Richard Hannay—soldier, spy catcher, and detective—is the original mythic action hero.
In him we see the origins of every Alfred Hitchcock and James Bond movie in which a man lays his life on the line, steeling himself for the final showdown with a pack of murderous saboteurs, enemy agents, and assorted other spies, and law enforcement villains.
Since its publication in 1919, Mr. Standfast has never been out of print.
A ripping yarn by any standards, Hannay must outwit a brutally sinister foe, muster the courage to propose to the lovely Mary Lamington and survive a monstrous war—a perfect follow-up to The 39 Steps and Greenmantle.
Sir Walter Bullivan summons Hannay to the Foreign Office. It appears German and Turkish allies are plotting to throw the Middle East, India and North Africa into turmoil.
The scene changes purposefully through London, a fictional Home Counties location, Glasgow, the Highlands and Islands, and Switzerland prepare the way for a climax in the great German offensive of March 1918, Ludendorff's last, almost successful gambler's throw.
Buchan's description of the accompanying artillery barrage is realistic: you can almost feelthe low thunder of the ominously encroaching guns.
Hannay's old friends from previous adventures are much in evidence. Peter Pienaar has joined the Royal Flying Corps. Blenkiron, the brash American engineer, is now high up in the Intelligence Service and is the one who explains the background to Hannay and pulls strings for him.
The allied trenches provide a dramatic setting for the death of the spy hunted by Hannay and his familiar team of counterspies.
For its pace and suspense, its changes of scenery and thrilling descriptions of the last great battles against the Germans, Mr. Standfast offers everything that has made its author so enduringly popular.
JOHN BUCHAN (1875-1940) the bestselling author of numerous novels is one of the most respected writers of fiction. For sheer emotional force, few practitioners of narrative prose can equal him. His works have been translated into numerous languages and have been made into scores of movies.