Saturday 27 June 2020

Book Review: 'The Thirty Nine Steps', by John Buchan

This is the best thriller I have read this year. The fast-paced story, action and adventure is a breath of fresh air, especially since it reverberates with the flavour of a James Bond or Sherlock Holmes thriller, with loads of suspense to boot.

Richard Hannay as the protagonist charms us with his intelligence and presence of mind. Although some of the scenes seem difficult to believe, we are given quite plausible explanations as to how Hannay is able to do all that he does, while thinking on his feet.

One almost expects the action to become fast paced as the pages turn and is not disappointed. The beginning, where Hannay is bored gives us a hint that things are going to change soon in the story. A strange neighbor at his doorstep, who seeks refuge and gets killed in his apartment is only the beginning of Hannay’s adventures. His various disguises, train journeys and descriptions of Scottish landscape keeps us hooked to the pages. The part where he impersonates a roadman is brilliant in its detail. The political assassination emergency juxtaposed with Hannay’s neat, nail-biting escapades render the book a notch above the rest.

What is endearing to the reader, besides giving a realistic touch is towards the climax when Hannay repeatedly doubts his own instinct and ability but sticks on till the very end, because of a friend’s wise advice. One enjoys reading the spy-hunter’s mind as he grapples with the visible evidence and abstract reality.

This is a  short and sweet read that can be finished in a single day, which should not be missed by readers who love suspense and adventure.

Hope you enjoyed my short review. Happy Reading!

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