A Compelling Story With A Great Atmosphere
4 out of 5 stars
I’ll admit that I selected this title not because of the summary, but because of the first glance at the cover. The lone mountaineer traipsing upward against the snowy mountain with splashes of blood behind him. It immediately caught my eye and made me ask questions like: “Whose blood is this?”
“Is it their blood because they are hurt?
“Is it someone else’s blood that they hurt?”
“Is it symbolic of some greater violence?”
If anyone says they don’t let the cover of a book sway them when making a selection, I say they are only lying to themselves. A cover can do so much in the way of making an introduction. It gives a sense of what’s within, or in my case for this title, a list of questions I’d like answered.
The summary for Summit did little to answer my questions but did give me enough interest to go ahead with my purchase. It told of a secret mission by the German’s in 1938 to Everest that weaves into a modern story of a 9-time ascender of the lofty mountain. Lies, betrayal, murder, and espionage are the hallmarks of the summary and now I’m hooked.
The story flows back-and-forth through time, between 1938 and modern day, with the former providing exposition to discoveries of the latter. The way Farthing weaves this is truly impressive. We are walking with Neil Quinn, a veteran ascender, as he becomes a part of a coverup in the death of a millionaire’s son on the summit. Along the way down he finds an incredibly old ice ax and so begins the weaving of the story of Germany’s best climber and the Nazi race to beat the English to the summit of Everest. For every question raised in the modern world, we’re given a bit more in the historical one to find an answer. This goes all the way to the end of the story and an alternative understanding of the history of the first summit.
Overall, compelling story with great atmosphere and well-defined main characters. The only stumbling blocks are in the nearly over exaggerated antagonist’s characterization and their interactions with Quinn. It becomes a little tiresome after a while to have his “evilness” reinforced.
The author provides the narration which did give the story a bit more warmth than I think would have been there if another narrator read it. The intonations of speech, the pace of exposition, and the voice felt more authentic to the story because they were provided by the one who created them. It might not have been as enjoyable a listen had it been otherwise, which is an indication of the story itself and its accessibility.
Summit by Harry Farthing
Narrator: Harry Farthing
Length: 17 hrs and 38 mins
Published by Blackstone Audio on June 14th 2016
Genres: Adventure, Suspense
In the autumn of 1938, Germany's reichsführer, Heinrich Himmler, is growing frustrated at the British using their regional power in India to block the passage of an SS expedition to Tibet. Determined to spite them, he plots to steal something the British hold dear and have failed for the seventh time that spring to achieve: a first summit of Mount Everest.
Seventy years later, seasoned mountain guide Neil Quinn's ninth visit to the top of the world's highest mountain, this time in charge of the 16-year-old son of a Long Island billionaire, begins to unravel. As a desperate fight for their lives begins in the freezing air high above Tibet, Quinn stumbles across a clue to a story that challenges everything he thinks he knows about the great mountain.
When the bitter aftermath of Quinn's disastrous climb turns to violent tragedy in Kathmandu, his discovery pushes him into a relentless journey that takes him from the dangerous heights of Everest to the equally treacherous margins of a new Europe, where history hungers to repeat itself.
Amid a rich and diverse cast of characters, all with their own reasons to possess the mystery of his discovery, Neil Quinn has to fight, increasingly desperately, for order and the truth.
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