It's a triple-play Wednesday night for me tonight. In an hour or so I'll be making a rare midweek appearance with Tucker Carlson - live across America at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific. Hope you'll consider tuning in. And stick around after that because Tucker and I will be doing an hour-long live-streamed book-signing to launch his long awaited tome Ship of Fools. That's at 9pm Eastern, and you'll be able to ask questions about the book that I'll put to Tucker. You can watch the one-hour Ship of Fools special live at Facebook or at LiveSigning.com.
But first, ahead of all that, here's the 13th episode of our current Tale for Our Time, John Buchan's stirring story of three British subjects and a duodenally-afflicted American racing to prevent an Islamic uprising - Greenmantle. We're delighted to have so many Hollies (one of my favorite lady's names) in The Mark Steyn Club, but especially pleased so many of our Hollies are fans of these nightly audio adventures. I mentioned the other day the kind words of Holly Henry, one of our North Carolina listeners. Her fellow Holly, a First Day Founding Member from Texas, is also enjoying the series:
I have been an audio book fan for many years, ever since I had a long commute to work. These Tales for Our Time are far superior, probably because I feel I know the narrator, but also because I only get to hear a short portion of the story each night. That has turned out to be one of the best features. I listen to each nightly episode, then I go back and listen to the whole thing again. Whenever I feel that it was a mistake to leave the working world, I console myself with a Tale for Our Time and realize how lucky I am to have time for myself each evening.
You're too kind, Holly, but it's much appreciated. Other listeners have written to say how much they enjoy the occasional appearance in this story of real-life contemporary figures, such as Kaiser Wilhelm II. That was unusual in novels of Buchan's era, and it happens again in tonight's episode. In Constantinople, and masquerading as an American engineer from the mid-west, Richard Hannay is invited to a dinner party and finds himself sitting across the table from the Ottoman Empire's war minister and the most powerful figure in the Sultan's government, Enver Pasha:
He was a slim fellow of Rasta's build, very foppish and precise in his dress, with a smooth oval face like a girl's, and rather fine straight black eyebrows. He spoke perfect German, and had the best kind of manners, neither pert nor overbearing. He had a pleasant trick, too, of appealing all round the table for confirmation, and so bringing everybody into the talk. Not that he spoke a great deal, but all he said was good sense, and he had a smiling way of saying it. Once or twice he ran counter to Moellendorff, and I could see there was no love lost between these two. I didn't think I wanted him as a friend—he was too cold-blooded and artificial; and I was pretty certain that I didn't want those steady black eyes as an enemy. But it was no good denying his quality. The little fellow was all cold courage, like the fine polished blue steel of a sword...
Before he left he asked my name and wrote it down. 'This is an unhealthy city for strangers, Mr Hanau,' he said in very good English. 'I have some small power of protecting a friend, and what I have is at your disposal.' This with the condescension of a king promising his favour to a subject.
His small power got smaller a couple of years after his fictional dinner with Hannay. In 1918 Enver went into exile and was sentenced to death in absentia. Four years later, having proclaimed himself Emir of Turkestan, he died in Tajikistan in a skirmish with the Red Army. His body was found on the battlefield - decapitated and clutching a Koran. The Koran was prised from his fingers and taken to Moscow, to be warehoused in the archives of the secret police. It was a pathetic end for the leader of the Young Turk revolution. By then, the Young Turks had been supplanted by Mustafa Kemal's younger Turks, who got older and fewer in the ensuing century, eventually to be supplanted themselves.
If you've yet to hear any of our Tales for Our Time, you can do so by joining The Mark Steyn Club. For more details, see here - and don't forget our special Gift Membership. I'll be hosting the latest Clubland Q&A tomorrow, Thursday, at 4pm Eastern (that's 8pm GMT, if you want to calculate from there) and back later for Part 14 of Greenmantle.
And do join me on the telly with Tucker in an hour or so, and on Facebook Live around the planet immediately after at 9pm North American Eastern Time/6pm Pacific.