John MacNab, Paperback
4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


In 1925, John Buchan published his second most famous novel, "John MacNab"; three high-flying men - a barrister, a cabinet minister and a banker - are suffering from boredom.

They concoct a plan to cure it. They inform three Scottish estates that they will poach from each two stags and a salmon in a given time.

They sign collectively as 'John McNab' and await the responses.

This novel is a light interlude within the "Leithen Stories" series - an evocative look at the hunting, shooting and fishing lifestyle in Highland Scotland.




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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

A ripping yarn which just grabs you and carries you along. It is a hugely enjoyable tale of three respectable London men in the early 1920s (a barrister, a banker and a politician) who are suffering from ennui and so create a challenge to poach stag or salmon from three neighbouring Scottish Estates. I know nothing about fishing or shooting, but this does not stop you enjoying the story for what it is, which is a thriller. There is humour, romantic interest, a little politics and a bit about shooting & fishing, but the driver is the chase.I also found its setting in the 1920s very interesting when comparing it to the humorous books of Wodehouse (Jeeves & Wooster and the Blandings series), as it did mention the Great War both as in the past for one of the major characters and for a minor character near the end.This book is a real joy to read.

Review by

I have fond memories of this book from my reading in early adolescence, so I was pleased to find it available to download free to my Kindle. It was published in 1925 but still feels fresh and spirited. This upper class world of fine manors and expansive grounds is as far away from me now as it was when I first read it as a miner's son in a council house, but that is part of the charm. The class assumptions are amusing, and relieved by Buchan's essentially liberal sentiments despite his being very much part of the aristocratic world in his day job as diplomat and governor. Above all, he is a supreme writer of adventure; here the reader is caught up by the thrill of the chase as three friends try for a dare to hunt game from heavily defended estates, using the collective pseudonym John Macnab. I know nothing whatsoever about hunting and shooting (am temperamentally opposed to both), but I found myself rooting for 'Macnab' and as a reader inhabiting his skin - that's the power of the story and the skill of a great writer in the genre. When I settled down to read, I wondered if I would be as absorbed as I had been nearly fifty years before. The magic was still in the pages, or in this case the screen. By the way, much though I love books, I feel my pleasure was not lessened in any way by using the electronic reader. This was one of my first sustained experiences with the Kindle, and I'm sure I'll be doing a lot more of my reading in this form from now on, especially when I can get it for free.