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Reviews by Alasdair Hutton

Salute to Adventurers

by John Buchan

Salute to Adventurers is one of John Buchan's early adventure stories. It is a rattling good yarn in the typical Buchan manner with a young man, Andrew Garvald, unexpectedly caught up in a cycle of events which carries him into contact with a wild preacher and his eldritch group of anything but Sweet Singers in the Lammermuir Hills of Scotland, a beautiful girl whose word frees him from the prison cell into which he has been thrust by the dragoons and a desire to stretch his wings in his uncle's business in the emerging American colony of Virginia. There he encounters the classic Buchan elements of people who are more than they seem, conspiracies, shadowy figures whose names can only be whispered in certain places and hanging over all a grave threat to the survival of the colonists from Indian forces massing beyond the mountains and controlled by a mysterious European figure. Needless to say, through a chain of skilfully-worked events, Andrew Garvald saves the colony and wins the lady. It is a first-class tale which was written in the same year as The Thirty-Nine Steps and has certainly been overshadowed by that greater story with its more contemporary appeal at the time. Salute to Adventurers is finely crafted with meticulous research and Buchan's genius for creating the sight and the smell of the countryside and particularly of his beloved hills as it urges the reader through the dangers to the triumphant conclusion.

Alasdair Hutton
April 2001

Reviewed on 2005.12.04

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