Prester John

Turning the opening pages of any John Bunyan book is pretty much like slipping into your favourite jacket. John Buchan starter the “Shocker” genre, which these days we’d call a thriller.

Like “The Thirty Nine Steps” key events take place in Scotland, but the reader is soon pitched into colonial Africa where the central character plays a key part in preserving The Empire from a kaffir uprising.

If (like me) you’re not given to Political Correctness you’ll see past the notions of White supremacy and just get on with a right good read. We follow the adventures of David Crawfurd, who evidently finds his local Church dull, before embarking on the chance of a lifetime in Zulu country, South Africa.

Prester John was written before the Hannay series, and smacks of being an opportunism.  A fictitious character is parachuted into Africa and used as a vehicle to tell how the Empire repelled a savage uprising. I found it a rattling good read, but a few years later Buchan was turning out far more inventive (and plausible) material.

My reading experience was enhanced still further by the delightfully tactile paperback, which was bound in a stiff matt card.  Even the pages felt better than your average paperback best seller. Overall rating 7 out of 10.

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