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The Return of John MacNab Hardcover – 13 Jun 1996

4.1 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Book Publishing (13 Jun. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747217041
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747217046
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,116,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Highly engaging' Sunday Herald. (Sunday Herald) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Cross John Buchan with Iain Banks and you might get close to the feel of this book' Duncan McLean --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Inspired by the John Buchan classic, three friends decide to attempt a variation on John Macnab’s classic challenge; to poach, by sporting means, a salmon, a stag and a brace of grouse from three Scottish estates. Unlike Buchan’s original syndicate, who sought relief from ennui, these modern gentlemen-poachers are inspired by the concerns of the modern world (not least politics).

The original John Macnab novel was a fairly superficial adventure story enlivened by Buchan’s high-Edwardian prose and gift for describing the natural world. Greig shares the latter skill and makes the challenge more palatable to the modern reader by intertwining more up-to-date sub-plots. The upper-class certainties of the original characters are displaced by the fractured class structures and the concerns of the modern world, which provides plenty of fodder to talk about contemporary society.

Despite the multitude of characters and storylines, Greig always remembers that this is, at its heart, an adventure and keeps the action at the forefront. There are occasions when the narrative stretches a little too far into airport thriller territory (the secretive branch of the security services seemed an out of place addition) and he seems to juggle too many characters who between them have too little to do but it’s a rare lapse in an otherwise above average novel.

It takes nerve to write a pseudo-sequel to such a well-loved classic, particularly as the Buchan original has aged rather well. Although clearly a period piece full of assumed social and legal norms, its tightly wound plot and evocation of Scotland’s environment are second to none. Greig updates it in a thought provoking way, such as replacing the arriviste Americans with Middle Eastern royalty and Dutch businessmen. Nevertheless, such has been the pace of change in Scottish land reform and politics since ‘The Return of John Macnab’ was released, that this too is starting to show its age.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 this too. I found Andrew Grieg through an Amazon review, and am so grateful for that review - i have now bought all of his novels and am trying hard to pace myself to save them - they really are that good.

This book follows the adventures of three men who set out to emulate the poaching feats described in John Buchan's novel 'John Mcnab' - they have to poach salmon, grouse , and deer from three of Scotland's largest estates within three weeks to win a large wager. A gripping plot, and an engaging narrative drive the story along - i read this in an all day single sitting - but there is romance, longing for things lost and found, and a real sense of Scotland, its people and its scenery, evoked throughout. I don't think i'll be able to put off reading the sequel Romanno Bridge for very long!

Very highly recommended
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