There are moments here when Buchan is juggling four different strands of the same story as the various groups come together for the climax. He moves backwards and forwards but never loses the gathering pace of the story and as a result by the time the final confrontation comes you are wound up enough to appreciate it.
But this is not just a straight forward adventure story of a dastardly plot to assassinate the prime minister being foiled and is much more with the subtle differences between Scots and English, learned and unlearned men getting a going over as well.
By the end you realise that you are in the hands of a brilliant story teller who has weaved a story from relatively innocent beginnings. The slow start and the mixed messages that are sent out about the likely plot development make the final third of the novel an even greater and more enjoyable surprise.
You might know how things will end up but you don’t know how and that makes this so gripping.
A review will follow soon…