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Buy one paperback copy of “The Fortieth Step – Legacy” and one paperback copy of “The Fortieth Step – Revenge” and get the third book in the series, “The Fortieth Step – Promise”, sent to you absolutely free. Just email info@diamondbooks.co.uk with proof of purchase and they will send you your free book.

Buy my John Hannay books through the Diamond Books Website by clicking on any of the covers and going through to Amazon https://diamondbooks.co.uk/authors/stephen-timmins/

Or buy direct on Amazon. The Fortieth Step, Volume One. Legacy at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/FORTIETH-STEP-ONE-LEGACY-ebook/dp/B091MD6RRL/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3K2055NSW3JPZ&keywords=the+fortieth+step+legacy+by+Stephen+timmins&qid=1649064543&sprefix=the+fortieth+step+legacy+by+stephen+timmins%2Caps%2C82&sr=8-1

Or The Fortieth Step, Volume Two. Revenge at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fortieth-Step-Two-Revenge/dp/1838402659/ref=sr_1_2?crid=28XB4IMDHDW4P&keywords=the+fortieth+step+revenge+by+stephen+timmins&qid=1649064643&sprefix=the+fortieth+step+revengeby+stephen+timmins%2Caps%2C121&sr=8-2

Or The Fortieth Step. Volume Three. Promise at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fortieth-Step-Three-Promise/dp/1739744896/ref=sr_1_1?crid=28XB4IMDHDW4P&keywords=the+fortieth+step+revenge+by+stephen+timmins&qid=1649064643&sprefix=the+fortieth+step+revengeby+stephen+timmins%2Caps%2C121&sr=8-1

Crime Readers Association April 2022 Newsletter

By Steve Timmins

The Richard Hannay Stories

I still reread John Buchan’s five Richard Hannay stories. I read them first when I was little more than a child. The tattered paperback copy of Greenmantle that I pinched from my parents’ bookshelves, and claim now as my own, dates back to 1958. Today, although I read them with eyes now open to their imperial undertones and inherent bigotry, I am still stirred by the fact they are great, great adventures. Ripping yarns, maybe, but look at the characterisations: the villains. Oh, Buchan’s villains! The Graf von Schwabing, Hilda von Einem, Dominick Medina. Wonderful caricatures of evil and vanity. I can’t pretend they haunted my dreams as the ‘the sea faring man with one leg’ had haunted Jim Hawkins’ nightmares in Treasure Island. But evil they most certainly were.
With Buchan, evil intent is often in the eyes. Who could forget, in The Thirty-Nine Steps, the eyelids falling in ‘that hawk-like hood which fear had stamped on my memory’? Or in The Three Hostages, the hypnotic effect of Dominick Medina’s eyes – ‘two violet pin-points of light which were so bright that they hurt me.’

So it was that I longed to write a Hannay adventure for the twenty-first century. I convinced myself that the dangers Richard Hannay had encountered during a life spent battling evil would leave a dangerous inheritance for his heirs. One heir in particular, therefore, became my hero.
In the first book of my series, The Fortieth Step – Legacy, Richard’s grandson, John Hannay, comes up against the grandson of Dominick Medina (the villain of The Three Hostages), intent on destroying both John and the British economy. In the second book, The Fortieth Step – Revenge, another layer of John’s inheritance is peeled back to reveal the continued existence of the Black Stone (Richard Hannay’s antagonist in The Thirty-Nine Steps).
In the third of my books, The Fortieth Step ­– Promise, published on 28 March, John Hannay starts to discover who it is that is pulling the strings of the plot against him and Britain. 
But what, you are entitled to ask, is John Hannay like? Well, what would you expect a man with a world-famous grandfather, murdered parents, a non-existent childhood and a brilliant mind to be like? Probably best to ask his clever, funny and beautiful partner, Robbi. 

There is a fourth John Buchan villain who will appear in the final episode of ‘The Fortieth Step’ series. I would be delighted to send a free copy of each of the first three books to the first person who can tell me who this villain is and in which two books written by John Buchan he appeared. All you have to do, by 31 May, is email the publishers (info@diamondbooks.co.uk) and put ‘Hannay Villain’ as the title.



The first volume of my thriller series, The Fortieth Step, was published by Diamond Books in April 2021. The second novel in the Fortieth Step series, “Revenge” will be published in early 2022.

“The Fortieth Step – Legacy. “Recommended for readers who enjoy swiftly moving thrillers” in a review by Carol Westron on The Mystery People Blog https://promotingcrime.blogspot.com/2021/10/legacy-fortieth-step-by-stephen-timmins.html

“John Hannay is the grandson of Richard Hannay, the legendary hero whose exploits were recounted in The Thirty Nine Steps. Major-General Sir Richard Hannay, KCB, OBE, DSO was a soldier, war hero and spy-catcher, who during his adventurous lifetime, made a personal fortune, many good friends and just as many dangerous enemies. It is the legacy of evil perpetrated by his grandfather’s enemies that has had the greatest impact on John Hannay’s life. After the death of his father, John’s mother died by violence, and John himself was tortured; his experiences at the hands of these ruthless enemies has scarred his life since he was eight.

As the story opens, John has received a series of threatening phone calls, then a different caller warns him to ‘Get Out’. Soon after this, he is attacked in his house but, forewarned, he manages to escape, having killed one of his assailants using his grandfather’s Webley revolver. Traumatised, John goes on the run, bitterly aware that his skills as a restaurateur and market trader have not equipped him to triumph in the sort of adventures in which his grandfather excelled. Fortunately, his grandfather’s legacy of loyal friends helps John to not only survive but also build up his own network of allies, notably the beautiful, intelligent and warm-hearted Robbi, her tough, ex-SAS brother, Dave, and the enigmatic Palmer and several others. With his new team of friends, John survives some vicious attacks and hair-raising adventures as he tries to discover what his enemies intend. As he uncovers an unforeseen threat to his country’s security, John realises that the only way he can hope to avert national disaster is by using his personal skills and strengths, even though it means pushing himself further than he had ever believed he could endure.

Legacy is the first in a trilogy featuring John Hannay and, because it is a serial, it is important to read the books in order. It is a fast-paced and, at times, violent thriller with a physically and emotionally damaged protagonist who has to overcome the scars of his childhood in order to defeat enemies inherited from his family’s history. It is remarkable that, despite his damaged and vulnerable personality, John Hannay is an engaging character whom the reader wishes to succeed. The villains are truly villainous, but many of John’s new allies are interesting and likeable, especially the delightful Robbi. The concept behind Legacy is fascinating as it carries forward the story of Richard Hannay’s descendant into a contemporary setting. Recommended for readers who enjoy swiftly moving thrillers.”



“By chance I stumbled across publisher Diamond Books and having read 39 Steps as a schoolboy I was intrigued by The Fortieth Step – Legacy.
I read the book in a few days – an implausible plot where good is pitched against evil. The action is fast and furious as Mr Timmins pays homage to John Buchan’s books featuring Richard Hannay. A ‘penny dreadful’ in a modern post-Brexit setting featuring grandson John Richard Hannay. A hero who went to Eton, lost his parents at an early age and suffered unimaginable abuse. A wanderer who struggles with relationships. A zany, varied array of characters with some being hilarious stereotypes. I adored Robbi, ex-SAS hard man Dave, City trader Em, despicable ffitch and an almost pantomime villain.
Definite shades of Raymond Chandler with wisecracking Phillip Marlow. Another character straight out of Len Deighton films. One particularly dramatic scene reminds me of Jack Reacher (Lee Child).
This is a page-turning adventure that fizzes from start to finish. It is well written by an author who keeps the pace and suspense throughout. Plenty to look up in a dictionary or Wikipedia – Fibonacci Curve, Feydeau farce, nerfertiti, incunabula, omerta, Caesar’s code and Kerkhoff’s principle are just a few…. There are references to Johnny Cash, Shakespeare and Byron ending the story.” 



I spent a significant portion of my adult life working in television, although colleagues and friends felt that “working” was too strong a word to use and I, myself, decline to call it a career.  I have been an ITV Executive Producer, a BBC Producer and, through my Independent Production Company, was jointly responsible for launching the UK’s first national cable channel and then floating a public company that owned an international science channel. For my sins I even produced classic rock videos. I now live in a small village in North Somerset near to the city of Bristol. Here I spend much of my time writing – thrillers, crime novels, sagas and TV and film scripts.





Also to be published in 2022 is the first book in the historical Stanwood House series.

Volume One

Flora’s War

This trilogy follows lives from the end of the nineteenth century, through the devastation and social upheaval of 1914-18 and on to its tragic aftermath, the Second World War.  It is neither a Downton Abbey reprise nor an Upstairs Downstairs chronicle.  At the core of the story is the murderous impact of a disputed inheritance on the lives of a young aristocrat, Flora Smythe, and that of a villager, the ploughman, Will Cobley.

These three novels are based in a fictionalised version of the village where my grandparents lived. One of the two central characters, Will Cobley, is named after his grandfather, born 1896, died 1984. “I don’t think he would ever have considered himself a hero, but he ran away to war from his father’s farm in Northamptonshire and was there on the first day of the battle of the Somme.  He was invalided home in 1917 with toes missing from trench foot (the polite term for gangrene) and never spoke of the war again.” It was the memory of his grandfather and his research into the pioneering work of Dr Harold Gillies that led to this trilogy.    

Gillies, his surgeon colleagues and his nursing staff, developed the world’s first plastic surgery unit in an attempt to repair the shattered faces of the front line troops whose cheeks and jaws were punctured and destroyed by German snipers and shrapnel in the trench warfare of France and Belgium. At a time when unprecedented amounts of money were spent in developing weapons of huge destructive power, Gillies said simply that: “I felt a tremendous urge to do something other than the surgery of destruction”.


Volume One ~ Flora’s War

Volume Two ~ Kit’s War

Volume Three ~ Flora’s Peace