Thursday, 20 October 2016

Thin Air by Michelle Paver

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 288
Publisher: Orion 
Released: 6th of October 2016 

In 1935, young medic Stephen Pearce travels to India to join an expedition with his brother, Kits. The elite team of five will climb Kangchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain and one of mountaineering's biggest killers. No one has scaled it before, and they are, quite literally, following in the footsteps of one of the most famous mountain disasters of all time - the 1907 Lyell Expedition.

Five men lost their lives back then, overcome by the atrocious weather, misfortune and 'mountain sickness' at such high altitudes. Lyell became a classic British hero when he published his memoir, Bloody, But Unbowed, which regaled his heroism in the face of extreme odds. It is this book that will guide this new group to get to the very top.

As the team prepare for the epic climb, Pearce's unease about the expedition deepens. The only other survivor of the 1907 expedition, Charles Tennant, warns him off. He hints of dark things ahead and tells Pearce that, while five men lost their lives on the mountain, only four were laid to rest.

But Pearce is determined to go ahead and complete something that he has dreamed of his entire life. As they get higher and higher, and the oxygen levels drop, he starts to see dark things out of the corners of his eyes. As macabre mementoes of the earlier climbers turn up on the trail, Stephen starts to suspect that Charles Lyell's account of the tragedy was perhaps not the full story... 

What I Have To Say 

This book terrified the life out of me. I really need to stop reading ghost stories, especially when I'm doing most of my reading at night with all the lights out, but when they come from one of my favourite authors, how can I resist? 

Mountaineering is not something I'm interested in, so I wasn't sure whether it would take me some time to get into this book. But I should have trusted Michelle Paver more, because she made even the many technical parts of the book thrilling and a joy to read. The   actual mechanics of mountain climbing were woven in by the superstitions and culture of the native people to give enough foreshadowing to take the reader smoothly to the main action of the plot. 

And the ghostly happens on the mountain themselves were worth the build up. As I said, they were terrifying. The mountain itself and the loneliness and isolation that was described in the book due to the atmosphere and the snow added to this and made it the perfect setting. 

My thanks go to Orion and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review. 

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