Buchan of the Month/Book Review: Salute to Adventurers by John Buchan

buchan of the month 2019 poster

20190202_150326About the Book

Andrew Garvald is a young Scottish merchant who has bravely come to make his fortune in a newly colonised America. Outlawed from Virginian society for opposing the London traders’ monopoly, his friends are Red Ringan, a pirate and gentleman adventurer and Shalah, an exiled Indian prince. When Garvald is faced with a deadly foe, the stakes are high – the love of a beautiful lady and the very existence of Virginia.

Format: Hardcover (380 pp.)    Publisher: Thomas Nelson & Son
Published: 1915      Genre: Fiction, Adventure

Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk  ǀ  Amazon.com
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Salute to Adventurers on Goodreads

My Review

Salute to Adventurers is the second book in my Buchan of the Month reading project for 2019.  You can find out more about the project and my reading list for 2019 here.  You can also read my spoiler-free introduction to Salute to Adventurers here.

It was chance that made me select Salute to Adventurers as my Buchan of the Month book to follow Prester John, which I read and reviewed last month. Once I started reading it, I began to appreciate the similarities between the two novels although Salute to Adventurers is more than merely Prester John transposed from South Africa to the American state of Virginia.

However, like Prester John, Salute to Adventurers is an adventure story featuring a young hero, Andrew Garvald, who travels from his native Scotland to make his fortune abroad. Once there, he gets caught up in attempts to foil an uprising of the native Indians roused to uncharacteristic action by an inspirational but misguided (rather than malevolent as in Prester John) leader.   Certainly, Andrew Garvald’s adversary lacks the powerful characterisation of John Laputa in Prester John.

Like David Crawfurd in Prester John, John Buchan endows his hero with a young person’s sense of adventure, seemingly tireless energy and just a little recklessness.  There are exciting action scenes, perilous treks across wild country, narrow escapes, some remarkable coincidences (or are they fate?) and a final confrontation with the native Indians involved in the uprising.  As you would expect from Buchan, there are some glorious descriptions of the scenery, more remarkable for the fact that the author had never crossed the Atlantic at the time of writing the book.

Buchan also introduces some love interest in the shape of a young woman, Elspeth Blair, whom Andrew first encounters in Scotland in curious circumstances.  The lady in question conforms to many of the typical features of a Buchan heroine: she’s slim, beautiful, possesses a lovely singing voice and is a skilled horsewoman.  Buchan also provides his hero with a rival for Elspeth’s affections who eventually becomes an unexpected ally.

Themes that occur frequently in many of Buchan’s book are present in Salute to Adventurers:  fortitude, duty, sacrifice. Those who have followed my previous reviews of John Buchan books will know that an influential text for Buchan was The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.  They may not be surprised to learn then that, like some of Christian’s fellow travellers in The Pilgrim Progress, not all of Andrew’s comrades make it to the end of the journey unscathed.

In my review of Prester John,  I admitted I found the racial stereotyping, colonialism and outdated paternalism that pervaded that book problematic.  In Salute to Adventurers there is still an element of the white man representing civilization and the native people representing savagery but I felt it was less marked.  One reason for this is the positive characterisation of the Native American guide, Shalah, who is shown not only to possess admirable tracking skills but who plays a key role in safeguarding Andrew and his comrades.  He also acts as an advocate for peace amongst his people.

Salute to Adventurers is one of the few John Buchan books I’ve not read before and I found it an entertaining, well-written adventure story that pays homage to the pioneer spirit.  Next month’s Buchan of the Month is The Path of the King. Look out for my spoiler free introduction to the book next week and my review towards the end of March.

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In three words: Adventure, action, spirited

Try something similar:  Prester John by John Buchan (read my review here)

John BuchanAbout the Author

John Buchan (1875 – 1940) was an author, poet, lawyer, publisher, journalist, war correspondent, Member of Parliament, University Chancellor, keen angler and family man.  He was ennobled and, as Lord Tweedsmuir, became Governor-General of Canada.  In this role, he signed Canada’s entry into the Second World War.   Nowadays he is probably best known – maybe only known – as the author of The Thirty-Nine Steps.  However, in his lifetime he published over 100 books: fiction, poetry, short stories, biographies, memoirs and history.

You can find out more about John Buchan, his life and literary output by visiting The John Buchan Society website.

buchan of the month 2019

WWW Wednesdays – 27th February ‘19


Hosted by Taking on a World of Words, this meme is all about the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Why not join in too?  Leave a comment with your link at Taking on a World of Words and then go blog hopping!

Currently reading

The Night TigerThe Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo  (eARC, courtesy of Quercus and NetGalley)

They say a tiger that devours too many humans can take the form of a man and walk among us…

In 1930s colonial Malaya, a dissolute British doctor receives a surprise gift of an eleven-year-old Chinese houseboy. Sent as a bequest from an old friend, young Ren has a mission: to find his dead master’s severed finger and reunite it with his body. Ren has forty-nine days, or else his master’s soul will roam the earth forever.

Ji Lin, an apprentice dressmaker, moonlights as a dancehall girl to pay her mother’s debts. One night, Ji Lin’s dance partner leaves her with a gruesome souvenir that leads her on a crooked, dark trail.

As time runs out for Ren’s mission, a series of unexplained deaths occur amid rumours of tigers who turn into men. In their journey to keep a promise and discover the truth, Ren and Ji Lin’s paths will cross in ways they will never forget.

The Olive Garden ChoirThe Olive Garden Choir by Leah Fleming  (eARC, courtesy of Quercus and NetGalley)

On the beautiful island of Santaniki, close to Crete, it’s not all white sands and sunshine. When retired bookseller Ariadne Blunt suggests the English residents form a choir, there are groans of resistance. After a little persuasion, the group gather in Ariadne’s olive garden to rehearse for a seasonal concert, but each member of this choir has their own anxieties and secrets.

Ariadne’s partner, Hebe, is in failing health. Clive struggles to accept the loss of his wife while Natalie hides her shameful secret in baking for comfort. Della, the Pilates teacher drinks too much and Chloe, Queen Bee of the village society, faces a family dilemma. Then there is Mel, the real songbird amongst them, English wife of a taverna owner who hides her talent until the choir inspires her to raise her voice once more.

In this tiny community, the choir brings the residents together like never before in a bittersweet tale of love and loss – and how life can begin again when you let go of the past.

20190202_150326Salute to Adventurers by John Buchan (hardcover)

Andrew Garvald is a young Scottish merchant who has bravely come to make his fortune in a newly colonised America.

Outlawed from Virginian society for opposing the London traders’ monopoly, his friends are Red Ringan, a pirate and gentleman adventurer and Shalah, an exiled Indian prince.

When Garvald is faced with a deadly foe, the stakes are high – the love of a beautiful lady and the very existence of Virginia.

20190126_141313Poetic Justice by R. C. Bridgestock (ARC, courtesy of The Dome Press)

From the husband and wife team, who are the storyline consultants to TV’s Happy Valley and Scott & Bailey, comes the brand new book in the D.I. Jack Dylan series, which takes the reader back to where it all began…

When Detective Jack Dylan heads home after a residential course, he has no idea that an extraordinary succession of events is about to turn his life upside down. A vicious, unprovoked attack is just the start. Soon his wife is dead and his step-daughter – dangerously depressed – is being expelled from university for drug use. And at work, two teenagers have gone missing.

An ordinary man might break under the strain, but Dylan is no ordinary man. He knows that his survival depends on him carrying on regardless, burying himself in his work.

He is determined to pursue the criminal elements behind the events – both personal and professional – whether his superiors like it or not. And, as his family disintegrates around him, a newcomer to the admin department, Jennifer Jones, seems to offer some sort of salvation.

Life may have changed, but nothing will stand in the way of Dylan’s quest for justice.

Pre-order Poetic Justice from Amazon UK (link provided for convenience, not as part of an affiliate programme)

Recently finished (click on title for review)

the horseman's songThe Horseman’s Song (Captain Martin Bora #4) by Ben Pastor (ebook, courtesy of Bitter Lemon Press and Random Things Tours)

Spain, Summer 1937. The civil war between Spanish nationalists and republicans rages. On the bloody sierras of Aragon, among Generalissimo Franco’s volunteers is Martin Bora, the twenty-something German officer and detective whose future adventures will be told in Lumen, Liar Moon, The Road to Ithaca and others in the Bora series.

Presently a lieutenant in the Spanish Foreign Legion, Bora lives the tragedy around him as an intoxicating epic, between idealism and youthful recklessness.

The first doubts, however, rise in Bora’ s mind when he happens on the body of Federico Garcia Lorca, a brilliant poet, progressive and homosexual. Who murdered him? Why? The official version does not convince Bora, who begins a perilous investigation. His inquiry paradoxically proceeds alongside that which is being carried out by an “enemy”: Philip Walton, an American member of the International Brigades. Soon enough the German and the New Englander will join forces, and their cooperation will not only culminate in a thrilling chase after a murderer, but also in a very human, existential face-to-face between two adversaries forever changed by their crime-solving encounter…

The Blameless DeadThe Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes (eARC, courtesy of Endeavour Quill)

In the dying days of World War Two, Pavel Romasko and his Red Army colleagues pick their way through the carnage and detritus of a dying Berlin. Stumbling upon the smoking remains of a Nazi bunker, they find something inside that eclipses the horror of even the worst excesses in the city above them…

As the war ends, retribution begins. But some revenge cannot be taken at once. Some revenge takes years.

And so it is, as post-war Europe tries desperately to drag itself back onto its feet, and soldiers attempt a return to normality, that retribution continues to ferment in the Gulags of the Soviet Union and beneath the surface of apparently ordinary lives.

Which is how, seventy years later, FBI agent Carla Romero and New York lawyer Gabriel Hall are enlisted to investigate a series of blood-chilling crimes that seem to have their roots in the distant past — even though the suffering they cause is all too present. And for one of them, the disappearance of young women is a particularly personal matter.

Pre-order The Blameless Dead from Amazon UK (link provided for convenience, not as part of an affiliate programme)

What Cathy (will) Read Next

Josephine's DaughterJosephine’s Daughter (The Golden City #5) by A. B. Michaels (eARC, courtesy of the author)

What’s worse than a mother like Josephine? Turning out to be just like her.

In the late nineteenth century, wealthy and headstrong Kit Firestone chafes under the strictures of the Golden City’s high society, especially the interference of her charming but overbearing mother, Josephine. Kit’s secret rebellion leads to potentially catastrophic results and keeps her from finding true happiness.

When her brother nearly dies from a dangerous infection, Kit defies convention and becomes a working nurse. Through her troubled romance with a young doctor and a series of dramatic events, including a natural disaster and her mother’s own critical illness, Kit begins to understand who her mother truly is and what their relationship is all about. She may not get the chance to appreciate their bond, however, because, through no fault of her own, a madman has Kit in his crosshairs.

Pre-order Josephine’s Daughter from Amazon UK (link provided for convenience, not as part of an affiliate programme)

The Cornish LadyThe Cornish Lady by Nicola Pryce (eARC, courtesy of Corvus and Rachel’s Random Resources)

Cornwall 1796.  Educated, beautiful and the daughter of a prosperous merchant, Angelica Lilly has been invited to spend the summer in high society. Her father’s wealth is opening doors, and attracting marriage proposals, but Angelica still feels like an imposter among the aristocrats of Cornwall.

When her brother returns home, ill and under the influence of a dangerous man, Angelica’s loyalties are tested to the limit. Her one hope lies with coachman Henry Trevelyan, a softly spoken, educated man with kind eyes. But when Henry seemingly betrays Angelica, she has no one to turn to. Who is Henry, and what does he want? And can Angelica save her brother from a terrible plot that threatens to ruin her entire family?

Pre-order The Cornish Lady  from Amazon UK (link provided for convenience, not as part of an affiliate programme)