It is May 1914 and busy, bustling London is abuzz with rumours of escalating political tensions, at home and abroad. Yet Richard Hannay, lately returned from Rhodesia, finds himself thoroughly bored by London and its offerings. It is not until a spy named Scudder bursts into his life – before exiting in the most dramatic way – that things get interesting. Before he knows it, Hannay is on the run from the law. But the law is the least of his worries.
Pursued relentlessly by his enemies, Hannay scrambles to decipher Scudder's coded messages and expose a plot to sabotage Britain's military secrets on the eve of a terrible war. In a desperate and dangerous race against time, he will soon discover the lengths to which his adversaries will go to thwart him.
But through it all, the biggest question remains: what, and where, are the thirty-nine steps? Hannay must find out – before it is too late.