Greenmantle by John Buchan
Suddenly I had a feeling that the whole affair was stark lunacy. ~ Major Hannay
Greenmantle is an adventure novel featuring Richard (Dick) Hannay. It is the second in five-novel series with Hannay as the hero. In this, as a Major in the British army during the First World War, he is sent on a clandestine mission into the enemy’s stronghold to discover the details of a mysterious scheme.
Major Hannay would rather be beside his men in the trenches fighting the Germans head on, but duty calls him to a more dangerous mission. British intelligence has learned – though with few details – of a German plot to ally with the Muslim world. Hannay’s mission of course is to learn the details and foil the plot.
He enlists a small team to assist, consisting of diverse and colorful characters: fellow soldier Sandy Arbuthnot who has extensive cultural and linguistic experience in the Arab World, and John Blenkiron an American agent, though the U.S. was not yet officially “in”.
Suddenly I had a feeling that the whole affair was stark lunacy. Here we were three simpletons sitting in a London flat and projecting a mission into the enemy’s citadel without an idea what we were to do or how we were to do it. ~ Major Hannay
The three take separate routes to get behind enemy lines and plan to rendezvous in Turkey – which ends up during the Battle of Erzurum.
There are some fairly typical caricatures: a hulking, arrogant German officer, a sinister and alluring female mastermind, and numerous close calls, but of course we know – it all comes right in the end.
It was a lot of fun, but to be completely honest, it felt like a guilty pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with that – and nothing really to feel guilty about. I’ll definitely read more Buchan, and more in the Richard Hannay series.
I give it 3 ½ of 5 stars
This novel satisfies Square O4, Classic Adventure in the in the 2020 Classic Bingo Challenge and completes my full card BINGO!
Disambiguation: not to be confused with the novel Greenmantle by Charles De Lint