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Prester John

Prester John by John Buchan
By: (1875-1940)

This classic adventure novel by the author of Greenmantle and The Thirty-Nine Steps relates the first-person exploits of young David Crawfurd before the age of twenty.
As a boy growing up on the coast of Scotland, minister’s son Davie and two friends were pursued with murderous intent along the cliffs one night by John Laputa, a visiting black African preacher, whom they had witnessed performing un-Christian rites round a campfire on the beach.
A few years later, when his father’s death forces Davie to quit college and join the tribe of wandering Scots, our hero finds himself in South Africa, assistant shopkeeper in a seemingly sleepy back-veldt store. There he re-encounters Laputa, now charismatic leader of an incipient native uprising, secretly preaching the incendiary creed of “Africa for the Africans,” and proclaiming himself heir to the mantle of Prester John, a legendary 15th-century Christian king of Ethiopia.
Can young Davie possibly penetrate the megalomaniac’s mountain stronghold, foil the insurrection, prevent a massacre of white settlers, and make off with the rebels’ war-chest of gold and diamonds?
It’s going to take some doing – and not a little derring-do!

First Page:






Time, they say, must the best of us capture, And travel and battle and gems and gold No more can kindle the ancient rapture, For even the youngest of hearts grows old. But in you, I think, the boy is not over; So take this medley of ways and wars As the gift of a friend and a fellow lover Of the fairest country under the stars.

J. B.


i. The Man on the Kirkcaple Shore ii. Furth! Fortune! iii. Blaauwildebeestefontein iv. My Journey to the Winter Veld v. Mr Wardlaw Has a Premonition vi. The Drums Beat at Sunset vii. Captain Arcoll Tells a Tale viii. I Fall in Again with the Reverend John Laputa ix. The Store at Umvelos' x. I Go Treasure Hunting xi. The Cave of the Rooirand xii. Captain Arcoll Sends a Message xiii. The Drift of the Letaba xiv. I Carry the Collar of Prester John xv. Morning in the Berg xvi. Inanda's Kraal xvii. A Deal and Its Consequences xviii. How a Man May Sometimes Put His Trust in a Horse xix... Continue reading book >>

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