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Greenmantle by John Buchan


Part of the The Richard Hannay Adventures Series
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Richard Hannay sets off an a hair-raising journey through German-occupied Europe to meet his old friend, Sandy Arbuthnot in Constantinople. They struggle to subvert German espionage attempts in the Middle East and halt the further spread of pro-German sympathy in the Muslim world. This edition has a hugely informed and terrific Introduction by Christopher Hitchens. Set during World War I, Greenmantle is a controversial meditation on the power of political Islam (it was pulled from Radio 4's schedule at the time of the 7 July bombings).


Greenmantle by John Buchan

Richard Hannay is tasked to investigate rumours of an uprising in the Muslim world and takes off on a hair-raising journey through German-occupied Europe to meet up with his old friend Sandy Arbuthnot in Constantinople, where they must thwart the Germans' plans to use religion to help them win the war.


'It's a special sort of book that can fire your imagination and transport you to worlds you've never known, but Greenmantle continues to take me on a trip, every time I read it' - Kevin Sampson'

About the Author

John Buchan

John Buchan led a truly extraordinary life: he was a diplomat, soldier, barrister, journalist, historian, politician, publisher, poet and novelist. He was born in Perth in 1875, the eldest son of a Free Church of Scotland minister, and educated at Hutcheson’s Grammar School in Glasgow. He graduated from Glasgow University then took a scholarship to Brasenose College, Oxford. During his time there – ‘spent peacefully in an enclave like a monastery’ – he wrote two historical novels.

In 1901 he became a barrister of the Middle Temple and a private secretary to the High Commissioner for South Africa. In 1907 he married Susan Charlotte Grosvenor; they had three sons and a daughter. After spells as a war correspondent, Lloyd George’s Director of Information and a Conservative MP, Buchan – now Sir John Buchan, Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield - moved to Canada in 1935 where he had been appointed Governor-General.

Despite poor health throughout his life, Buchan’s literary output was remarkable – thirty novels, over sixty non-fiction books, including biographies of Sir Walter Scott and Oliver Cromwell, and seven collections of short stories. In 1928 he won the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Britain’s oldest literary prize for his biography of the Marquis of Montrose. Buchan’s distinctive thrillers – ‘shockers’ as he called them – were characterised by suspenseful atmosphere, conspiracy theories and romantic heroes, notably Richard Hannay (based on the real-life military spy William Ironside) and Sir Edward Leithen. Buchan was a favourite writer of Alfred Hitchcock, whose screen adaptation of The Thirty-Nine Steps was phenomenally successful.

John Buchan served as Governor-General of Canada until his death in 1940, the year his autobiography Memory Hold-the-door was published. His last novel Sick Heart River was published posthumously in 1941.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st June 2011


John Buchan

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Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General


352 pages


Action Adventure / Spy
Books for the Boys
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Espionage & spy thriller



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