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The Three Hostages (Richard Hannay) [Paperback]

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

1 July 2010 Richard Hannay
After distinguished service in the First World War, Richard Hannay settles into peaceful domesticity with his wife Mary and their young son. However, news comes to him of three kidnappings. With no more than a few tantalisingly cryptic lines of verse as clues, he is soon on the trail of Dominick Medina a charismatic polymath but a man utterly and consumedly wicked. As Hannay uncovers an international plot to twist innocent minds through hypnotism and blackmail, it appears that he has met his match in one of Buchan's most memorable villains.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846971578
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846971570
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 94,669 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


'Buchan showed the way. His pace and drive always spelled adventure, always writ large' --Graham Greene

'Buchan was a major influence on my work' Alfred Hitchcock talking to François Truffaut --Alfred Hitchcock talking to François Truffaut

'The Hannay books are . . . about penetration of the enemy, about lonely escape and wild journeys, about the thin veneer that stands between civilisation and barbarism even in the most elegant drawing-room in London' --Robin W Winks

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hannay and thought control 2 Nov 2011
It is now some five years after the end of the First World War and Hannay has settled down to a peaceful life in the country with his wife and small child. That peace is ended when he is approached by his old spymasters looking to employ Hannay's unique can-do skill-set to track down three wealthy hostages, kidknapped by a sinister and globally threatening crime organisation, headed by an undectected master criminal of immense intelligence and power. Hannay plunges into a dark world where hypnotism and brainwashing are just some of the dangers that need to be faced. Using his intuitive powers of deduction, and placing his life directly on the line, Hannay sets about discovering the identity of the master criminal and the whereabouts of the hostages. Although Hannay leads the way he is ably assisted by former wartime friends and acquaintances, including his wife. Buchan is a great adventure story teller and The Three Hostages is no exception. However, there are aspects of the book that may not sit comfortably with a modern reader. In particular, the depiction of Jewish characters may give rise to thoughts that Buchan was a racist. I explored this further via various articles and found that Buchan was, at least latterly in his life, seen as a pro-Jewish supporter. Nevertheless, the stereotypical depictions used by some of his characters in the book did make me feel uncomfortable, even allowing for the time it was written.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three At Last! 12 Feb 2011

`The Three Hostages' (1924) is the fourth of John Buchan's five tales involving his hero and adventurer, Richard Hannay. Following on from the author's now signature-tale, `The Thirty Nine Steps' (1915) and its two sequels, `Greenmantle' (1916) and `Mr Standfast' (1918), `The Three Hostages' has three very tough acts to follow. The opening trilogy of Hannay novels is a genuine collection of classic thrillers from the first quarter of the 20th century and, with the causes and events of The Great War its theme, provided thrills-and-spills in an era of tremendous uncertainty and tension.

In many ways, `The Three Hostages' cannot fail to fall short of its predecessors. The story re-introduces the reader to an older Richard Hannay, married and the father of a young son, living on a country estate. Our hero is pulled out of retirement by his old comrade, Bullivant, asking him to help track down three missing persons: "the daughter of the richest man in the world, the heir of our greatest dukedom, [and] the only child of a national hero." After much deliberation, Hannay accepts the case and so begins the search for the missing three.

In accepting his mission, for much of the novel, Hannay plays the part of the hunter, rather than (as was so perfectly done in his first adventure) the hunted. His quest leads him to become entangled with the seemingly-perfect London MP, Dominick Medina, whose charming façade disguises a malevolent and hypnotic control over his fellow man. It is to the book's credit that Medina is undoubtedly one of Buchan's most memorable villains.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Super but dated 26 Oct 2007
By Birmingham Book Reader VINE VOICE
Three Hostages is, in my view, the best of John Buchan's books to feature Richard Hannay. This is a well written and thought out thriller.

However many the themes are dated today - but they do give readers a glimpse into the world and thoughts of the high Tory of the 1920-1940's that John Buchan was.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The three hostages 15 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Really not one of his best. Does not reach the standard of The Thirty Nine
Steps. I persevered, but finally gave up and could not finish it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A book of its time 3 Dec 2013
By Susie K
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very political and highly improbable. It has not travelled the past 90 years well. Rather sad really, not a patch on 39 Steps.
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