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Greenmantle

John Buchan

Book Overview: 

Greenmantle is the second of five Richard Hannay novels by John Buchan. It is one of two Hannay novels set during the First World War, the other being Mr Standfast; Hannay’s first and best-known adventure, The Thirty-Nine Steps, is set in the period immediately before the war started. Hannay is called in to investigate rumors of an uprising in the Muslim world, and undertakes a perilous journey through enemy territory to meet up with his friend Sandy in Constantinople. Once there, he and his friends must thwart the Germans’ plans to use religion to help them win the war, climaxing at the battle of Erzurum.

Recommended for fans of Tom Clancy.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .me about the worst thing that could happen to a man. The sight of German prisoners used to give me a bad feeling inside, whereas I looked at dead Boches with nothing but satisfaction. Besides, there was the off-chance that I might be recognized. So I kept very much in the shadow whenever we passed anybody in the corridors. The few we met passed us incuriously. They saluted the deputy-commandant, but scarcely wasted a glance on us. No doubt they thought we were inquisitive Germans come to gloat over them. They looked fairly fit, but a little puffy about the eyes, like men who get too little exercise. They seemed thin, too. I expect the food, for all the commandant's talk, was nothing to boast of. In one room people were writing letters. It was a big place with only a tiny stove to warm it, and the windows were shut so that the atmosphere was a cold frowst. In another room a fellow was lecturing on something to a dozen hearers and drawing figures on a blackboard. . . . Read More

Community Reviews

A great read of high adventure with a good bit of humor, especially in the early part. Book two in Buchan's Richard Hannay series. A special treat is getting to met Peter Pienaar who helped Hannay survive the ordeal of The Thirty-Nine Steps without even being present. He's definitely present in t...more

Compared to the hectic pace and implausible coincidences of The Thirty-nine Steps, Greenmantle (1916), the second volume of the Richard Hannay trilogy, is more than a Boy's Own adventure tale. Buchan, it turns out, can really write. I was entertained by his deft turns of phrase. Even when the plo...more

This is great work--the writing is personal and emotional, and yet it's formula is spy novel, Conan DOyle in the mystery but with added depth because it's about Turkey and the East and will give you insight into World War I in Europe. It's also remarkably prescient, written before the end of that...more

Greenmantle follows Buchan's "Thirty-nine Steps" not as a sequel so much (imho), but rather as something along the line of the further adventures of Richard Hannay, the main protagonist and overall hero of the Thirty-nine Steps. Hannay has since been a soldier in WWI, in which he was injured at L...more

I first read this book when I was 10 or 11. It was a library copy, borrowed from the Kodaikanal Club in Kodaikanal, a hill station in south India. It used to be the local English club and the contents of the library still include a large number of old hardbound editions of authors who were popula...more

Recovering from injuries sustained at the Battle of Loos, Richard Hannay is charged by Sir Walter Bullivant with investigating rumours of an uprising in the Muslim world.  It seems the Germans plan to use religion to help them win the war by causing Britain and its allies to divert troops from th...more

An involved plot that drags spy Hannay across half of Europe and into Turkey, with one identity after another.

This was too much convolution out on a limb, not enough grounding the reader in what was going on, an ending that comes out of nowhere, and a lot of scenes where I was expected to react i...more

The Ripping-est of Ripping Yarns

I've got a special shelf, "Ripping Yarns," set up here at Goodreads devoted to this sort of tale. The salient feature of a ripping yarn is that once you're well into the book, despite whatever flaws there might be in plot, plausibility, or characterization, it's da...more

What a splendid adventure story and more.

Richard Hannay in 1915 on a top mission to foil a plot to create a holy war in the Muslim world, to draw troops from the Western Front, and to help Germany win the war. Hannay must track down the mysterious prophet who holds the key to everything - Greenma...more

What a strange, entertaining book!

Greenmantle is an odd kind of historical novel about WWI, a spy story about a team of heroes trying to solve a mystery and foil plots. What makes it unusual is that John Buchan wrote it *during* WWI, while serving in France and in British intelligence. Through t...more

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