The Ascent: A Novel of Survival

by Ronald Malfi | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 1605420670 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 8/4/2018
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, August 04, 2018
I got this ex-library hardcover from Better World Books. (It was also issued as The Canyon of Souls, a more accurate title.) I liked the idea of an unusual quest into the mountains of Nepal - not the summit of Everest this time, but a journey to a legendary location: the Canyon of Souls, supposedly never reached by outsiders. The main character is a burned-out sculptor whose inability to move on after the breakup of his marriage and the subsequent death of his estranged wife almost caused his own death in a caving accident, but - with the aid of a mystical vision of his wife - he manages to survive that. He's still thrashing, though, and when an old acquaintance contacts him with an invitation to the expedition to the Canyon of Souls, he lets himself be persuaded.

He finds that he's not the only member of the team, but it takes a while before he learns why the others are there. In between passages about the difficulties of the trek, there are flashbacks to his earlier life and the breakup of his marriage, which don't cast him in a very good light. (Why the spirit/duplicate/avatar of his late wife continues to guide him isn't clear, though if it's all in his mind it would explain a lot!)

There's more to the story, though: members of the expedition start to fall, one by one, apparently due to health issues or lack of preparation or unlucky accident, but gradually it appears that someone's deliberately trying to kill them. Once this part of the plot kicked in I admit I rather lost interest; I liked the idea of the mysterious trek more than the incredibly-convoluted - and not very well-motivated - revenge-plan. The resolution to all this was OK, I guess, and there were some good scenes of desperate situations, Himalayan ice-falls, and all-too-human troubles, but I didn't find the big reveal very satisfying.

Released 5 mos ago (8/20/2018 UTC) at Little Free Library, 607 Chestnut St in Manchester, New Hampshire USA

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I left this book in the Little Free Library; hope someone enjoys it!

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