Paths of Glory
Another great book by the great storyteller. By the time I hadn’t read any of his books, calling him the Best Contemporary English writer seemed like a overstatement, but since the day I got hooked to his writing, This title seems like a understatement. He is one of the best novel writers ever. Now the review of the book.
Some people have dreams that are so magnificient that if they were to achieve them, their place in history would be guaranteed. People like Christopher Columbus, Isaac Newton, Edmund Hilary and Neil Armstrong-their unparalleled success has made their stories into legend.
But what if a man had such a dream, and once he achieves it, there is no proof that he has fulfilled his dream? What happens to his story then?
Sir Jeffrey Archers novel, Paths of Glory, is the fictionalized account of such a man-George Mallory. A mountaineer who tried to conquer Mount Everest in 1924 but nobody knows tll date whether he succeeded in his attempt or not as he and his partner died during that attempt. Many people believe that he died on his way up to the peak of mount Everest, but Archer believes otherwise. He believes him to be the first man ever to scale the Mount Everest.
This book opens with the discovery of Mallory’s body on the mountain so that there is no mystery regarding the fate of the hero but his feats only. Archer builds our confidence in Mallory by depicting him as a man of special skills who lives only for scaling higher and higher heights. He even woos his wife by scaling a tower. He is a man who knows no fears. Archer depicts him as a man who never fails at anything he sets his heart at.
Until you’ve read the last page of Archer’s great novel, you will not be able to decide whether George Mallory’s name should be added to the list of legends. Did he create history? Was the history we read in school the correct one, or it needs to be corrected or reviewed?
A newspaper in New Zealand called this book ‘an insult to Sir Edmund Hilary’. But keeping the controversies and mysteries aside, this book is a compulsive read. I read this book when I was between jobs and wanted to take things slow. Had planned on reading just one or two chapters a day but this book is such a compulsive read that I just had to finish it in one sitting. Archer knows how to present his characters to ensure that the reader feels awed by them. He knows when and how to end a chapter to make sure that the reader starts the next chapter without any interval in between. Like all books by Archer, this one also is a quick, entertaining and thrilling read. Obviously its no Kane & Abel, But one of his great books. That it is inspired by a true story only increases its attraction.
On a scale of 1-5, I would give it a 4.