Andrew Greig - The Return of John Macnab

Faber and Faber £8.99
ISBN 0-7472-5353-6

The original John Macnab was a great tale by John Buchan and a story which has passed into legend. Even today, you hear people arguing about what a 'Macnab' might be - the conventional answer being to take a salmon, a grouse and a stag in the same day. The correct answer is to poach two stags and a salmon over a 48 hour period, having alerted the landlord of the property first, but I guess we are better off sticking with the bird, the beast and the fish.

Andrew Greig, a Scottish writer and poet, has taken Buchan's original story, dusted it off, and set it in modern times, a move which very fortunately hasn’t occurred to anyone before. The result has a distinctive nineties tone, acquired by dint of packing out the book by throwing in modern day issues like Scottish nationalism and the right to roam. Buchan’s original was reprinted countless times and is well worth hunting out, particularly because so many copies were printed that it can be bought for a song if you don’t want a first edition - quite frankly, I would read that instead. Greig is a fine writer, but this one isn't exactly the best thing he ever did.