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Shades of the Greenmantle

Having outed myself as a Buchan fan I was interested to read Helen at EU Referendum praise John Buchan's novels.
Aficionados will recall that most of the novels (and my own favourites are the Hannay and Leithen series) have somewhere near the beginning a discussion of a random set of events that somehow fit together into a sinister pattern. Almost always behind those events there is a person or a group of people manipulating those who think they are acting on their own.

The reason these plots do not become stupid and tiresome conspiracy theories is because Buchan, a man who knew politics from personal experience, always understood that there were many other unforeseeable events happening as well and even the smartest conspirators could not count on everything to develop as planned.

I am not for one moment suggesting that there is a world-wide conspiracy behind the War of the Danish Cartoons (though I have no doubt some of our readers will think of one or two or a hundred). But clearly there are different forces at work.....

Ah, time to get Greenmantle off the bookshelf again. You will recall it involves a sinister plot to dupe believers into a Jihad against the west, of course back in July after the bombings the BBC dropped a serialisation of it as being "unsuitable and insensitive material" (They did rebroadcast it over Christmas though.)

In the book the plan is foiled by Richard Hannay and Sandy Arbuthnot, a "wonderful fine horseman, with his firm English hunting seat". When Sandy turns to the German arch-villainness and says, "You must know, Madam, that I am a British officer," she realises that her game is up. We need their sort now.


Greenmantle has been copied so many times by modern writers, but the original is the best.
It is way ahead of its time

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