taste. The book is a bit slow at times, and the values that form its backbone are often foreign. But that is part of his charm.

I love old books that were once popular. They are the window into the soul of an age.

In this one, we have a wonderful view of the tensions...more

The third of the Richard Hannay novels beginning with The 39 Steps, Mr. Standfast may be the weakest of the series. Like the second book, Greenmantle, it is set during WWI, and once again Hannay is pulled off the front lines with orders to infiltrate a German espionage ring. Although Mr. Standfas...more

This novel concludes what I think of as the original Hannay trilogy, which sees our hero through the course of the first world war, or the Great War as they used to call it.

There's an interesting change in tone over these three books. 'The Thirty Nine Steps' is stark and intense with Hannay a ma...more

Mr Standfast, published in 1919, was the third of John Buchan’s Richard Hannay espionage novels.

The success of The Thirty-Nine Steps had taken Buchan by surprise. Buchan was himself an interesting character who wrote some great weird fiction as well as works of serious history. He was created Bar...more

Tears galore for me at the finish of this splendid tale: also a wonderful examination of people under the pressure of strife and war.

"In this nail-biting adventure story, Hannay must outwit a foe far more intelligent than himself; muster the courage to propose to the lovely, clever Mary Lamington...more

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...more

After reading Mr. Standfast, it's clear I should read Pilgrim's Progress, as it plays an important part in the story. Mr. 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.

Mr....more

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