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Ascent: A Novel

Ascent: A Novel

by Jeff Long

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The memory of a Wyoming climbing disaster 18 years earlier links two members of an expedition striving to conquer Mt. Everest. Long ( Angels of Light ) sets his second novel on the mountain's remote, virtually impassable Tibetan side, where a 12-person team challenging the (fictional) Kore Wall Route must cope with brutal Chinese occupation policies as well as the dangers of the climb itself. Daniel Corder is the expedition's de facto leader, while Abe Burns is the medic. Neither can afford to dwell on the past, but the disaster is never forgotten, leaving readers to wonder throughout how the tension will be resolved. Meanwhile, there's a moral dilemma concerning a Tibetan Buddhist monk who has escaped Chinese torture and who asks the team's succor. The author, himself an experienced climber, firmly establishes the obsessional aspects of high-altitude mountaineering and offers a superb depiction of the physical and psychological effects of ascending imperial heights. Techno-thriller fans will appreciate Long's detailed descriptions of modern high-tech climbing--from the use of specialized ropes to high-priced endorsements--and his frequent, effective use of military metaphors to emphasize the life-or-death nature of his characters' adventure. ( June )
Library Journal - Library Journal
The author of Angels of Light (Morrow, 1987) here turns to adventure set in the Himalayas, as a group of American mountaineers attempt to climb Mount Everest. The characters have diverse motivations and backgrounds, and conflicts between the Chinese government and Tibetan nationals provide interesting foils to the Americans' saga of courage and survival. Beneath the conventional plot lies an existentialist drama of human nature and individual responsibility for one's actions. As the expedition begins to unravel, Long describes in sometimes graphic detail medical problems, emergency surgery under appalling conditions, and the constant possibility of death. He reminds us that each person is the product of past choices. The provocative, by no means conventionally happy ending will have readers debating whether the expedition's final acts were courageous and responsible or merely inevitable. Highly recommended for all libraries.-- Stanley Planton, Ohio Univ.- Chillicothe Lib.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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1st ed

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