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The Return of John Macnab [Paperback]

Andrew Greig
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 May 2002

An adventure, a poacher's handbook, a romance and a moving story of loss and renewal.

When three friends decide to revive the challenge of the legendary poacher John Macnab (to take a grouse, salmon and deer from three Royal Estates), they plan for everything - except an unstoppable young woman with a past and time on her hands. Bold, sassy, impulsive, with a taste for a good time, flirtation and strong drink, Kirsty Fowles very nearly gets the better of everyone.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (6 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571212581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571212583
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 331,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Greig is a poet and lover of the Highlands. His descriptions of scenery and weather, like John Buchan's, have a poetic exactness, as have his words on love and human complication. His novel, at once thrilling and thoughtful, and always witty, deserves success.' William Buchan (son of John Buchan), Mail on Sunday

From the Back Cover

John Buchan's classic reimagined with a little less tweed, a little more sex, and just the right measure of whisky. THE CHALLENGERS: An ex-SAS officer, a politicized fisherman, a disillusioned crack shot; setting aside marital issues and mid-life crises to teach the landowners a lesson. THE WAGER: They vow to poach a salmon, a brace of grouse and a deer from three estates in the Scottish Highlands, defying the owners to catch them. THE WILD CARD: After they throw their anonymous gauntlet down in the national press, a local journo sniffs them out. Flame-haired troublemaker with a broken past: Kirsty Fowler wants in. But there are no women in ! Well, there is now...

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read 8 May 2008
By Friendlycard VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because of the Buchan connection in the title, but then went on to read every Greig novel that I could find. The author is a poet and mountaineer, the former reflected in the beautiful prose of this book, the latter in his marvellous feel for, and portrayal of, landscape.

Without spoiling a great plot, the book is essentially about three modern young men who set out to emulate the Highland poaching exploits of Buchan's book. Comparisons with Buchan are pointless, as this book takes place in a different era and context. But, like Buchan, Grieg has woven a beautifully-crafted tale around a clever idea. A lovely book, and a great relaxing treat.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable romp in the spirit of the Buchan original 29 April 1999
By A Customer
You don't have to have read the John Buchan book which inspired this but it helps. Modernising and politicising Buchans story of a hunting, shooting, fishing dare this is a very enjoyable book, though the more peotic elements ( the author is also a poet) don't always sit well with the knockabout.
I couldn't have imagined myself enjoying a book which takes hunting and fishing as its main subject, but I did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great yarn 22 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have to confess I didn't read Buchan's original, but this is a well told adventure tale, with a rounded characters at the centre. The story centres around a bet that a team of would be poachers can catch a salmon, shoot a deer and shoot grouse from particular properties, and do it all without being caught. The fun of it is that the team here doing this 'for the hell of it' - just because the challenge is there . It would have been helpful if Greig had laid out the challenge that the team of poachers were facing, but that he didn't is consistent with telling the story via people who know what is happening. The evocation of the highlands is delightful, economic and spare and linked right into the action elements of the plot.

There is a warm vein of humour that runs through the whole story which never takes itself too seriously. The 'villains' of the piece ie the land owners who are trying to prevent their stock from being poached are a nice mix of self interest and atruism, and the heroes are rounded conflicted and interesting as people with a nice mix of competencies and flaws.

This is a great read well outside the standard thriller genre of today - yet it is modern and fun and you don't know until the end if they will pull it off or not. I loved it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining, beautiful prose 11 Sep 2013
By Mark N
Many thanks to Heffers bookshop for thoughtfully shelving this next to John Buchan's original. I've just re-read both, a real treat as one can see how cleverly Greig updates Buchan's story. But this is a self-contained book and can read in its own right. It's something of a black comedy, woven with asute observation of personalities and Scottish character, but also with many surprising and sometimes beautiful phrases. And, it is a gripping thriller too. Strongly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By snayley
My husband was given the original 'John Macnab' (John Buchan) by a much-better-read-than-I friend - who promptly went on to recommend this 'if he enjoyed the orginal'... he did, so my mum gave this book to him for Christmas, and he reckons he enjoyed this more. I kept reading it over his shoulder in bed, and when he eventually passed it over a week later (extremely fast reading by his standards - especially bearing in mind our second child was born at Chritmas!), I devoured it in two sittings - as did my mother when I lent it to her.

You can tell Greig is a poet - the descriptions of places are just beautiful and made me so nostalgic for the hills and localities of my native home (I now live in the South of England!), and as I've discovered is generally true of his writing, you really care for his characters - even the seemingly bit-part ones are sketched well enough to feel like you have a good sense of who they are and why. What is more, he really seems to know his stuff - whether it is climbing, fishing or singing!

I've subsequently given books by Andrew Greig to 3 people, and in keeping with other reviewers I'm actively having to stop myself reading his books in too quick succession - to spread out the enjoyment. His novels have reinginted an interest in poetry, which fittingly was first sparked (in my school days!) by Norman Maccaig (Greig's mentor it would seem).

I don't understand why Greig is not better known... a check in 4 local bookshops (one very large) revealed just a single copy of his latest work (which i bought) between the lot of them. Oh and Amazon - Kindle should get with it, and have more of his stuff!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping yarn 27 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
an engrossing book which was hard to put down. I thought it was better than Buchan's original. A feel good read and if the plot is sometimes tongue in cheek it is beautifully written
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant comic novel 20 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A really delightful riff on Buchan's novel. Vivid, fast paced, with well drawn characters and powerfully descriptive writing about Highland life. A splendid entertainment for a winter's evening.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read 19 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very enjoyable read for a wet afternoon! An interesting idea to "bring up to date" the original John Buchan, which I also greatly enjoyed all of 45 years ago!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars understated genius
Greig gives us real people. This story could be raucous. Instead we hear the subtle melody of genuine human fears, insecurities, hopes and dreams. Wonderful.
Published 1 month ago by JG
1.0 out of 5 stars Cringeworthy
This book is so clumsily written and devoid of subtlety, even Adrian Mole would cringe! No doubt Buchan is turning in his grave from this particularly painful passage: "He looked... Read more
Published 5 months ago by L. Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Exciting and adventurous. Better than the original - or just contemporary? Well worth a read and convinced me to read more Andrew Greig, and the original.
Published 8 months ago by Mike Meechem
4.0 out of 5 stars It's not John Buchan, but it's a great read
Having read the original "John McNab" I had doubts about whether I'd enjoy this updated version. I needn't have worried. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bob Dickson
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
I enjoyed reading this book and also enjoyed the up to date background plot. I have not read the original Macnab and I ought to read this as the book has whet my appetite to read... Read more
Published 11 months ago by marine78
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Read
This is beautifully written. Amusing, witty and a clever updating of the Buchan version. I love the poetic description and the unexpected twists and turns.
Published 12 months ago by AL
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, BUT ...
This is an excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it. However, I do wish that Amazon would stop avoiding their fair share of UK taxes. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars couldn't stop reading - didn't want it to end
Andrew Grieg is a wonderful writer, and this is one of the most captivating books i have ever read. If you enjoy Iain Banks' books which are set in Scotland you will surely love... Read more
Published 24 months ago by markr
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