Here comes Part Five of my serialization of Greenmantle, written in 1916 by John Buchan, and timelier than ever a century on in its view of Islam and the west. In tonight's episode, Richard Hannay is undercover in Berlin, and anxious to sell his services to the Germans:
'You say that with our help you can make trouble for the British on the three borders?' Gaudian asked at length.
'I can spread the fire if some one else will kindle it,' I said.
'But there are thousands of tribes with no affinities.'
'They are all African. You can bear me out. All African peoples are alike in one thingâ€”they can go mad, and the madness of one infects the others. The English know this well enough.'
'Where would you start the fire?' he asked.
'Where the fuel is dryest. Up in the North among the Mussulman peoples. But there you must help me. I know nothing about Islam, and I gather that you do.'
'Why?' he asked.
'Because of what you have done already,' I answered.
Leo Madden writes with an eye to our next yarn:
A suggestion for your next book club reading: A. E. W. Mason, The Four Feathers. Some beautiful prose, and it fits the general category of "how the Brits fought the Mahdi" that you have dealt with over the past few years.
Well, we're not quite the Mahdist Book Club - just one per year. But I'll bear that in mind. My memory of The Four Feathers is that I enjoyed the movies, but was a bit disappointed by the book. But I'll revisit and rethink...
~I'll be shipboard at the end of this month, hosting the inaugural Mark Steyn cruise as we sail from Montreal to Boston via Quebec City, Prince Edward Island and the beautiful eastern seaboard at its autumnal best. We'll be doing a lot of the things we do here, but live and on water, including Tales for Our Time, as well as The Mark Steyn Show, our Song of the Week and our Sunday Poem. If you'd like to join us, we'd love to see you. More details here. Alternatively, you can email us, or call Cindy on 1-800-707-1634 or, from beyond North America, +1 770 952-1959.
See you for a brand new SteynPost - or on the radio in Toronto with John Oakley on Wednesday afternoon, and tomorrow evening for Part Six of Greenmantle.