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The Three Hostages is the fourth of five Richard Hannay novels by John Buchan, first published in 1924.
Hannay had previously appeared in The Thirty Nine Steps (1915), his most famous adventure in which he battles German spies across England and Scotland, and two books about his activities during the First World War, Greenmantle (1916) and Mr Standfast (1919).
After the War, Hannay is married to Mary and living peacefully in the Cotswolds, when he receives a request to help solve the mysterious kidnapping of the children of three prominent people. Given nothing to go on but a few mysterious clues, Hannay, assisted by friends like Sandy Arbuthnot, must track down the dastardly villains behind the plot before it's too late...
In 1952 a six-part series The Three Hostages with Patrick Barr playing Richard Hannay was broadcast by the BBC. The story was adapted for television by the BBC in 1977. Written by John Prebble and directed by Clive Donner, the 85-minute television film The Three Hostages starred Barry Foster as Hannay, Diana Quick as Mary, Peter Blythe as Sandy Arbuthnot and John Castle as Medina.
Major-General Sir Richard Hannay, KCB, OBE, DSO, Legion of Honour, is a fictional secret agent and army officer created by Scottish novelist John Buchan. In his autobiography, Memory Hold-the-Door, Buchan suggests that the character is based, in part, on Edmund Ironside, from Edinburgh, a spy during the Second Boer War.
Richard Hannay was one of the first modern spy thriller heroes and as such has heavily influenced the genre. Today, considered in the light of mainstream espionage fiction, Hannay appears to be badly clichéd, although, as he was created well before his attributes became clichéd, Hannay could be more accurately described as a seminal character of the spy thriller genre.
Richard Hannay continued his adventures after The Three Hostages in The Island of Sheep (1936), also set in the post war period when Hannay's opponents were criminal gangs.
John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir PC GCMG GCVO CH (1875-1940) was a Scottish novelist, historian and Unionist politician who served as Governor General of Canada, the 15th since Canadian Confederation.
After a brief legal career Buchan simultaneously began both his writing career and his political and diplomatic career, serving as a private secretary to the colonial administrator of various colonies in Southern Africa. He eventually wrote propaganda for the British war effort in the First World War. Once he was back in civilian life Buchan was elected Member of Parliament for the Combined Scottish Universities, but he spent most of his time on his writing career, notably writing The Thirty-Nine Steps and other adventure fiction.