The House of the Four Winds

‘High Hearts and Youth’ (a review in Punch, 31 July 1935)
While Lord Tweedsmuir prepares to govern a great Dominion Mr John Buchan spins his irresponsible yarns. And may he continue to do so, for in The House of the Four Winds (Hodder and Stoughton, 7/6) there is no indication that the helm of State is likely to rob the hand which is to grasp it of its cunning in fictitious contrivance. Readers of Huntingtower and Castle Gay will welcome old friends in this delectable narrative of the tangled policies of Evallonia, which it takes a bevy of intrepid Scots men (and women) to unravel; but the less well instructed will not be greatly incommoded by (though they may properly regret) their neglect of earlier opportunities of entertainment. Anyway, it is the events rather than the people who make them that matter here, though one’s heart warms to most of these, and Aurunculeia is surely the nicest elephant in fiction outside Kipling. Escapes are as hairbreadth, escapades as hair-raising as ever; nor will anyone complain that the long-bow of romance is often drawn by the long arm of coincidence when the mark is well and truly hit. It may also be observed that while Evallonia is a kingdom of pure fancy, its discoverer is at no pains to conceal his actual predilections. The biographer of Montrose rejoices at the triumphs of monarchy, and while he smiles at the solemnities Juventus he is very tender to its aspirations. ‘High hearts and youth are destiny enough’ declared John Davidson; and Mr Buchan endorses that dogma of his memorable and neglected compatriot.

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