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Title: The Thirty Nine Steps

Author: John Buchan (1st Baron Tweedsmuir)

Year of Publication: 1915 (20th century)

Type: Novel

Genre: Adventure/Thriller

Plot Summary: Set in the weeks immediately before the outbreak of the First World War, the story concerns a young South African mining engineer of Scottish extraction: Richard Hannay. He arrives in London, rich and bored, and is suddenly engulfed in a German plot to destroy the British Fleet. Suspected of murder, he leaves London pursued by police and the Black Stone Gang, heading for the nearest wild and unpopulated regions of Scotland. After some days spent on the moors and hills of Galloway he steals a car at Bargrennan and drives north-west towards the head waters of the River Tweed.

Hannay crashes the car whilst eluding a monoplane near Broughton, and assists the 'Radical Candidate' by addressing a political meeting in 'Brattleburn' (Peebles). On a borrowed bicycle he admires the view just north of the Devil's Beef Tub and soon after meets the 'Spectacled Roadman' who lives at 'Blackhopefoot'. (This is a fictional spot, presumably near Black Hope Burn in Moffatdale, but logic suggests its 'real-life' location was Tweedhopefoot.) Somewhere here in the hills is the remote home of the evil 'Bald Archaeologist', from whose grips Hannay escapes using the poisonous 'lentonite' explosive. He struggles on foot across Hart Fell, returning to the Roadman's home to recover and lie low. Ten days later, posing as a drover, he walks by Annan Vale to Moffat and catches a train back to London. There his adventures continue.

Publisher: Penguin UK

Web: http://www.penguin.co.uk/
ISBN: 0192839314

Known TV / Film adaptions: The 39 Steps (1935, UK) directed by Alfred Hitchcock, The 39 Steps (1959, UK) directed by Ralph Thomas, The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978, UK), directed by Don Sharp, The Three Hostages (1977, UK) directed by Clive Donne, The 39 Steps (BBC, 2008), directed by James Hawes.



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