“I was not a murderer, but I had become an unholy liar, a shameless impostor, and a highwayman with a marked taste for expensive motor-cars.”
— John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915)
The Thirty-Nine Steps is one of the great spy thrillers of the twentieth century. Written by Scottish author John Buchan it is one of the earliest examples of the ‘man-on-the-run’ archetype that subsequently became so readily adopted.
It first appeared as a serial in Blackwood’s Magazine in August and September 1915 before being published in book form in October that year by William Blackwood and Sons.
It is the first of five novels featuring Richard Hannay, an all-action hero with a stiff upper lip and a miraculous knack for getting himself out of tricky situations. When a murder is committed in his flat, just days after a chance encounter with an American who had told him about an assassination plot which could have dire international consequences, Richard Hannay has no choice but to go on the run.
An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target for the killers, he heads to his native Scotland to stay one step ahead of his pursuers, while figuring out the meaning of the cryptic reference to thirty-nine steps.
The Thirty-Nine Steps will be the first book in our Thrillers and Espionage collection.