4.5 2
by Philip Kerr

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The world hovers on the brink of disaster as the nations of the Indian sub-continent rattle their nuclear sabres.  Meanwhile, high in the Himalayas, in an almost inaccessible mountain cave, a discovery is made which will change forever mankind's sense of itself.

Prompted by the find, a brilliant young American anthropologist leads her team to the Himalayas

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The world hovers on the brink of disaster as the nations of the Indian sub-continent rattle their nuclear sabres.  Meanwhile, high in the Himalayas, in an almost inaccessible mountain cave, a discovery is made which will change forever mankind's sense of itself.

Prompted by the find, a brilliant young American anthropologist leads her team to the Himalayas.  There she encounters a living link with humanity's origins: a tribe of man-like, ape-like beings, who, despite their placid nature, have inspired the legends of the Abominable Snowman.

Almost as soon as they are discovered, man's gentle cousins are in mortal danger of exploitation and perhaps extinction.  U.S. Security forces take a predatory interest in the valley which has sheltered the creatures for thousands of years.  Who will triumph in this riveting tale of international politics, deadly technology, heart-stopping adventure and simple humanity?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
British author Kerr follows The Grid with an accomplished hybrid of science and Spielberg, in which readers journey to a pristine, mystical locale high in the Himalayas. Jack Furness, America's greatest mountain climber, is the only survivor of an ill-fatedand illegalassault on Machhapuchhare, a huge peak considered holy by the Nepalese. He returns to the U.S. and presents his former lover, paleoanthropologist Stella Swift, with a hominoid skull he found in an ice cave on the mountain. The skull turns out to be not a fossil but the remains of a yetimore popularly known as an Abominable Snowman. Stella and Jack quickly assemble an expedition whose nominal purpose is fossil-finding on a neighboring mountain, but whose real purpose is to trap a yeti in order to advance both science and their own glory. What they don't know is that the Pentagon has an interest in this region as well, and has inserted a secret agent into the expedition. The daredevil feats of the mountaineers, the impossible cold and the endless miles of glacier and snow in the little-visited Annapurna Sanctuary make this novel a marvelous armchair travelogue, but it's far more: a complicated yet visceral thriller in which monsters, human and otherwise, roam the earth and hunt each other. Convincing scientific and technological detail will have readers believing easily in yetis and other wonders of the world's highest mountains; they will even forgive the unabashed sentimentality of the ending. Kerr manages his large cast of characters with a sure hand, while the plot gathers speed and power like a Himalayan avalanche. Rights (except electronic): A.P. Watt. (May)
Library Journal
During a climb on a Himalayan mountain, "rock jock" Jack Furness is propelled by an avalanche into a cave, where he finds a skull. His paleoanthropologist friend, Swift, soon determines that the skull belongs to neither man nor ape. Thus begins this riveting, well-written tale about a search for a new species. Like Michael Crichton, Kerr (The Grid, LJ 3/15/96) seamlessly incorporates cutting-edge science into his fiction, with fascinating results. Unlike Crichton, however, he doesn't rely on gimmicky plots and hollow characters. Esau is not without its faults: readers may have trouble keeping track of the many characters, and the ending has a New Age tint that clashes with the rest of the book. Still, this is an extraordinary, sophisticated thriller, and most libraries should have a copy. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/97.]-Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal"
Kirkus Reviews
An electrifying discovery in the high Himalayas sends a group of scientists—complete with the requisite bad apple—scurrying for traces of the missing link between ape and man.

Nonpareil mountaineer Jack Furness returns from an illegal and abortive climb of the forbidden mountain of Machhapuchhare without his friend Didier Lauren, killed in an avalanche, but with a consolation prize: a hominid skull like no other. In fact, as his lover, Berkeley biologist Stella Swift, gradually realizes, it seems to belong to a hitherto undiscovered species—and, according to the most advanced carbon-dating techniques, it's either been miraculously preserved in a glacier, or it's no fossil, but the skull of a creature only recently dead. Their imaginations fired by earlier climbers' tales of the fabled yeti, Jack and Swift work feverishly to put together funding for a return expedition, though they can't tell anyone their destination. Their application to the National Geographic Society is turned down, but then reversed by a last-minute financial intervention, supposedly by a new sponsor but actually by Uncle Sam. The CIA, which has its own strategic interest in the region, needs to insert an agent into Nepal without disturbing the fragile current truce between India and Pakistan—and without telling Jack and Swift. Not even the CIA knows until too late that their agent, code-named CASTORP, is a loose cannon willing to sacrifice anybody for the sake of a secret mission. So as Jack and Swift, together with their crew of scientists and Sherpas, head upcountry to the treacherous Machhapuchhare and the yeti's footprints, CASTORP prepares to execute his mission, and anyone who gets in its way.

Kerr, whose last thriller (The Grid, 1995) recalled Michael Crichton at his slickest, far outstrips his model in this mix of Himalaya derring-do with a breathtakingly well-informed command of mountain-climbing hardware, primate biology, and philosophical speculations on the riddles of evolution.

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Product Details

Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.29(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Acclaimed by Granta magazine as one of Britain's "Best Young Novelists", Philip Kerr is the author of The Berlin Trilogy, A Philosophical Investigation, Dead Meat, and The Grid.  Born in Edinburgh in 1956, he now lives in London.

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Esau 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very likable book. Kerr writes a very exciting and believable story dealing with an entity like the abominable snowman. It's easy to follow even with some technical jargon. Take thrill-seeking, paleoanthropology, a group of well-defined characters, and Yeti...mix them together, and you get an enjoyable read in 'Esau'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the only book by Kerr that I have read and it was fantastic. I thought I knew what to expect after reading the preview in the sleeve, but there was so much more to it. I love books about paleontology and this one is right up there. To make the story plausible requires the reader to take a leap of faith. Do it. It's worth it!!