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Tony Grist

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The Three Hostages: John Buchan [Jul. 22nd, 2015|12:21 pm]
Tony Grist
Spoilers! Stop reading if you care about such things.

The destroyer who by hypnotic suggestion can change a young socialite into a dance hall floozie and the heir to a great title into an inarticulate farmhand and a little boy into a little girl  is only to be countered and bested by his own weapons- and so a bunch of upright British heroes go up against him in masks: rock solid Richard Hannay becomes a dupe and a disciple, his wife flits from disguise to disguise and mercurial Sandy Arbuthnot (who I picture with the face of Alec Guinness) must turn himself into- well- lets keep that one a secret.

The certainties of Buchan's world are under attack. If a man who is so completely a sportsman and a clubman and an all round good egg can be plotting the otherthrow of civilisation as we know it then anything is possible. This is a book that expresses the most profound anxiety about personal identity- and prophesies the rise of humanity's newest enemy- the hidden persuader, the propagandist, the ad-man- and calls him a black magician- which is exactly what he is.

Also, of course, it's a cracking yarn.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sovay
2015-07-22 04:58 pm (UTC)
and mercurial Sandy Arbuthnot (who I picture with the face of Alec Guinness) must turn himself into- well- lets keep that one a secret.

Hah. That makes me want to read it.

There are ways in which this sounds much more like a novel from the '60's than from the '20's.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-07-22 07:56 pm (UTC)
Buchan is far-sighted (if you make allowances for his "white man's burden" view of the world.
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