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Sir Edward Leithen is the hero of/character in several of John Buchan's novels. These were published over a number of years, the first in 1916, and the last in 1941, one year after Buchan's death. Leithen's name is borrowed from the Leithen Watermarker, a tributary of the River Tweed, one of many references to the Scottish Borders in Buchan's novels.

He also appears in The Return of John MacNab by Andrew Greig in a 1990s retelling of John Macnab.


In the books, Leithen is a Scottishmarker barrister and a Tory politician (and MP) and, at one point, an Attorney General. He is also described as an excellent fly fisherman.


In a number of ways, Leithen resembles Buchan himself, moving amongst high society, and espousing Conservative values. However, Leithen also has a playful side, as can be seen in John Macnab. Because of the long period over which the Leithen novels were written, and the autobiographical element, we can see a real progression and change in the character: by Sick Heart River (1941), the character is old and weary.

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