What an interesting story and novel novel. It sets out in the late eighteen hundreds in gentele England. The object of our attention is a young lad by the name of George Mallorry. Father's a minister, mother raises the family and aspires to the upper classes; there are two younger sisters and one younger brother of such great importance to the development of our story as to not even be mentioned. In the very first page our youthful protagonist tests fate by wading to a boulder. seemingly oblivious to the danger posed by the incoming tide.
Within the first 60 pages we meet with such words as Sherry (the drink), Queen Victoria; trousers; heather, Ben Nevis; and hanson cab. Does that set the tone for you?
Equally interesting and telling is that by the time we reach page sixty no one has died. Not by< shooting or knifing; not by garroting or defenestration; not by poisoning or dismembertment; not by electrocution or anything else. No car crashes or anything like that either.
And yet, inspite of all of this the book insists on being read.
Now if I had read tzhe cover notes at all, I'd have known that this was a climbing novel. Set mostly after WW I, the novel is a gripping novel about a (fictitous) ascent of Mount Everest. Not just the climb but also all the back-room manouvering about who is going to lead which climb; who will be the lead climber in the first ascent; who will be left behind at camp IV. The politics of raising money; of liasing with the climb sponsors; the chance of avalanche or a deadly fall; the soft snow and the ice; the solid rock that isn't; the challenge exhaustion of high altitude climbing that saps a body' energy. The loved ones that are left behind... out of touch. The number toes and fingers; the frostbite; the snow or wind that come up out of nowhere to challenge the climber.And of course, the constsnt danger of death.
If you read this, you might want to have an extra log ready for the fire.