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Greenmantle (Richard Hannay #2)

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  2,664 Ratings  ·  231 Reviews
November 1915. Richard Hannay is tasked to undertake a top secret mission to investigate a plot to create a holy war throughout the Muslim world and draw troops and resources from the Western Front. Hanny must journey through war-torn Europe with only his three loyal friends, Peter Pienaar, John S Blenkiron and Sandy Arbuthnot, to help him as he unravels coded messages, es ...more
Paperback, 204 pages
Published November 3rd 2006 by Hard Press (first published 1916)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
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 bette ...more
Nov 15, 2011 Kay rated it really liked it
The Ripping-est of Ripping Yarns

I'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 squarely in the ripping yarn tradition, and they're particularly remarkable as examples of early spy novels. He
Dec 07, 2014 Dagny rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
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.
Nancy Oakes
Dec 09, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greenmantle follows Buchan's "Thirty-nine Steps" not as a sequel 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. ...more
Bryan Alexander
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 history.

But don't let my analysis distract you. To begin with, Greenmantle is a grand adventure. The
Jul 31, 2009 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edwardian, spies, 1910s, war, ww1
Compared to the hectic pace and implausible coincidences of The Thirty-nine Steps, Greenmantle (1916), the second volume of the Richard Hannay trilogy, is more 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 ...more
Sep 15, 2007 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 b ...more
A fun adventure story with a memorable hero! I loved this second installment in the Richard Hannay series and can't wait to get my hands on a copy of "Mr. Standfast". Highly recommended.

I didn't like this as much as Buchan's more famous The 39 Steps as it felt clunkier and more contrived but it was still a reasonable page turner with an exciting finish. While many of the characters appear as caricatures to us today, Buchan saw this novel as part of the war effort and apparently based a couple of said characters on well known figures of the day. It is also believed that in 1915/16 rumours were rife of a German conspiracy in Cental Asia similar to the one portrayed in this book.

Mar 19, 2009 F.R. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In fairly recent times I have read John Buchan's The 39 Steps, seen the West End play, rewatched the Hitchcock film and watched the not very good BBC version at Christmas - so I guessed it was time to hit the John Buchan's own follow-up.

The problems The 39 Steps had were largely compensated for by its brevity, the book does rush by at a fair old pace after all. It's sequel however takes more time, which is a shame as it doesn't have substantially more plot. In this the problems of driving a stol
Jun 08, 2013 Frankie rated it liked it
Shelves: british
Buchan's Hannay is a clear precursor to Fleming's Bond, with the one major exception forced by a more innocent time and readership - Hannay is no womanizer. As an espionage novel it's quite good and an enjoyable read. It's written broadly for all ages, certainly simple enough to be understood by an entire generation of British boys who would probably later serve in WWII. Buchan wrote five Hannay books (the first is The Thirty-Nine Steps and this is the second) as what he called 'his contribution ...more
Valerie Kyriosity
Somewhere on the Y chromosome is a gene for being gripped by fight/battle scenes in literature. Being of the XX persuasion, I find them a snoozefest.

Reader was decent. He's done some professional stuff as well as volunteering for LibriVox. But let's hope his pronunciation is more accurate when he's being paid for it.
Richard Milton
Jan 30, 2016 Richard Milton rated it it was amazing
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 thief.

My 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 with.

Over the years my habit has
Nov 02, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe "Greenmantle" falls squarely into that elusive genre, the "ripping good yarn." This tale of a top secret spy mission during World War I is all adventure and utter fun. "Greenmantle" is actually the second in a series of such yarns following the adventures of British officer and colonial engineer Richard Hannay. Though, it isn't necessary to have read "The Thirty-nine Steps" to jump into the second installment, you may want to brush up on your World War I history a little bit so you und ...more
May 19, 2016 Julia rated it really liked it
“Greenmantle” is a captivating and fast-paced WWI spy novel, written before the War was even over. It is one of the earliest spy/adventure novels, and involved a small team of Allied sympathizers who go undercover into Germany and Turkey to uncover mysteries and frustrate German plots. Often changing their identities and dialects, they discover a Muslim Holy Man being used by the Germans to stir up the Muslim people against Great Britain. The book has a good deal of humor, along with plenty of t ...more
Jul 24, 2011 dragonhelmuk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Johnny Waco
Buchan's follow-up to The 39 Steps is his take on the "Great Game," the struggle for influence and control in central Asia, played for decades by the Russians, British, French, and Turkish. Richard Hannay is pulled from the trenches in WWI and given the assignment of tracking down the German plot to forment jihad in the Islamic world in order to send the British reeling in many of their colonies, including their crown jewel, India. Buchan's racial fixation (racism?) rears its head, as the German ...more
Julie Davis
Nov 23, 2010 Julie Davis rated it really liked it
This is the second of the four books featuring featuring Richard Hannay, who we first met in The 39 Steps. Having been fighting in WWI, Major Hannah is called back to London to hear the proposition of the official who helped him in the affair of The 39 Steps. A spy mission during which he is told he will almost certainly die, that will probably have him journey to Turkey, and to which there are only three words as a clue. Of course, he steps up and accepts the mission. I am just at the beginning ...more
Kimmo Sinivuori
Sep 17, 2013 Kimmo Sinivuori rated it it was amazing
I know that I've said this before but a classic is a classic. I got interested of this book through reading Peter Hopkirk's magnificent studies of the Great Game, esp. "On Secret Service East of Constantinople: The Great Game and the Great War, 1994" which covers the same events that the protagonists in the Greenmantle partake in. I think it was great to read this book while knowing the real events that took place in Turkey and the Middle East during the Great War.

Historical accuracy and prescie
Mar 30, 2015 Lara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, crime-fiction
The sequel to the 39 Steps was written for a different era. It referred to events of the day, which are unfamiliar to me, reading it 99 years after it was first published.

Curious about the author and whether he was writing from personal experience, I found he was friends with someone who shares many experiences with the protagonist, but he himself wrote propaganda material for the British Government. (He went on to do some great things as the Governor General of Canada.)

Part 'boys own adventure
Maggie Craig
Jan 02, 2015 Maggie Craig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I swithered between 4 and 5 stars for this review. I found it a great read, an old-fashioned rattling good yarn. The characters are all engaging and the story moves along at a cracking pace. Now and again I drew my breath in sharply at some of the derogatory names used and attitudes shown towards people of races different to those whom Richard Hannay describes admiringly as "white men".

Then I considered, not that it justifies those attitudes, that he was writing a century ago. Also, the hero ha
Pravesh Bhardwaj
Feb 17, 2013 Pravesh Bhardwaj rated it really liked it
Fast paced spy thriller published way back in 1916 works beautifully even today. The writing is simple and story keeps moving at a pace that leaves you breathless. A thoroughly entertaining book set in winter of 1915-16 travels from British countryside through Germany and ends in east of Constantinople as the war goes on. Sometime back I had read a book 'On Secret Service East of Constantinople: The Plot to Bring Down the British Empire' by Peter Hopkirk. Hopkirk was a child when his mother read ...more
Sep 20, 2011 Miffy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The continuing adventures of Richard Hannay, begun in The Thirty-Nine Steps, and concluded in Mr Standfast. John Buchan is such a classic writer, and a this a novel of its time. Be aware - this book used to terms to discribe different races that we find offensive, but it was written in the period after the war, when different values applied.
In this adventure, Richard is seconded to become a spy. He, and a number of other agents, are tasked with discovering what the Germans have planned for the a
Marts  (Thinker)
Jun 02, 2012 Marts (Thinker) rated it really liked it
Are you in the mood for a classic war tale? Then I guess this volume is just for you...

This is the second of five in Buchan's Richard Hannay adventures written in a WWI setting. This time around (November 1915 to be exact), Hannay's mission involves the investigating of rumours regarding plans by the Germans and their Turkish allies to cause a great uprising in the Middle East. He is joined by his friend Sandy, an American John Blenkiron, and Peter Pienaar, a German prison escapee.

Follow Hannay
Derek Winterburn
This is very much a 'period piece', and is the follow up novel to The Thirty Nine Steps, which began the adventures of Richard Hannay. That book is set before the outbreak of WW1; Greenmantle was written and sit in the time of the war - climaxing with the Battle of Erzurum in 1916. As such, and written by a serving officer on the Western Front, it has an extraordinary positive conviction about the war; simply a modern reader doesn't start in that place. However there is an extra resonance to the ...more
Apr 26, 2015 Andrea rated it liked it
I think what I like best about these Richard Hannay “shockers” is the author’s obvious enjoyment in creating non-stop, over-the-top adventure stories.
As in The Thirty-Nine Steps, Hannay is a bit bored as Greenmantle begins. He has been injured fighting in WWI, and is convalescing in hospital with his friend, Sandy. But as soon as Hannay is summoned to meet Sir Walter Bullivant, a man he assisted in The Thirty-Nine Steps, things begin to move quickly. Bullivant asks Hannay to go on an intelligen
Mick Scrimshaw
Mar 13, 2015 Mick Scrimshaw rated it it was ok
It took me about two years to get through this having stopped a couple of times before picking it up again. That might make you think I didn’t enjoy it much but that’s not the whole truth because there were certainly bits I did. Written 100 years ago in the middle of World War One there were lots of references to politics and people at the time which would have been understood by a contemporary reader but I had to hit Google a couple of times, although I actually quite enjoyed that. It was also ...more
Edward Flaherty
Feb 20, 2015 Edward Flaherty rated it really liked it
John Buchan, the author, lived these times--that gives added credibility in his descriptions of the landscapes and the systems under which people lived.

The plot revolved around a very special woman, Hilda von Einem, whose identity was not revealed until more than 50% of the novel had elapsed. She had physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual abilities that enabled her to convince the Third Reich that she could gain their control of the Muslim world--especially the entire Arabian Peninsula,
Chris Chinchilla
Apr 19, 2014 Chris Chinchilla rated it really liked it

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

About the Author

John Buchan was born in Perth. His 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 expectan

Nov 04, 2015 J.S. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-classics
The sequel to The Thirty Nine Steps (and #2 in the series) has our hero, Richard Hannay, recuperating from injuries sustained a the WWI front when he's asked to do a little spycraft. The British have some thin evidence that the Germans are planning a start a holy war in the Turkey, and Hannay is offered the chance to interfere. Together with his friend Sandy Arbuthnot (who seems to be a sort of Lawrence of Arabia) and an American, John Blenkiron, they each take a different route to Constantinopl ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add book cover 2 10 Nov 02, 2015 07:38AM  
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John Buchan (1st Baron Tweedsmuir) was a Scottish novelist and public servant who combined a successful career as an author of thrillers, historical novels, histories and biographies with a parallel career in public life. At the time of his death he was Governor-General of Canada.

Buchan was born in Scotland and educated at Glasgow and Oxford Universities. After a brief career in law he went to So
More about John Buchan...

Other Books in the Series

Richard Hannay (5 books)
  • The 39 Steps (Richard Hannay, #1)
  • Mr. Standfast (Richard Hannay, #3)
  • The Three Hostages (Richard Hannay #4)
  • The Island of Sheep (Richard Hannay #5)

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