John Buchan was a Scottish diplomat, barrister, journalist, historian, poet, and novelist. During his lifetime, he produced one hundred works, including nearly thirty novels and seven collections of short stories. His personal experiences greatly influenced his war-themed novels. Alfred Hitchcock, who considered Buchan one of his favorite writers, adapted Buchan's thriller The Thirty-Nine Steps and Greenmantle into screenplays.
Buchan was born in 1875 in Peebles-Shire Scotland, the eldest son of Reverend John Buchan. He studied at the University of Glasgow in Scotland and Brasenose College in Oxford, England, where he won the prestigious Stanhope Essay Prize and Newdigate Prize. He started his writing career in the late 1890s and published his first novel, Sir Quixote of the Moors, in 1895. After a sojourn in South Africa, Buchan became a dedicated supporter of Britain's Imperial Government. In 1901, he became a barrister of the Middle Temple and a private secretary to the High Commissioner for South Africa. Two years later, Buchan started to work for the publisher Thomas Nelson and Sons, where he revitalized pocket editions of great literature.
In 1907, Buchan got married, and he and his wife had three sons and one daughter. During World War I, Buchan worked as a war correspondent before joining the army. He served on the Headquarters Staff of the British Army in France as a temporary lieutenant colonel. Later, he was appointed director of information and then director of intelligence. From 1927 to 1935, Buchan was the Conservative MP for the Scottish universities. He also served as Lord High Commissioner of the Church of Scotland. In 1935, after moving to Canada, Buchan was appointed the first Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield and served as governor general of Canada until his death in 1940.