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Mr. Standfast (Richard Hannay #3)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,084 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
General Richard Hannay 40 goes undercover to find WW1 German mastermind. As pacifist, Dick flees London to Scotland, islands. Agents memorize Pilgrim's Progress, gives chapter titles. 'Mr Standfast' is old veldt tracker Peter Pienaar, crippled ex-pilot. Villain, one step ahead, traps Dick and sweet Mary 18 in 'Valley of Humiliation'. Part II is Front, desperate defense. In ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 6th 1994 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1919)
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Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
This novel concludes what I think of as the original Hannay trilogy, which sees our hero through the course of the first world war, or the Great War as they used to call it.

There's an interesting change in tone over these three books. 'The Thirty Nine Steps' is stark and intense with Hannay a man pushed to the limit, fighting a battle he barely understands with few allies until the last third of the novel. 'Greenmantle' is an altogether more rollicking and gregarious work with various allies an
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book tremendously and it is my favorite Hannay adventure to date. (Or perhaps it is just that I am getting to know the characters better. We'll see with the next book.) The parts where Hannay was spying were exciting and fun reading. There was a bit too much military strategy and action near the end for my taste, but it was minor compared to the rest of the novel.
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Buchan is a bit of an acquired taste. The book is a bit slow at times, and the values that form its backbone are often foreign. But that is part of his charm.

I love old books that were once popular. They are the window into the soul of an age.

In this one, we have a wonderful view of the tensions between pacifism and patriotism, socialism and class expectations in WWI Britain. Much of this is quite illuminating, and by itself makes the book worth reading. (In order to worm his way into a spy rin
John Frankham
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Tears galore for me at the finish of this splendid tale: also a wonderful examination of people under the pressure of strife and war.

"In this nail-biting adventure story, Hannay must outwit a foe far more intelligent than himself; muster the courage to propose to the lovely, clever Mary Lamington; and survive a brutal war. Although Mr. Standfast is a sequel to The Thirty-Nine Steps, it offers far more characterisation and philosophy than the earlier book. For its pace and suspense, its changes o
From BBC Radio 4:
Agent Richard Hannay hunts his nemesis, the head of a First World War German spy ring. Stars David Robb and Clive Merrison.


More than a bit convoluted and ridiculous, but what are you gonna do? It's John Buchan and an engaging story.

In the third of the five Richard Hannay novels, Dick, now a Brigadier General, is recalled from leading his troops on the Western front in the Great War in order to take part in a top secret spy mission. There's a German posing as a Brit in the British countryside, and Hannay adopts the pose of a pacifist in order to smell him out.

Before much smelling happens, the nearly-forty Dick Hannay
Johnny Waco
The third of the Richard Hannay novels beginning with The 39 Steps, Mr. Standfast may be the weakest of the series. Like the second book, Greenmantle, it is set during WWI, and once again Hannay is pulled off the front lines with orders to infiltrate a German espionage ring. Although Mr. Standfast has some exciting set pieces, like Hannay's tramp over the Isle of Skye, off Scotland's coast, and his breakneck drive and later glacier climb through the Alps, the novel suffers from too many of these ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story was published in 1919 and appears to have been written either during or just at the end of the First War. It cries out with details and emotion that was still hot at the time of writing. It reads to me as a report on the battles by someone who was there and the report given while it was all fresh in his mind. The anti-German rhetoric is what you would expect but is tempered occasionally with remarks praising German organisation, determination, and hard work.
The villain, whom we know
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading Mr. Standfast, it's clear I should read Pilgrim's Progress, as it plays an important part in the story. Mr. Standfast is a character in Pilgrim's Progress, one to whom a character in Mr. Standfast the book aspires. Confusing until you've read a mile in their shoes. Or something.

Mr. Standfast appears to be the third book in a series set before and during World War I. The previous two books are THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS and Greenmantle, and subsequent ones are The Three Hostages and The
What is it with series? I just don't like them, that's what. This third Richard Hannay book was a bit of a letdown, but I couldn't bring myself to rate it two stars. Really, I'd say 2-1/2.

There were some exciting passages in this book, but overall I found that the faults exhibited in the two earlier Hannay tales, namely a tendency to pontificate on character, fate, and philosophy plus a heavy reliance on coincidence to advance the plot were more pronounced here. Buchan also makes frequent refer
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spy-fiction
Mr Standfast, published in 1919, was the third of John Buchan’s Richard Hannay espionage novels.

The success of The Thirty-Nine Steps had taken Buchan by surprise. Buchan was himself an interesting character who wrote some great weird fiction as well as works of serious history. He was created Baron Tweedsmuir in 1935 and ended up as Governor-General of Canada.

Richard Hannay is commanding an infantry brigade on the Western Front when he finds himself once again, somewhat against his will, assigne
Carol Fenlon
Sep 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of book I would never normally read but I was led to it because i read in another book that parts of it were set in the early days of Letchworth Garden City and I have a historical interest in that. I believe the protagonist Richard Hannay features in other of Buchan's books and he is certainly well drawn. The book I suppose is best described as an action thriller, a tale of espionage and battle in World War 1. There are lots of twists and turns and predictably a romance along t ...more
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, spy, adventure, thriller
Mr Standfast is the third book in the John Hannay thriller/ spy series written by John Buchan. The first two, The 39 Steps and Greenmantle, were both excellent and this third story follows easily with another excellent, well-paced, thriller. In this story, John Hannay, now a General in the British Army is called back from the front (WWI) to help find an old adversary. The Germans are infiltrating pacifist factions and using these people to help their ends, as a conduit for passing information, a ...more
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Read aloud. My favourite Buchan, well, at least, my favourite Hannay Buchan (Greenmantle is a close second).

"A man's courage is like a horse that refuses a fence; you have got to take him by the head and cram him at it again. If you don't, he will funk worse next time. I hadn't enough courage to be able to take chances with it, though I was afraid of many things, the thing I feared most mortally was being afraid."

Chesterton said that a good soldier fights not so much because he hates the enemy,
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Leslie by: Joan Garland
I found this 3rd installment of the Richard Hannay story gripping! Although it could probably be read as a stand-alone, it does refer to the first two books of the series: The Thirty-nine Steps and Greenmantle, and I would strongly recommend starting with the first book.
Marts  (Thinker)
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Another thrilling, fast-paced, WWI novel by Buchan featuring the adventures of Richard Hannay and his associates Pieter Pienaar, John Blenkiron and Mary Lamington. This time Hannay tracks down German spies and his main opponent is a master of disguise called Ivery who pursues him through Europe... With, as a bit of an unusual backdrop, 'The Pilgrim's Progress'...

Though a bit overly descriptive at times, this classic war adventure novel is loaded with action, adventure and excitmement on every pa
Russell Olson
Aug 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Buchan really lets his politics show through in this one. There are passages in this book where Dick Hannay takes a back seat and Buchan steps into the lead role, damning socialism, labor unions, and especially pacifists. Once Hannay slips back into the book, the narrative regains it strength and the plot surpasses that of Greenmantle, and at times the pace resembles the breakneck chase of 39 steps. All in all, good book...just don't take Buchan too seriously.
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite its age, (published in 1919, almost one hundred years ago), this was a gripping book which I found hard to put down. The battles of the First World War were mentioned a lot and the names all meant something to me - third battle of Ypres, Polygon Wood, the Somme, Amiens, etc. And the German spy that the Intelligence Service was trying to catch was very slippery. Richard Hannay got himself into and out of a number of difficulties. Highly recommended.
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very suspenseful. This book's strong point is the suspense, although I like the character of Richard Hannay. Overall, very worth reading, and probably you'll have to read it all at once, but it's not as good as the first book, the 39 Steps, partly because the ending was slightly drawn out and then suddenly cut off. I guess it was permissible, but I didn't prefer it.
Alasdair Peterson
Another thrilling yarn by John Buchan!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I used to be a fan of Buchan, but now more than 15 years afer I read 39 steps, his characters are all too stereotype and his world view too preoccupied to be really interesting. Eventhough, his stories are still enjoyable.
This story took 100 pages before something happened and could well have ended after the spy was catched, but lingers on for 50 more pages. So actually half of the story was good, the other half was too long.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Donal Anthony Foley
An exciting and thought provoking read ...

An excellent read if you like old fashioned adventure stories, even if at times a bit far fetched ...but overall the story carries you along. One of Buchan's best, I think.
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-over-over
Perhaps the best of the Richard Hannay books. Alas, Buchan's wonderful yarns can seem tarnished by his Imperialist and pro-war views, but seen in context, they are first rate.
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this one to get to book 4. This is where he meets his wife. It turned out to be a good story, not just a continuation. Next up will be The Three Hostages.
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, audio
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Harry Tomos
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh to be Mary, when I visualise Richard he's Cary Grant with a mix of Damon Lewis and Matt Damon, suave, loving, yet strong manly and with skills...funny as well as this book is ageless
Syd Logsdon
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again, in the third novel of the series, Hannay is called back from battle to take on a job of spying. This time he is sent into the heart of . . . England? Hannay’s old enemy Graf von Schwabing is hiding among the half baked and disaffected who question Britain’s war effort. He was a spy against Britain during The Thirty-nine Steps, and is a man of almost infinite ability with disguises. Hannay is sent to search him out and discover what new deviltries he is planning.
The first half of the
An Odd1
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"It's easy enough to be brave if you're feeling well and have food inside you .. But the big courage is the cold-blooded kind, the kind that never lets go even when you're feeling empty inside, and your blood's thin, and there's no kind of fun or profit to be had, and the trouble's not over in an hour or two but lasts for months and years .. 'Fortitude' is the biggest thing a man can have - just to go on enduring when there's no guts or heart left in you. " p 157

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Goodreads Librari...: Correct and combine 2 10 Nov 02, 2015 07:27AM  
  • The Thirty-Nine Steps
  • The Pirate
  • Doctor Syn
  • Whispers in the Dark
  • Harm's Way (Inspector Sloan #11)
  • Enderby's Dark Lady
  • The Three Button Trick and Other Stories
  • The Little Nugget
  • The Riddle of the Sands
  • Journey Into Fear
  • The Roses of No Man's Land
  • Rupert of Hentzau
  • I Say No
  • Long Lankin
  • Spider Dance (Irene Adler, #8)
  • Hour of Need (The Laws of Magic, #6)
  • Billion Dollar Brain
  • An Experiment In Treason (Sir John Fielding, #9)
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 educated at Glasgow and Oxford Universities. After a brief career in law he went to South Africa in 1902 wh
More about John Buchan...

Other Books in the Series

Richard Hannay (5 books)
  • The 39 Steps (Richard Hannay, #1)
  • Greenmantle (Richard Hannay #2)
  • The Three Hostages (Richard Hannay #4)
  • The Island of Sheep (Richard Hannay #5)
“An old woman with a mutch sat in an arm-chair behind the counter. She looked up at me over her spectacles and smiled, and I took to her on the instant. She had the kind of old wise face that God loves.” 4 likes
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