Greenmantleby John BuchanA First World War AdventureGreenmantle is the second of five novels by John Buchan featuring the character of Richard Hannay, first published in 1916 by Hodder & Stoughton, London. It is one of two Hannay novels set during the First World War, the other being Mr Standfast (1919); Hannay's first and best-known adventure, ...
Greenmantleby John BuchanA First World War AdventureGreenmantle is the second of five novels by John Buchan featuring the character of Richard Hannay, first published in 1916 by Hodder & Stoughton, London. It is one of two Hannay novels set during the First World War, the other being Mr Standfast (1919); Hannay's first and best-known adventure, The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), is set in the period immediately preceding the war.The book opens in November 1915, with Hannay and his friend Sandy convalescing from wounds received at the Battle of Loos. Hannay is summoned to the Foreign Office by Sir Walter Bullivant, a senior intelligence man, whom Hannay met and assisted in The Thirty-Nine Steps. Bullivant gives Hannay an outline of the political situation in the Middle East, and hints that the Germans and their Turkish allies are plotting to cause a great uprising throughout the Muslim world, that will throw the whole of the Middle East, India and North Africa into turmoil; Bullivant proposes that Hannay takes on the task of investigating rumours. The only clue he is given is a slip of paper left by a spy, Bullivant's own son, recently killed in the region, bearing the words Kasredin, cancer and v.I.Despite his misgivings and feelings of inadequacy for the task, Hannay accepts the challenge, and picks Sandy to help him. Bullivant tells him that an American, John Blenkiron, will also be useful to him. The three meet up, ponder their clues, and plan to head to Constantinople. They start on November 17, and plan to meet up in a rough hostelry there exactly two months later, going each by his own route - Blenkiron, as a neutral, travelling through Germany as an observer, Sandy using his contacts in the Arab world to make the journey through Asia Minor, and Hannay, taking on the identity of Boer "Cornelis Brandt," entering enemy territory via Lisbon.
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This is a famous novel , adventure and spy in the Near East in 1915/16, when the nearly finished Ottoman Empire became the target of German push towards the East (Drang nach Osten). In the novel, there is an attempt to start a Holy War and seize the Ottoman territories against the ambitions of Russia and Great Britain. Four British spies are given the task to find about that Holy War and its mysterious inspirators, The author, John Buchan, was a British official and knew a lot about the undergoings then, and TE Lawrence, then posted in Cairo, said that there is more than a flavor of truth in Greenmantle. In its literary category,it is absolutely fascinating and I warmly recommend it. The historical background can be found in P.Hopkirk "On secret service East of Constantinople".
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