Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A book adeptly written in a gripping flow, Jeffrey Archer's 'Paths Of Glory' might not be a true mirror of historic reality but it does manage to arouse a reader's curiosity about its subject which is 'George Mallory', a legendary mountaineer who is considered by many as the first ascendant of Mt. Everest.
The book follows the life of its character very closely right from his childhood, schooling, his college adventures to his adult maneuvers. An adventurous mountaineering drama, the book gives a good glimpse into early British life, conventions and the gradual emergence of mountaineering as a sport that lured many high-spirited enthusiasts giving way to the RGS(Royal Geographical Society) taking the initiative and launching world's first attempt at conquering the world's highest peak of Mt. Everest whom the protagonist calls his love.
The book's tagline 'He loved two women and one of them killed him' rightly describes George who loved both his wife and Everest unconditionally. Author portrays Mallory as a connoisseur of mountaineering whose art and talent were evident to his peers throughout his life and who have no doubt that Mallory conquered the summit before plunging into the darkness and coldness of death.
The book also softly describes the social side of Mallory who is not only a faithful and compassionate friend but also a passionate lover and husband and a loving dutiful father. He writes letters to his wife every day during his terms as a soldier in the World War and his voyages to conquer Everest. The letters pour out Mallory's infinite love for his wife with whom he wished to spend every moment of the rest of his life.
However destiny plays a gamble and the daring mountaineer has to do away with his life during his final conquest. What is left behind is his legacy as a disciplined and devoted mountaineer who became an inspiration for the future generations.
The book projects Mr. George Mallory in a highly inspiring light and pays tribute to his life which might have been short but definitely left a huge impact on this world. But will his name ever be included in the list of heroes? That still remains a question.
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