Prester John is a rollicking adventure tale. It tells of the experiences of a young Scotsman who travels to South Africa at the dawn of the 20th century to make his fortune in the wild plains of an untamed country. Part mystery, part travelogue, part spy novel, part treasure hunt, it has all the makings of a crackling good read. It is firm proof that John Buchan (The Thirty-Nine Steps, Greenmantle, and so many other novels of intrigue) remains a storyteller of the first order. His writing style is fresh and compelling.The events transpire in a critical time South African history, just as the Dutch are about to lose control of Transvaal to the British, but the focus of the story is not on the Dutch or the British. They merely serve as the backdrop for the real action, the arrival of a charismatic black leader, John Laputa, who vows to unite all of Africa under him. Heralding himself the rightful heir of Prester John, the legendary medieval King of Ethiopia said to be a descendant of one of the three Magi. Laputa uses the Prester John myth to rally his forces and fuel his insurgency, but in the end it becomes a case of spears and shields versus bolt-action rifles.This is not Laputa's narrative, however. The story belongs to young Mr. David Crawfurd, of Kirkcaple, Scotland. As a stranger in a strange land Crawfurd must draw on his inner strength and resources to survive the explosive conflict around him. Prester John is a top-notch adventure story, full of daring heroes and wondrous villainsa forgotten gem of early 20th Century literature.