Huntingtower is a novel written by John Buchan in 1922. The first of his three Dickson McCunn books, it is set near Carrick in south west Scotland around 1920. The hero is a 55-year old grocer Dickson McCunn, who has sold his business and taken early retirement. As soon as he ventures out to explore the world, he is swept out of his bourgeois rut into bizarre and outlandish adventures, and forced to become a reluctant hero.
The story revolves around the imprisonment under false pretenses by Bolshevik agents of an exiled Russian noblewoman. The Scottish local community mobilises to uncover and thwart the conspiracy against her, and to defend the neutrality of Scotland against the Russian revolutionary struggle. A plot based on espionage and covert violence is set against the seemingly tranquil Scottish rural backdrop, a narrative device commonly found in Buchan’s novels. He uses this notably in The Thirty Nine Steps. The novel contrasts the domestic characters, heroes and villains, with their more alien Russian counterparts. Huntingtower is characteristic of Buchan’s novels, particularly in its class-based paternalism; its xenophobic prejudices, which are mitigated by instinctive humanity and dry humour; and its shrewd common-sense understanding of personality and motivation. We see Buchan's class based paternalism in the attitudes of various characters, from Saskia's insistence on pointing out the former status of her Russian family to Phemie Morran's lifelong loyalty to the extinct Kennedy family, to whom she was once a domestic servant.
In this novel Buchan creates characters across a broad spectrum of Scottish social classes and backgrounds, and while no one except McCunn is presented in great depth, we are given sharp and revealing character sketches of other key characters. Heritage’s single handed defence of the actual tower and his attempt to free-climb away from he burning building show not only his actions but his reasons and thinking, why he is doing what he is doing. Wee Jaikie's inner life is only hinted at occasionally, but his dogged perseverance and resourcefulness come through at several moments when his interventions are important. In the final resolution of the story, a band of adventurers ranging from an injured laird and his faithful menservants to a group of semi-outcast street urchins from Glasgow have bonded and have combined to fight for a common purpose, out of belief in right and wrong, and allegiance to Scotland.
The Novel has been adapted for both movies and TV. BBC Scotland produced an adaptation which was broadcast over six episodes starting in October 1978.
The Dickson McCunn Trilogy is a set of three books by John Buchan. The novels in the trilogy are Huntingtower (1922), Castle Gay (1930) and The House of the Four Winds (1935).
John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir PC GCMG GCVO CH (26 August 1875 – 11 February 1940) was a Scottish novelist, historian and Unionist politician who served as Governor General of Canada, the 15th since Canadian Confederation.
After a brief legal career Buchan simultaneously began both his writing career and his political and diplomatic career, serving as a private secretary to the colonial administrator of various colonies in Southern Africa. He eventually wrote propaganda for the British war effort in the First World War. Once he was back in civilian life Buchan was elected Member of Parliament for the Combined Scottish Universities, but he spent most of his time on his writing career, notably writing The Thirty-Nine Steps and other adventure fiction.