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Greenmantle [Download] ➵ Greenmantle Author John Buchan – Thomashillier.co.uk In Greenmantle Richard Hannay hero of The Thirty Nine Steps travels across war torn Europe in search of a German plot and an Islamic Messiah He is joined by three of Buchan's heroes Peter Pienaar the In Greenmantle Richard Hannay hero of The Thirty Nine Steps travels across war torn Europe in search of a German plot and an Islamic Messiah He is joined by three of Buchan's heroes Peter Pienaar the old Boer Scout; John S Blenkiron the American determined to fight the Kaiser; and Sandy Arbuthnot Greenmantle himself is partly modeled on Lawrence of Arabia The intrepid four move in disguise through Germany to Constantinople and the Russian border to face their enemies the grotesue Stumm and the evil beauty of Hilda von Einem.


10 thoughts on “Greenmantle

  1. Jayaprakash Satyamurthy Jayaprakash Satyamurthy says:

    I first read this book when I was 10 or 11 It was a library copy borrowed from the Kodaikanal Club in Kodaikanal a hill station in south India It used to be the local English club and the contents of the library still include a large number of old hardbound editions of authors who were popular in the Victorian and Edwardian eras Early on in this novel Hannay remarks on the ability of the English for 'getting inside the skin' of distant races He goes on to say 'Perhaps the Scots are better than the English but we're all a thousand per cent better than anybody else' Someone had underlined this sentiment and jotted down in the margin 'Oh really?' The rejoinder in a different hand was 'Yes really my dear anonymous' This was followed by a phrase apparently in Dutch that I cannot recall As we contemplate the death of print it strikes me that little exchanges like these are going the way of the dinosaur and the loss isn't necessarily a great step forward for civilizationBut reading these books tends to put me in that kind of frame of mind They are so much a product of their age all Empire and honour and robust manly values pitted against all sorts of 'nastiness' Hannay faces immense dangers but in a way he never ventures very far from home with the whole of the world seeming to be a sort of backyard to Europe where you may encounter an old boy from the old school around the next hill or valley It was a world in which countries like mine figured as little than pawns in the machinations of the Western empires and the phrase 'white man' could be meant as a compliment without necessarily entailing any specific degree of racism apart from the generic assumption that one's own type are superior which truth be told is probably as prevalent today behind the eye wash of politically correct phraseology Meanwhile what we have here is a remarkably exciting adventure full of broad generalisations about national character memorable characters and daring exploits Buchan's old fashioned beliefs don't hinder the novel I'd say they help it along by giving the narrative a real sense of vitality because the writer believes in the stakes being fought for Wildly improbable and thoroughly enjoyable all in all


  2. Kay Kay says:

    The Ripping est of Ripping YarnsI've got a special shelf Ripping Yarns set up here at Goodreads devoted to this sort of tale The salient feature of a ripping yarn is that once you're well into the book despite whatever flaws there might be in plot plausibility or characterization it's damn near impossible to put down John Buchan's four tales featuring hero Richard Hannay fall suarely in the ripping yarn tradition and they're particularly remarkable as examples of early spy novels Here are the badder than bad villains and resourceful patriotic man's man of a hero that we encounter later in the novels of Ian Fleming for example Then there's the perennial theme that pits one worldview against another with the fate of civilization hanging in the balance The exotic settings in Germany Hungary and Turkey add another layer of intrigue The plot is too convoluted and to be honest a little too hocus pocus to recap but it doesn't really matter Once the reader has gotten by some of the initial artifice of the premise it's a sleigh ride One thing that I found slightly difficult was the dated parlance of the WWI era soldier Germans for example are almost always referred to by Hannay as the Boche while freuent references to the Boer War the Turkish campaign and other contemporary events make the book at times heavy going I have a fairly good grounding in the history of this period but still at times I found passages such as this opaue I watched the figures in khaki passing on the pavement and thought what a nice safe prospect they had compared to mine Yes even if next week they were in the Hohenzollern or the Hairpin trench at the uarries or that ugly angle at the Hooge Well clearly those refer to places of heavy fighting during WWI but I've no idea where they were The point is these sort of references pepper the narrative and the reader is advised to just sail on by and not too worry too much about it Another thing that is worrisome though are the freuent lucky chance encounters Hannay is forever running across one or another of his fellow adventurers at opportune moments in an obscure town on the banks of the Danube for example It seems than a little contrived to the modern reader Finally there's one hurdle for contemporary audiences the stiff upper lip jolly good show British warrior ethos that pervades the book Here's a representative passage from near the end of the book when Hannay and two of his companions are trapped and face almost certain deathWe're the lucky fellows said Sandy; we've all had our whack When I remember the good times I've had I could sing a hymn of praise We've lived long enough to know ourselves and to shape ourselves into some kind of decency But think of those boys who have given their lives freely when they scarcely knew what life meant They were just at the beginning of the road and they didn't know what dreary bits lay before themI won't give away what happens next but let's just say the phrase deus ex machina springs to mindThe remarkable thing is that in spite of all these shortcomings I could scarcely put this book down Buchan's prose however laden with WWI jargon sings His heroes bound larger than life from the pages And those villains oh those villains Rosa Klebb and Ernst Blofield have nothing on them Heady stuff indeed


  3. Nancy Oakes Nancy Oakes says:

    Greenmantle follows Buchan's Thirty nine Steps not as a seuel so much imho but rather as something along the line of the further adventures of Richard Hannay the main protagonist and overall hero of the Thirty nine Steps Hannay has since been a soldier in WWI in which he was injured at Loos Now he is called into action once again this time by the Foreign Office Sir Walter Bullivant the senior man at the FO explains to Hannay that there is a German plot to drag Turkey into the war The problem is not so much Turkey per se but all of the provinces where Islam is very strong; and the rumor is that Germany has something to bring all of the provincial Muslims together to fan the flames against the allies under German auspices Just what Germany has is the unknown factor and it's up to Hannay to figure it out He is given only one clue a half piece of paper with the words Kasredin cancer and vI It is from here that an incredible adventure begins which will keep the reader pretty much glued to the bookPhenomenal read and I recommend it highly Yes there are some improbable spots in the novel but heyit's an adventure and it's fun The characters are great and as noted at the beginning you'll be wondering after a while how the good guys are ever going to get out of each predicament in which they find themselves Alsoconsider the subject matter This book was written in 1916 but in some ways is uite relevant to the world's situation todayI can't recommend this one highly enough; those who like older stories of espionage and spycraft will really enjoy it Others who may enjoy it are those who like good old fashioned stories of adventure; and those who read The Thirty Nine Steps by the same author may wish to read it to find out what happens next to Richard Hannay Very well done


  4. Adrienne Adrienne says:

    Wow Loved it Richard Hannay is such a chameleon he is humble has outstanding loyalty to his friends and almost devoutly patriotic I read the '39 Steps as a teenager And seen 3 different film versions The historic part is also trueAdmittedly there are too many plot co incidences but it is a ripping good yarn Unputdownable


  5. Dagny Dagny says:

    A great read of high adventure with a good bit of humor especially in the early part Book two in Buchan's Richard Hannay series A special treat is getting to met Peter Pienaar who helped Hannay survive the ordeal of The Thirty Nine Steps without even being present He's definitely present in this one


  6. Richard Milton Richard Milton says:

    I’m going to start my review of this First World War thriller with what for me is one of the most terrible confessions a man can make I am a book thiefMy copy of Greenmantle now tattered its spine weak from years of rereading and its faded red cloth cover falling apart at the hinges still has the book plate of my school library I borrowed the book and loved it so much I never returned it More than fifty years later I still cherish it too much to part withOver the years my habit has been to read compulsively bingeing on stories and authors I love; reading and rereading them obsessed as any addict in a smoke filled Limehouse den But Greenmantle has remained my opiate of choice during a lifetime of literary addictions – the book I return to so that I can relive the thrill of my first adventure storyCuriously the older I’ve grown and the experienced I’ve become as a writer the ashamed I’ve become of loving this book so much as though it were nothing than an embarrassing juvenile infatuation But there is much much to this little book than merely teenage love and much to its author as I want now to tellFirst the story itself Intrepid spy and soldier Richard Hannay is convalescing in London in 1915 after a major battle in Flanders Only a year earlier he had saved Britain’s greatest secrets from falling into the hands of a German spy ring in The Thirty Nine Steps Now the spymaster he encountered in that earlier book Sir Walter Bullivant sends for Hannay and asks again for his helpThe enemy is once the German secret service but this time they are even devilishly cunning in their planning and the stakes are even higher The Germans have latched onto a Muslim holy man – “The Emerald” or Greenmantle of the title – and they are making him a pawn in their game throughout the Arab world using him to whip up Muslim fundmentalists to declare jihad against the hated British – a plot with a surprisingly modern ringTogether with a small band of friends Hannay’s task is go into the enemy’s heartland Germany itself disguised as a Boer who hates the British and ferret out the secret of Greenmantle and put an end to the German plan before they succeed in setting the Middle East ablazeTo help him Hannay has a small dedicated band There is his old friend Sandy Arbuthnot an experienced Arabist linguist and master of disguise who can disappear as easily into the backstreets of Berlin as into a Turkish bazaar There is a grizzled old hand from his days in South Africa Pieter Pienaar able to pass for a Boer like Hannay And there is a dyspeptic American businessman John S Blenkiron who can travel innocently as a neutralEach has his adventures and brushes with danger which form the tapestry of the story Those dangers include a ruthless and mysterious femme fatale German masterspy Hilda von Einem and her bulldog aide Colonel Ulrich von StummOne can see plenty of opportunity for clichés in reviewing Greenmantle Like most of Buchan’s work it is a ripping yarn boy’s own adventure another episode of the Great Game It has cliché heroes and villains in the dauntless Hannay and the ruthless von EinemYet from our modern perspective it’s easy to forget that many of these tropes were originated by Buchan in these early action adventure thrillers Hannay is perhaps the earliest prototype of James Bond – the secret agent whose loyalty is to his country The dangers that Britain and Hannay face are as much those of psychological warfare as they are physical dangers – indeed Buchan’s identification of resurgent fundamentalist Islamists as a powerful enemy of the west is astonishing in the light of modern developmentsIt wasn’t only Ian Fleming who borrowed from Buchan The 1985 Hollywood action adventure “The Jewel of the Nile” also lifted the central premise of a Muslim holy man – The Jewel – being used as the pawn in a jihadist plotBuchan’s prose is laconic like his hero There are no wasted words But he was also capable of infusing poetry into even the most mundane description When Hanny is being briefed on his mission by Sir Walter at the Foreign Office for instance Sir Walter had lowered his voice and was speaking very slow and distinct I could hear the rain dripping from the eaves of the window and far off the hoot of taxis in WhitehallThat tiny deft detail the trivial impatience of taxi drivers who know nothing of great secrets and great affairs of state still makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck as I eavesdrop on the two men in their high officeAgain such writing may be commonplace today but in 1916 it was one of the sources of the kind of terse fast moving prose that later journalists like Dashiell Hammett Ernest Hemingway and Ian Fleming were to use so effectivelyBut there is even to marvel at here Because Buchan wrote Greenmantle specifically because he had been asked by Charles Masterman a Liberal MP who was head of the secret British War Propaganda Bureau to produce a book paid for at government expense as part of the propaganda war against Germany And because it was first and foremost a propaganda weapon in Britain’s war with the Hun Buchan took several opportunities in Greenmantle to belittle Germany and the Germans – or at least its wartime leadersDisguised as a disaffected Boer named Cornelius Brandt Hannay is taken in tow by Colonel von Stumm a caricature German officer with bullet head thick neck and monocle as well as the regulation arrogant bullying manner That is until they stay the night at the Colonel’s castle in their journey across Germany Hannay is taken upstairs by von Stumm to his private apartmentHere Buchan sets up a scene clearly intended to tell readers who could read between the lines that the vile von Stumm is secretly nothing less than an effeminate homosexual It was the room of a man who had a passion for frippery who had a perverted taste for soft delicate things It was the complement to his bluff brutality I began to see the ueer other side to my host that evil side which gossip had spoken of as not unknown in the German army Hannay soon shows this German pansy how decent English chaps respond to that sort of beastly behaviour by punching him on the nose and escaping Clearly the German army is not after all the most highly trained and highly disciplined body of men in the world but merely a bunch of sissies who like nothing better than dressing in women’s knickersAt another point in the story Hannay in disguise is travelling through wartime Germany and just happens to meet the Kaiser to whom he is introduced It is plain from the gaunt haggard expression on the Kaiser’s face that he is a beaten man and that Germany is already finished though it is only early 1916 Hannay tells us; The last I saw of him was a figure moving like a sleep walker with no spring in his step amid his tall suite I felt that I was looking on at a far bigger tragedy than any I had seen in action Here was one that had loosed Hell and the furies of Hell had got hold of him I would not have been in his shoes for the throne of the Universe Buchan is most often criticised today for the coincidences he employs as plotting devices Yet he anticipated this criticism in the foreword to Greenmantle where he wrote of his tale; Let no man or woman call its events improbable The war has driven that word from our vocabulary and melodrama has become the prosiest realism Things unimagined before happen daily to our friends by sea and landBuchan was able to write Greenmantle with some authority because he was himself both a soldier and a spymaster By the end of the War he was head of the War Propaganda Bureau He was also a director of his own publishing company Nelsons and as an editor he originated the idea of the weekly part work again paid for by the government on the First World WarFor modern thriller audiences there is plenty of sophisticated fare available – Forsyth Clancy Ludlum But there is a freshness an originality and a magic in Greenmantle that no modern writer uite hasI will not be returning my copy I am still a book thief


  7. Bryan Alexander Bryan Alexander says:

    What a strange entertaining book Greenmantle is an odd kind of historical novel about WWI a spy story about a team of heroes trying to solve a mystery and foil plots What makes it unusual is that John Buchan wrote it during WWI while serving in France and in British intelligence Through the novel he reimagines the war especially in the east and ends up creating something of an alternate historyBut don't let my analysis distract you To begin with Greenmantle is a grand adventure The action starts right off and never lets up Nearly every chapter has a mix of disguises chases fine cars the Kaiser scarycreepy villains fights reversals of fortune and codes It's a cracking story It's also an interesting seuel to Buchan's first spy novel The Thirty Nine Steps my review We have the same protagonist Richard Hannay and he's up to his by now usual tricks bluffing sneaking around the countryside using his engineering and South African experience Greenmantle expands the first novel's pattern rapidly leaving Britain and Buchan's favored Scots countryside for central and eastern Europe then the Ottoman empire Also Hannay is no longer the lone man on the run but part of a team This is definitely a group effortAs World War I fiction I can't think of another novel like this It's an alternate present or near future which is by 2015 alternate history Buchan doesn't change the western front he actually only refers to it rather than showing it us but posits a German Ottoman conspiracy to set up a Muslim messiah not a spoiler; occurs early on That draws on actual German attempts which never bore fruit Buchan lets us imagine they couldWe also get an all too rare glimpse of the eastern front as Russia invades Anatolia The novel's finale takes place in the battle of Erzurum 1916 and I can't think of a fictional representation of this struggle Russians appear as serious even noble a far cry from the usual British perception of a clumsy collapsing army being ground to death by Prussians Indeed one of the weirder scenes has Hannay ah view spoilermeeting the Kaiser Wilhelm appears as a sympathetic man not the callous and not too bright warlord of usual British discussionA flicker of a smile passed over the worn face It was the face of one who slept little and whose thoughts rode him like a nightmareThe last I saw of him was a figure moving like a sleep walker with no spring in his step amid his tall suite I felt that I was looking on at a far bigger tragedy than any I had seen in action Here was one that had loosed Hell and the furies of Hell had got hold of him He was no common man for in his presence I felt an attraction which was not merely the mastery of one used to command That would not have impressed me for I had never owned a master But here was a human being who unlike Stumm and his kind had the power of laying himself alongside other men That was the irony of it Stumm would not have cared a tinker's curse for all the massacres in history But this man the chief of a nation of Stumms paid the price in war for the gifts that had made him successful in peace He had imagination and nerves and the one was white hot and the others were uivering I would not have been in his shoes for the throne of the Universe That's an enormous act of sympathy for Hannay since he just came from the western front and clearly hates the Germans And what an imaginative compassionate portrait from Buchan also a soldier at that moment hide spoiler


  8. Amanda Bannister Amanda Bannister says:

    255 ⭐️ too many coincidences for my liking and not dated that well


  9. Elizabeth Elizabeth says:

    This is great work the writing is personal and emotional and yet it's formula is spy novel Conan DOyle in the mystery but with added depth because it's about Turkey and the East and will give you insight into World War I in Europe It's also remarkably prescient written before the end of that war about a band of Allied sympathizers who are spies impersonating at one point or another virtually every possible brand German and German sympathizer This material and the exciting and well drawn but not too excessively over the top narrative of unlikely escapes and murderous Germanic brown bread eaters all that makes this book really fun But for me what notched it up just one level was the voice and diction of the narrator I wish I had the book in front of me to uote but I don't so you'll have to believe me that the tangents into narrative reflection are often gorgeously composed and lulling and effective and affective because they build sympathy for our soul searching and senstitive narrator That said I was struck by a naivete to the work which seems to me odd and incongruous because war is war But in the end I found there to be something uaint and even innocent about the treatment of the subject of danger in this pre WW 2 account It is as if as the history books do really say the world didn't actually know evil yet didn't know real terror So there is one incongrous scene where our endangered and intrepid heroes find themselves imprisoned in a Turkish dungeon dark and dank and with no place to piss or shit but the corner It's a startling fast forward to the consciousness of the present as if Buchan has conceived of and has given a glimpse of a sort of brutality and fear that would not become part of mainstream consciousness until long after or at least until the HOlocaust Prescient is a word often used to descrive Buchan's work he wrote The 39 steps as well I'd say he's a writer who elevates genre writing from that time through emnotion and a willingness to see bald faced what in other hands is merely trite and candied up


  10. Scott Scott says:

    Compared to the hectic pace and implausible coincidences of The Thirty nine Steps Greenmantle 1916 the second volume of the Richard Hannay trilogy is than a Boy's Own adventure tale Buchan it turns out can really write I was entertained by his deft turns of phrase Even when the plot whirled away in yet another chase scene Buchan's language part old school jargon part Rider Haggard a dash of Sax Rohmer surprised me and held my interest Stylistically Greenmantle is sort of like reading Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom but without all the metaphysical mumbo jumbo and excruciating detail For an old tyme spy thriller it's hard to beat


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