The Island of Sheep

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The Island of Sheep (The Man from the Norlands in the US)[1]
First edition cover
Author John Buchan
Country Scotland, England
Language English
Series Richard Hannay
Genre Thriller
Publisher Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
Preceded by The Three Hostages/(The Courts of the Morning)
Followed by (Last in series)

The Island of Sheep (1936) is a novel by John Buchan. It is the last of his novels to revolve around Richard Hannay and Sandy Arbuthnot.[2] The novel was published in the United States under the title The Man from the Norlands.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

The action occurs twelve years later on from the last novel, when Hannay, now in his fifties, is called by an old oath to protect the son of a man he once knew, who is also heir to the secret of a great treasure. He obtains help from Sandy Arbuthnot, now Lord Clanroyden, and Lombard. The action takes place in England, Scotland and on the Island of Sheep. This is located in what Buchan describes as 'the Norlands': clearly the Faroe Islands. There are several stereotypical villains, in particular D'Ingraville from The Courts of the Morning, and the book also focuses on Hannay's son, Peter John, now a bright but solemn teenager.

In book I, Richard Hannay is on his way down to the Solent to lay up his yacht. He had heard a speech in Parliament from Charles Lamancha, a formidable orator. Lamancha had mentioned the name of one of Hannay's old friends, Lombard whom Hannay had long forgotten about. By pure coincidence, Hannay's train carriage mate turned out to be Lombard himself. Following promises to meet later, Lombard disembarks. Afterwards Hannay's son, Peter John receives a vile tempered she hawk from Archie Roylance whom he christens Morag. Hannay takes Peter John shooting on the Hanham Flats in East Anglia. There they meet a strange man who is behaving as if he is on the run from something or someone. He says his name is Smith, but Hannay thinks he is Northern European. Hannay then meets Clanroyden who reveals a Chinese jade tablet and tells Hannay about old Haraldsen. Hannay responds with his own tale about Haraldsen also involving Lombard and Peter Pienaar in Rhodesia which involved some villains including Erick Albinus, a Danish American and a City of London bigshot called Aylmer Troth which ended with the gang's arrest and Troth's death. Clanroyden brings old Haraldsen's son to Hannay. Hannay recognized him as "Smith" from the Hanham shooting holiday. Haraldsen is being hounded by villains including Albinus and Aylmer Troth's son, Lancelot and someone called Barralty. Hannay meets Lombard again as well as Macgillivray who does not know much about this gang. Clanroyden suggests Hannay and Haraldsen move up to Laverlaw.

In book II, Hannay and Haraldsen and Peter John are in Sandy's ancestral manor, Laverlaw. There they witness sheep shearing and a wedding. Lombard arrives safely having only just saved Haraldsen's daughter, Anna from the villains involving a mad dash by car north from London. Clanroyden joins them too later.

In book III, Hannay and his friends sail to the Island of Sheep and meet Haraldsen and Anna. One day Peter John and Anna go canoeing and come upon a Danish trawler called the "Tjaldar". They meet the real villain, Jacques D'Ingraville on board and are captured, but one of the crewmen, called Martel helps them escape, they arrive back at the island and summon the whaling crew of the "Grind" for help. Meanwhile, Hannay, Lombard, Geordie Hamilton and Haraldsen receive a message from Morag that they are about to be attacked. They barricade the house and D'Ingraville, Martel and a Spaniard called Carreras arrive to offer terms. Hannay let Martel into the house to negotiate and Martel reveals himself to be Sandy Clanroyden. Clanroyden assures Hannay that the children are all right and then rejoins D'Ingraville before his cover his blown by a hiding Haraldsen. Clanroyden manages to escape and rejoin Hannay on the roof. Haraldsen then goes berserk and throws D'Ingraville to his death off a cliff. Anna and Peter John then arrive with the crew of the whaleboat "Grind" and the criminal gang is subdued. Lancelot Troth, Albinus and Barralty then make peace with Haraldsen and are invited to dinner with him. Clanroyden then gifts his jade tablet to Troth.


  • Major-General Sir Richard Hannay, KCB, OBE
  • Colonel Sandy Arbuthnot, Lord Clanroyden
  • Mr Lombard, a merchant banker
  • Marius Eliaser Haraldsen, an adventurer and father of
  • Valdemar Haraldsen, father of
  • Anna Haraldsen, a schoolgirl
  • Geordie Hamilton
  • Miss Lydia Ludlow, an actress
  • Jacques D'Ingreville
  • Lancelot Troth, a solicitor
  • Erick Albinus, a Dane
  • Joseph Bannatyne Barralty, a stockbroker
  • Frankie Varrinder
  • Carreras, a Spaniard
  • Martel, a Belgian


The novel reuses a title that Buchan had used seventeen years earlier for a political book, The Island of Sheep (1919),[3] that he had written in conjunction with his wife under the pseudonym ‘Cadmus and Harmonia’.[4] Sales of that book in the United States had been disappointing, and Buchan insisted on reusing the title in 1936 against the advice of his American publishers who still held unsold stocks of the earlier book. The 1936 novel was published in the US under the title The Man from the Norlands.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Redley, Michael (February 2001). "The Island of Sheep [by 'Cadmus & Harmonia', with Susan Buchan]". The John Buchan Society. Retrieved 10 January 2017. 
  2. ^ "NOVELS of the DAY.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 11 September 1936. p. 6. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  3. ^ "The Island of Sheep.". British Library Catalogue. London: British Library. Retrieved 12 January 2016.  Published anonymously in 1919 by "Cadmus and Harmonia", ie John and Susan Buchan
  4. ^ Lownie, Andrew (2013). John Buchan: The Presbyterian Cavalier. Thistle Publishing. p. 190. ISBN 978-1-909609-99-0. 

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