I was soldier enough to see the tremendous importance of this note. On Kara Gubek depended the defence of Erzerum, and it was a broken reed if one knew where the weakness lay. Yet, searching the map again, I could not believe that any mortal commander would see any chance in the adjacent peaks, even if he thought them unfortified. That was information confined to the Turkish and German staffs.
I haven't read Greenmantle in a long time, but I remember first turning its pages under Los Cabos, Baja Sur, sun with hawks wheeling overhead and whales breaking the Sea of Cortez surface and spouting very close offshore.
The paragraphs quoted above are atmospheric, but don’t convey the breadth, sweep, and moral depth and focus of John Buchan's trans-Caucasian World War I espionage-adventure novel.
I'm not the world's biggest Steven Spielberg fan, but I can't understand why he hasn't yet attacked Greenmantle. It is tailor-made for him. I think he could make a commanding and moving success of it and The Three Hostages also (since sequel-itis seems to be a disease with no known cure). He could transfer Mr Standfast to the care of Peter Jackson.
John Buchan (1875-1940)