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The Island of Sheep (Richard Hannay) [Paperback]

John Buchan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 July 2010 Richard Hannay
A long-forgotten promise made by Richard Hannay finds him honour-bound to resolve a violent vendetta in which the lives of a young father and his daughter are in danger from unscrupulous and desperate men. Hannay sets out on a high-octane chase from the rural tranquillity of his English manor to the Scottish Borders and, ultimately, to Scandinavia. On the remote Island of Sheep, a final confrontation takes place and everything is decided ... once and for all. This, the last of the Hannay adventures and the last of Buchan's novels to be published during his lifetime is a rare gem of high drama interwoven with Buchan's personal beliefs about the problems of a post-war world.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited; Reprint edition (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184697156X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846971563
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 169,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Buchan was born in Perth. His father was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland; and in 1876 the family moved to Fife where in order to attend the local school the small boy had to walk six miles a day. Later they moved again to the Gorbals in Glasgow and John Buchan went to Hutchesons' Grammar School, Glasgow University (by which time he was already publishing articles in periodicals) and Brasenose College, Oxford. His years at Oxford - 'spent peacefully in an enclave like a monastery' - nevertheless opened up yet more horizons and he published five books and many articles, won several awards including the Newdigate Prize for poetry and gained a First. His career was equally diverse and successful after university and, despite ill-health and continual pain from a duodenal ulcer, he played a prominent part in public life as a barrister and Member of Parliament, in addition to being a writer, soldier and publisher. In 1907 he married Susan Grosvenor, and the marriage was supremely happy. They had one daughter and three sons. He was created Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield in 1935 and became the fifteenth Governor-General of Canada, a position he held until his death in 1940. 'I don't think I remember anyone,' wrote G. M. Trevelyan to his widow, 'whose death evoked a more enviable outburst of sorrow, love and admiration.'

John Buchan's first success as an author came with Prester John in 1910, followed by a series of adventure thrillers, or 'shockers' as he called them, all characterized by their authentically rendered backgrounds, romantic characters, their atmosphere of expectancy and world-wide conspiracies, and the author's own enthusiasm. There are three main heroes: Richard Hannay, whose adventures are collected in The Complete Richard Hannay; Dickson McCunn, the Glaswegian provision merchant with the soul of a romantic, who features in Huntingtower, Castle Gay and The House of the Four Winds; and Sir Edward Leithen, the lawyer who tells the story of John MacNab and Sick Heart River, John Buchan's final novel. In addition, John Buchan established a reputation as an historical biographer with such works as Montrose, Oliver Cromwell and Augustus.

Product Description


'There is a message for modern politicians in his writing' --Ann Widdecombe

'Rejoice in the pre-war prose . . . and in Buchan s beautifully observed landscapes' --Sunday Telegraph

'The narrative drive of his thrillers is unsurpassed' --Evening Standard

About the Author

John Buchan was a Scottish diplomat, barrister, journalist, historian, poet and novelist. He published nearly 30 novels and seven collections of short stories. He was born in Perth, an eldest son, and studied at Glasgow and Oxford. 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 and they subsequently had four children. After spells as a war correspondent, Lloyd George's Director of Information and Conservative MP, Buchan moved to Canada in 1935. He served as Governor General there until his death in 1940.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The mature Hannay, scared of old age 7 July 2001
The Island of Sheep is the last Hannay book and introduces the hero as settled in his home and in family life until the past comes back in the shape of Haraldsen and an old vow to his father. The action is much slower than previous Hannay tales and introduces the reader to new characters such as Peter John, Hannay's son, while reintroducing old friends such as Sandy and Geordie Hamilton and even a throw back to Peter Pienaar. After a chance encounter of the train, Hannay feels that he and his former friends have accepted the advance of age too easily and he is no longer at ease with the comfort his more mature years have brought. The development of the plot however shows that the old Hannay is still there as is the former drive of other acquaintances, something questioned by Hannay himself earlier on. The plot moves from haven to haven - from Hannay's haven, Fosse, to Sandy's, Laverlaw and finally to the dénouement on the Island of Sheep of the title, the persued Haraldsen's haven where he finally finds his inner-strength and is true to his ancestry. Thus the plot has two levels - an adventure stroy as to be expected of any Buchan novel featuring Hannay but also a more spiritual search for one's home as in the home of one's soul. "The Norlands are a spiritual place which you won't find on any map. Every man must discover his own Island of Sheep." Let's hope we all do ...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a buchan classic 18 Feb 2000
By A Customer
this book is up there with john macnab, which is, in my opinion the best book buchan ever wrote. this is a thriller of the highest quality, taking the reader back to a quieter time where life was more gentle. a very worthwhile read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As good as John Macnab 16 Dec 2008
By Lynch
If you liked John Macnab then this book and its predessors are definetly worth reading. Clear concise old-style thrillers, one and all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Island of Sheep 1 Jun 2012
By Bacchus
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is, without question one of the best written stories you could hope to read. The slower pace at first reflects the age of the protagonists but the action comes through. Hannay has all the qualities of a proper hero; tough, resilient, honest and committed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars shadows from the past 2 Mar 2012
By BobH
Shadows From the Past
This novel was read as part of `The Complete Richard Hannay` by John Buchan.
`The Island of Sheep' is one of the less well-known thrillers in the Richard Hannay series . The opening pages move slowly and may put you off but persevere and once you get to the account of the fight at Mfudi's kraal in Africa, the real origin of the plot, the pace picks up. Another factor to put you off MIGHT be the style of when it was written (1936). I know much of the writing appearing before 1939 distresses some of my fellow reviewers on Amazon but persist as the language hasn't changed that much - for myself I must admit to finding most 18th century literature a bit too much. Also Buchan employs the occasional word not in our usual vocabulary such as `apolaustic' - I tracked that down as meaning `pleasure-seeking'. So why use it? In the story there's a ridiculous example of trickery to assist the cause of the righteous and the usual coincidences which help the plot along.
So much for the negative points. Let's be more positive. You're in for a good thriller with the usual components. Here are some examples:
Rogues who are merely rascals: `.... I have seen him look as ugly as sin. The pale eyes became mean and shallow and hard, the rudimentary features somewhat less than human..... I dare say you've gathered don't much like Mr. Barralty.'
A rogue who plunges the depths of wickedness: `D'Ingraville wasn't likely to fling away such a trump card. He would use these helpless children to the limit as bargaining counters, and if I refused a deal, he would not be scrupulous about those counters.'
A damsel (albeit `a child') in need of being rescued : `Her hair had gold glints in it.
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