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Download The Thirty-Nine Steps Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Thirty-Nine Steps, by John Buchan Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (7,392 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Buchan Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Richard Hannay Series Release Date: September 2010 ISBN: 9781455171033
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Perhaps more than any other book The Thirty-Nine Steps has set the pattern for the story of the chase for a wanted man. And, of the many writers who have attempted this kind of thing since Buchan, only a very few, like Graham Greene, have managed to sustain the tension in the same way. The story’s extended chase scene inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s movie of the same name.

The Thirty-Nine Steps, Buchan’s best-known thriller, introduces his most enduring hero, Richard Hannay—who, despite claiming to be an “ordinary fellow,” is caught up in a dangerous race against a plot to devastate the British war effort.

It begins calmly enough with a rather boring trip to London. Returning to his flat, Richard is shocked to find his neighbor dead on the floor with a knife in his back. Near the deceased is a small black notebook containing cryptic notes about the “thirty-nine steps” and a black stone. As the situation escalates, Hannay is mistaken for a secret agent by the police. Now he must run for his life across the Scottish highlands, thinking his way through narrow escapes while trying to decode the thirty-nine steps.

With wit and flair, this old-fashioned roller coaster ride offers soaring suspense with a comic touch.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It is the dimension of the mysterious that makes Buchan’s writing so unfailingly compelling.”

    John Keegan, author of A History of Warfare

  • “Frederick Davidson’s voice is properly sardonic, and his supercilious British articulation is just right. The story’s extended chase scene inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s movie of the same name.”

    AudioFile 

  • “It is just the kind of fiction for here. One wants something to engross the attention without tiring the mind. The story is greatly appreciated in the midst of mud and rain and shells, and all that could make trench life depressing.”

    An officer on the front in World War I

  • “Buchan’s technique as a writer is simple enough and well displayed in The Thirty-Nine Steps. He understood that in a thriller…what matters above all is to keep the reader focused on what is going to happen next…It doesn’t matter that the reader has no clue where he is being taken or, when he gets there, how the thing happened as it did. All that matters is that once you’ve started, you can’t put the book down.”

    Telegraph (London)

  • “Buchan essentially invented the espionage novel with his Richard Hannay yarns.”

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tanya | 2/18/2014

    " A little hard to read at times, with 1915 British slang, but good story! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jayne Charles | 1/25/2014

    " This book got me thinking about the way technology has developed over the years - to such a degree that a story like this could not really happen in the modern age. The main character would have been caught on so many CCTV cameras, and mobile phones would have been buzzing..... Not having modern communications made it possible to have chase stories like this, and whilst it's probably a bit far fetched even still it's all good fun. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex Tilley | 1/24/2014

    " A jolly fine romp old chap...! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara Roden | 1/20/2014

    " One of the grand-daddies of the spy thriller genre, and still one of the best. One day someone will actually film the novel without taking too many liberties, but until that day my favourite version is still the 1979 one with Robert Powell and David Warner. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Louise | 1/15/2014

    " This is my favourite book in the world. A Must read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aaron Lamb | 1/8/2014

    " Great murder mystery/detective caper. Exciting and short, perfect for a sunny afternoon. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Everett Darling | 1/2/2014

    " Despite an uncanny amount of spelling errors sloshed all over my edition, I found this an extremely good read. Hannay is a working-class concoction of two parts Bond and three parts Poirot dashed with some vulnerability, adding a tangibility to his escapades. Conversely, the story lacks a grain or so of plausibility at times, but much less so than in either Christie's or Flemming's far-fetched capers. If you like Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda, 39 steps is required reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laurie | 1/2/2014

    " Although the overarching structure is the same, and so are the protagonist and a few of the incidents, this is pretty astonishingly different from both the Hitchcock film and the recent Masterpiece adaptation. There is no silly love interest subplot at all (thank goodness). Not surprisingly, I found the film superior in creating suspense. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Trina | 12/8/2013

    " Hair-raising adventure from back in the day. Holds up well. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Charlie Flannelly | 12/6/2013

    " Pretty dull, on the whole. I saw the movie first, though, which I usually try to avoid, so as to not have preconcieved notions. In this case I didn't even know there was a book, so it wasn't completely intentional. Still, the movie was much better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dune Elliot | 11/17/2013

    " I have not actually read this book, but I have seen it put into a play. My mother was skeptical about how this story could be put on stage, but after having seen it, it was very well done. I loved the story and think that the intrigue involved was very thought out; highly recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aimee | 11/16/2013

    " Good spy book, short and sweet and enjoyable with great description of scotland countryside...definitly worth a read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul David Krishnan | 11/13/2013

    " I thought this was rather well written. Perhaps because I've read quite a bit of Sherlock Holmes, I was not very impressed with the way the book went but still an interesting read. Will attempt to read the entire Hannay series "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 11/11/2013

    " Enjoyable mystery thriller that takes place in the early 1900's "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roxane | 8/8/2013

    " The first of the Richard Hannay books - great read, great fun! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike Mikos | 7/19/2013

    " Early spy thriller. The problem is most of the book describes a chase of the hero across the moors of Scotland and very little about the foreign plot he's trying to stop.It's a fast read and the beginning is a good hook. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 7/5/2013

    " Loved it. I had seen the BBC movie and really wanted to read the book. I enjoyed the book. A quick read with a good mystery. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Robin | 6/6/2013

    " Hannay is insufferable, but don't let this lightweight story prevent you from viewing the Hitchcock retelling. One of those rare instances when the movie outshines the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel Alders | 10/22/2012

    " Buchan is fantastic. Re-reading the first two adventures of Richard Hannay before I get into The Three Hostages and Mr. Standfast. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Simone | 8/29/2012

    " What an adventure, I could not put this down...John Buchan has quite an imagination. This was truly a hidden gem! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ian Simpson | 6/10/2012

    " When I re-read this classic last year I was disappointed. Hannay's adventures were much tamer than those he was given in the film and the ending felt flat. It seemed very dated. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maggie | 8/15/2011

    " an old story. a movie. and still a good mystery story. b j harrison reading. excellent job. totally enjoyed this short fiction. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janice | 8/5/2011

    " Interested book that the Hitchcock movie of the same name was made from. Buchan writes a good thriller. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Frances Redhead | 7/4/2011

    " Well, at least it was short! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Danielroffle | 5/20/2011

    " Yeah it's a bit repetitive, but it did introduce the expression "my hat!" as a sign of amazement to my vocabulary, and there are plenty of lolsome Dreaded Hun moments too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gordon | 5/14/2011

    " A short novel from a best-selling author of espionage novels. The story takes place right before World War I. It was adapted into a famous Alfred Hitchcock movie from 1935, but the story is quite different. Utterly unbelievable, but quite entertaining. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 5/14/2011

    " Fun adventure book suggested to me by a bookstore clerk in Antigua. Good break-up between some more serious reads. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Simon | 5/9/2011

    " It’s not high literature – but, by George, it’s entertaining! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Simone | 5/2/2011

    " So dated and yet still enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 4/16/2011

    " Loved it. I had seen the BBC movie and really wanted to read the book. I enjoyed the book. A quick read with a good mystery. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kelly | 4/9/2011

    " Pretty dull, on the whole. I saw the movie first, though, which I usually try to avoid, so as to not have preconcieved notions. In this case I didn't even know there was a book, so it wasn't completely intentional. Still, the movie was much better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Abeer | 4/8/2011

    " i read this book when i was in the 7th grade, i really liked it and read it several times it talks about the adventures of Richard Hanny the book is so lovely and interesting

    "

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