In 1924, British mountaineer George Mallory and his climbing partner, Sandy Irvine, were last seen climbing into a fog bank as they made their attempt to summit Mount Everest. Mallory’s body was positively identified in 1999, but so far, there is no conclusive proof of the location of Irvine. This book is a fictionalized biography of George Mallory, which is a huge literary variation from Archer’s usual type of novel.
I was mesmerized along with the rest of the world when the discovery of Mallory’s body was made public. I had heard of him, of course, but did not spend a lot of time trying to learn more. Archer focuses his book on Mallory’s innate climbing skills, his sincere affection for his wife and children, and his obsession with Mount Everest. He takes a little literary license with some of the facts (Mallory made three trips to Everest; Archer has him take two — things like that), but from what I can read in other sources, he covers the major points rather well.
His version of what happens to Mallory and Irvine after fading from the view of the other climbers is a very well-written piece of speculation, and in my opinion, worth the effort to get there.
Longtime Archer fans will wonder what this is all about (no suspense, no high finance, no real drama), but as a general piece of historical fiction, it is a worthwhile read.
Addendum: Lord Archer writes about why he wrote this book in Heaven: A Prison Diary, Volume 3.
Rated: Moderate. Two f-words, a handful of inappropriate usages of name of Deity, and just over 20 uses of a mild term.