The son of a Free Church of Scotland minister, John Buchan was born in Perth in 1875. His family moved to Fife, then to the Gorbals in Glasgow. He attended Glasgow University and Brasenose College, Oxford. Whilst at Oxford, he published five books and a wide repertoire of articles. After graduating he followed several successful careers - as a barrister, a Member of Parliament, a writer, a soldier and a publisher (a director of Nelsons). He was Chancellor of Edinburgh University and President of the Scottish History Society. In 1907, he married Susan Grosvenor. They had one daughter and three sons. He became Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield in 1935 and was the thirty fifth Governor General of Canada - a position he held until he died. (1940).
He wrote over fifty books and is most famous for his character Richard Hannay - master of disguise - who features in several of his thrillers, including The Thirty-nine Steps (1915), Greenmantle (1916) and The Three Hostages (1924). He did not confine himself to a single writing genre. Huntingtower (1922) is set in the Glasgow Gorbals (then a notorious slum) and features a gang called the Diehards. John Macnab (1925), on the other hand, is about poaching, hunting and fishing in Scotland. He is also a highly regarded biographer of Cromwell (1934) and Montrose (1928). His autobiography, Memory-Hold-the-Door, was published in 1940.
His most well-known novels: Prester John (1910) The Thirty Nine Steps (1915) Greenmantle (1916) The Power House (1916) Mr. Standfast (1919) Huntingtower (1922) The Three Hostages (1924) John MacNab (1925) Castle Gay (1930) The Gap in the Curtain (1932) House of the Four Winds (1935) The Island of Sheep (Man from the Norlands) (1936) Sick Heart River (Mountain Meadow) (1941).