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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 Davidso Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Richard Hannay Series Release Date:
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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.

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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.”


  • “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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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