Prester John

Prester John

Prester John

Prester John

Synopsis

This, the only critical edition of John Buchan's Prester John (1910), was Buchan's sixth novel and the first to reach a wide readership across the world, establishing him as the writer of fast-paced adventures for which he is famous. It is a tale of nineteen year old David Crawfurd, who travels from Scotland to South Africa to work as a storekeeper. When Crawfurd encounters John Laputa, a celebrated Zulu minister who has taken the title of the mythical priest-king Prester John, he finds himself at the heart of a massive uprising of the people, holding the key to its secret.

Excerpt

I mind as if it were yesterday my first sight of the man. Little I knew at the time how big the moment was with destiny, or how often that face seen in the fitful moonlight would haunt my sleep and disturb my waking hours. But I mind yet the cold grue of terror I got from it, a terror which was surely more than the due of a few truant lads breaking the Sabbath with their play.

The town of Kirkcaple, of which and its adjacent parish of Portincross my father was the minister, lies on a hillside above the little bay of Caple, and looks squarely out on the North Sea. Round the horns of land which enclose the bay the coast shows on either side a battlement of stark red cliffs through which a burn or two makes a pass to the water's edge. the bay itself is ringed with fine clean sands, where we lads of the burgh school loved to bathe in the warm weather. But on long holidays the sport was to go farther afield among the cliffs; for there there were many deep caves and pools, where podleys might be caught with the line, and hid treasures sought for at the expense of the skin of the knees and the buttons of the trousers. Many a long Saturday I have passed in a crinkle of the cliffs, having lit a fire of driftwood, and made believe that I was a smuggler or a Jacobite new landed from France.

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