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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Re-reading Prester John
I first read this book some 6o years ago. It entranced me then and I re-read it several times. As in all his best books (The Dancing Floor; The Courts of the Morning; The Far Islands; possibly Greenmantle) in Prester John there is a captivating sense of ancient, hidden knowledge ... meretricious, of course, but seductive. There is also clean prose and the bite of a well...
Published on 30 Oct 2003 by N. Wilson

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Set in Scotland and South Africa
Entertaining account of a Scottish lad seeking his future in South Africa and encountering a character from his past who has a mission to fulfil. Interesting account of tribal uprisings in South Africa during the early part of 20th Century.
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer


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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Re-reading Prester John, 30 Oct 2003
By 
N. Wilson "gogleddwr" (Yorkshire, UK of GB and NI) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Prester John (Paperback)
I first read this book some 6o years ago. It entranced me then and I re-read it several times. As in all his best books (The Dancing Floor; The Courts of the Morning; The Far Islands; possibly Greenmantle) in Prester John there is a captivating sense of ancient, hidden knowledge ... meretricious, of course, but seductive. There is also clean prose and the bite of a well written thriller. My reason for re-reading it was to see if nowadays its inherent racialist snobbery made it intolerable. Interestingly, it does not. It had no effect on me as a child and, if you feel your way back into the strangely innocent mind-set of the imperialist elite, it is something you may observe with curiosity ... and gain historical understanding. Naturally, the thrill of the story has faded a bit with longer experience and a more jaded palate - but it is still a darn good tale.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Rollicking Adventure Story, 12 Aug 2008
By 
Mr. H. F. Murden (New Barnet, Herts, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Prester John (Paperback)
Having read Buchan's '39 Steps' many years ago I thought it was time I re-acquainted myself with this master of the short thiller/adventure.

I wasn't disappointed ! A thoroughly enjoyable read, the somewhat anachronistic language highlights the changes in society's attitudes towards race since it was written but in no way detract from the book's charm.

Buchan's crisp and fast moving prose make this a real page turner !
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for a winter afternoon, 1 Dec 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Prester John (Paperback)
A classic page-turner!! The story of the stereotypical colonialist 'plucky young lad' out to make his fortune in Africa. Unsurprisingly, he gets tangled up in the midst of an African tribal uprising. While perhaps propagandist at one time, somehow the stereotypical colonialism from the turn of the century doesn't really strike the reader. What does is the fast paced, 'Boy's Own' narrative of one person's heroic adventures. A great adventure story to take you away for an afternoon to a world that now seems far removed from this one. A time to remember adolescent dreams of glory in far-off lands.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great adventure story, 8 Dec 2010
By 
Legal Vampire (Buckinghamshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Prester John (Paperback)
A great adventure story. No point debating wheher it could all actually have happened; this is entertainment, just enjoy it!

It begins with a strange and dangerous incident during the narrator's boyhood in Scotland, involving a visiting African Christian minister who secretly combines his Christianity with more ancient beliefs.

The story swiftly moves on to South Africa, where the narrator goes to seek his fortune after the death of his father forces him to abandon previous plans to go to university and enter the ministry.

He soon finds that beneath the surface calm the natives are restless and something strange is going on, linked in some way to an inaccessible cave and the old legend of a Christian king somewhere in Africa called Prester John. Soon, the natives are revolting!

Quite a short book, so not too forbidding to pick up and begin reading.

Really, the book has two heroes, the black leader of the African revolt and the white man who helps to foil it, both of whom have remarkable qualities, regardless of which of them is ultimately right.

As other reviewers have already commented on it, it may become a little tedious to go on about the race and colonialism issues, but it is hard not to mention it in a modern review.

The author John Buchan assumes that black Africans' dreams of expelling the white man and restoring their past African kingdoms are in some ways a noble endeavour but ultimately, for the foreseeable future, Africans are better off under colonial rule as long as it introduces modern technology, education, law and Christianity. Frankly, given the unhappy history of quite a few African countries since independence, we should not assume that Buchan was completely wrong to believe that.

Strangely, the most 'racist' stereotyping in the book is perhaps of a Portuguese character. At one point the narrator says he is looking for a Portuguese man, "What does he look like?" "Shifty, furtive looking" "Oh, all Portuguese look like that!"

But in truth, my children, no previous generation and no other society has ever fully lived up to our 21st Century, Western standards of political correctness. Unless you therefore intend to boycott the literature of all previous generations, which would be a narrow minded thing to do, you just have to accept that it will probably contain some attitudes different from ours.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Buchan Classic, 13 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Prester John (Kindle Edition)
A Classic, read and re-read, with quite a bit of Buchans persona in the main character, as in all his books
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Childhood revisited, 22 Aug 2011
This review is from: Prester John (Paperback)
Read this as a boy and thoroughly enjoyed it. Forty years on enjoyed it again. Comes in the category of 'Ripping Yarns'. Written a century ago and politically incorrect today but who cares - a great story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My first Kindle Book, 13 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Prester John (Kindle Edition)
Because this is an old book, it isn't politically correct. However, it is a rip-roaring adventure set in Africa. EXCELLENT.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, 24 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Prester John (Kindle Edition)
Enjoyable, pleasurable and interesting read based in the 19th century and the language used takes a little getting used to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Set in Scotland and South Africa, 3 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Prester John (Kindle Edition)
Entertaining account of a Scottish lad seeking his future in South Africa and encountering a character from his past who has a mission to fulfil. Interesting account of tribal uprisings in South Africa during the early part of 20th Century.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality story trelling., 12 May 2013
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This review is from: Prester John (Kindle Edition)
The author knows his subject;Africa. His employment as a senior British Government provided him with an excellent fund of material from which to draw.
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