Mount Everest, top of the world! About a year ago while browsing through titles on Netflix (one of the greatest things ever by the way) I came across a television show called Everest: Beyond the Limit by the Discovery Channel. This series documented expeditions attempting to summit Mount Everest. As an avid hiker, I was instantly hooked and became fascinated with the mountain. Ever since then I have been reading everything and anything concerning Mount Everest. Of course, the only items available have been non-fiction and I found myself wondering if anyone would ever write a fictional novel taking place on Everest. Lo and behold, I just came across a novel that does just that and let me tell you, the novel is good, right good.
Dan Simmons’ Abominable is a story that follows the disappearance of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine. For those of you who are unfamiliar with those names, Mallory and Irvine both disappeared while attempting to summit Mount Everest during an expedition in 1924. Simmons’ story also tells of two gentlemen, one being a young lord Percival Bromley, disappearing on the mountain immediately after the Mallory expedition. The circumstances surrounding Bromley even being at Everest and his suspected demise are very mysterious. The novel narrates in first person of a group of three mountaineering companions who begin a quest to retrieve young Bromley’s remains from Everest (with the backing of his mother) and who also plan to become the first expedition to conquer the unconquerable: summiting Mount Everest.
I love Dan Simmons books (especially The Terror and Drood) and this novel proved no different. While the novel can be very technical at times, Simmons describes mountain climbing and mountain terrain wonderfully. You can imagine just what it’s like to be up there, battling the mountain and the elements and in my case, the reason why I would refrain from ever putting myself in these precarious positions (I’ll be sticking to hiking terrain where the only danger is an untied showlace or a low battery on my Iphone, thank you very much).
PS. For those wishing to try this book out, I suggest also Googling a map of Everest and it’s camps along the way to the summit. This will prove invaluable as you read along with the expedition. Derek