Paths of Glory
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Paths of Glory

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by Jeffrey Archer

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Some people have dreams that are so magnificent that if they were to achieve them, their place in history would be guaranteed. But what if one man had such a dream…and once he'd fulfilled it, there was no proof that he had achieved his ambition?

This is the story of such a man: George Mallory. He once told an American reporter that he wanted to climb


Some people have dreams that are so magnificent that if they were to achieve them, their place in history would be guaranteed. But what if one man had such a dream…and once he'd fulfilled it, there was no proof that he had achieved his ambition?

This is the story of such a man: George Mallory. He once told an American reporter that he wanted to climb Mt. Everest "because it's there." On his third attempt in 1924, at age thirty-seven, he was last seen six hundred feet from the top. His body was found in 1999. And it still remains a mystery whether he ever reached the summit

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“One of the top ten storytellers in the world.” —Los Angeles Times

“There isn't a better story-teller alive.” —Larry King

“Archer plots with skill, and keeps you turning the pages.” —The Boston Globe

“Cunning plots, silken style…. Archer plays a cat-and-mouse game with the reader.” —The New York Times

“Archer is a master entertainer.” —Time

“A storyteller in the class of Alexandre Dumas…unsurpassed skill.” —Washington Post

Jeffrey Archer's novel is based on the British mountaineer who uttered the most famous words in climbing history: when asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, George Mallory (1886-1924) answered simply, "Because it's there." This Cambridge graduate was just 37 when he died in his third attempt to scale that elusive summit. Seventy-five years passed before his body was recovered. Paths of Glory invites you to accompany Mallory as he moves from hobnobbing with the Bloomsbury group to ascending Asia's most forbidding peak. A bracing armchair adventure.
Publishers Weekly

Veteran actor Roger Allam brings an impressive range and energy to Archer's historical novel. The tale finds its inspiration in the real-life mystery surrounding adventurer George Mallory, who may-or may not-have reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1924 before perishing in the ice and snow. Allam's remarkable accents are the highlight of the audio book, especially in his brief but highly memorable turn as a colorful American agent who organizes a rather exploitative and ethically dubious publicity tour for Mallory. Allam also shines in his portrayal of Mallory's devoted wife, Ruth, who chooses to mask her doubts and fears in order to support her husband's lifelong dream of climbing to the highest point on the planet. Admittedly, Archer's text offers a hero who would rather explore mountains than the depths of moral or psychological complexity, but Allam's performance renders the listening experience entertaining. A St. Martin's hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 5). (Mar.)

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Library Journal

In 1984 Thompson-Cannino was raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment. In a lineup, she "picked" Ronald Cotton as the person responsible, but the real rapist, Bobby Poole, who resembled Cotton, was not in that line. Eleven years later Cotton was cleared by DNA evidence and Poole was convicted. Thompson-Cannino, who had been sure of her original identification, was overcome with grief, and this book is her mea culpa for her mistake. Divided into three parts-the author's story, Cotton's story, and the story of the meeting and eventual friendship between the two-this easy-to-read book is often touching as Thompson-Cannino challenges our ideas of memory and judgment, and as Cotton talks about his faith and forgiveness. Although it does not offer a lot that is new in the annals of crime and punishment, it does offer the reader a different perspective. An asset to any crime collection.
—Frances Sandiford

Kirkus Reviews
Fictionalized account of the mountain climber who may or may not have been the first man to conquer Everest. George Mallory (1886-1924) was an Englishman very much of his time: a history teacher who enlisted in the Great War when two of his pupils were reported killed, a faithful husband to his devoted wife Ruth, a team member loyal to his mates despite their personal failings. What set him apart were his utter fearlessness and his extraordinary gift for climbing. When he vanished with fellow climber Andrew Irvine during a 1924 assault on Everest, some 30 years before Sir Edmund Hillary's successful ascent, a rapt public was divided over whether he'd reached the peak before his presumed death, a controversy the discovery of his frozen body in 1999 did nothing to resolve. Archer (Prisoner of Birth, 2008, etc.) turns Mallory's life into the tale of an unimpeachably good and heroic man. His most interesting battles aren't with the elements, but with petty bureaucrats who scheme against George Finch, the caddish but accomplished Australian climber Mallory wants as his partner, and with himself, torn between his responsibilities to his long-suffering wife back home and his desire to climb Everest "because it is there." Mountaineering technocrats can look elsewhere: The mountaineering sequences are marred by Archer's apparent ignorance of the mechanics of climbing, reduced here to the debate about whether it's cheating to use bottled oxygen. Nor are the characters especially compelling, since the author seems to feel no need to flesh out real-life figures. A bland yarn in the Boys' Own Adventure mold about an old-fashioned hero from the days when the Empire demanded nothing less.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt


St. Bees, Cumbria, Tuesday, July 19th, 1892

If you had asked George why he’d begun walking toward the rock, he wouldn’t have been able to tell you. The fact that he had to wade into the sea to reach his goal didn’t appear to concern him, even though he couldn’t swim.

Only one person on the beach that morning showed the slightest interest in the six-year-old boy’s progress. The Reverend Leigh Mallory folded his copy of The Times and placed it on the sand at his feet. He didn’t alert his wife, who was lying on the deckchair beside .shine, oblivious to any danger their eldest son might be facing. He knew that Annie would only panic, the way she had when the boy had climbed onto the roof of the village hall during a meeting of the Mothers’ Union.

The Reverend Mallory quickly checked on his other three children, who were playing contentedly by the water’s edge, unconcerned with their brother’s fate. Avie and Mary were happily collecting seashells that had been swept in on the morning tide, while their younger brother Trafford was concentrating on filling a small tin bucket with sand. Mallory’s attention re.lutely toward the rock. He was not yet worried, surely


the boy would eventually realize he had to turn back. But he rose from his deckchair once the waves began to cover the boy’s knee breeches.

Although George was now almost out of his depth, the moment he reached the jagged outcrop he deftly pulled himself out of the sea and leaped from rock to .self, and stared out toward the horizon. Although his favorite subject at school was history, clearly no one had told him about King Canute.

His father was now watching with some trepidation as the waves surged carelessly around the rocks. He waited patiently for the boy to become aware of the danger he was in, when he would surely turn and ask for help. He didn’t. When the first spray of foam touched the boy’s toes, the Reverend Mallory walked slowly .mured as he passed his youngest, who was now intently building a sandcastle. But his eyes never left his eldest son, who still hadn’t looked back, even though the .end Mallory plunged into the sea and started to swim .tary breaststroke he became more aware that it was much further away than he had realized.

He finally reached his goal, and pulled himself onto the rock. As he clambered awkwardly to the top he cut his legs in several places, showing none of the surefootedness his son had earlier displayed. Once he’d joined the boy, he tried not to reveal that he was out of breath and in some considerable discomfort.

.serve his wife, standing at the water’s edge, shouting desperately, “George! George!”

“Perhaps we should be making our way back, my boy,” suggested the Reverend Mallory, trying not to sound at all concerned. “We don’t want to worry your mother, do we?”

“Just a few more moments, Papa,” begged George, who continued to stare resolutely out to sea. But his father decided they couldn’t wait any longer, and pulled his son gently off the rock.

It took the two of them considerably longer to reach .dling his son in his arms, had to swim on his back, only able to use his legs to assist him. It was the first time George became aware that return journeys can take far longer.

When George’s father finally collapsed on the beach, George’s mother rushed across to join them. She fell on .ing, “Thank God, thank God,” while showing scant interest in her exhausted husband. George’s two sisters .etly sobbing, while his younger brother continued to build his fortress, far too young for any thoughts of death to have crossed his mind.

The Reverend Mallory eventually sat up and stared at his eldest son, who was once again looking out to sea although the rock was no longer in sight. He accepted .cept of fear, no sense of risk.

Excerpted from Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer.

Copyright © 2009 by Jeffrey Archer.

Published in December 2009 by St. Martin's Press.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and

reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in

any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Archer was educated at Oxford University. He has served five years in Britain's House of Commons and fourteen years in the House of Lords. All of his novels and short story collections--including And Thereby Hangs a Tale, Kane and Abel, and False Impression--have been international bestselling books. Archer is married with two sons and lives in London and Cambridge.

Brief Biography

London and the Old Vicarage, Grantchester
Date of Birth:
April 15, 1940
Attended Brasenose College, Oxford, 1963-66. Received a diploma in sports education from Oxford Institute

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Paths of Glory 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
CC37 More than 1 year ago
Can't say it's a thriller but once you start it you can't put it down. It's about a man's obsession to climb Mount Everest. At first I thought it was fiction but later found out it was a true story. Have loaned this book to three friends all of whom sat up all night because they couldn't put it down. Jeffrey Archer at his best again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most enjoyable book I've read in a long time.
bellan More than 1 year ago
The style is of course as classy and fluent to read as always.
Hannah33 More than 1 year ago
Normally, I much prefer to lose myself in a compelling work of fiction. Since I had read and appreciated some of Archer's other works, I thought I would give this one a chance. I was delighted almost from start to finish. The story recounts, in novel fashion, the life of George Mallory and his attempts to "conquor" Mt. Everest. It allows the reader to really get in to the feel of the character and times. And it revisits the mystery of Mallory's final attempt - did he perish mere feet from the summit? Or was he truly the first person to reach the summit, only to perish on the way down? You decide. . .
JFK More than 1 year ago
Jeffrey Archer normally weaves great tales from the mundane in a clever and thrilling way. While this is a decent read - interesting enough to finish the book - it lacks the originality and plot twists that make most of his other books so fast-paced and fascinating.
Judyloan More than 1 year ago
I loved the book. I now think that almost certainly George Mallory was the first to stand on the top of Everest. Too bad there's no definitive proof. Judyloan
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I found a hard copy of this book at work and it caught my attention. I was a great read! The way Mr. Archer writes was spectacular and refreshing to me. I felt like I was the with George  Mallory climbing Mt Everest.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing story of one man's obsession with climbing Mt Everest, no matter what the personal loss. As always with Archer's books, you can't stop reading until the end. Wonderful!!!
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The Love Story and the history transcends the decades; it was suspensfull, movings and importantly it was accurate.
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Jeffrey Archer's Paths of Glory is an enthralling and captivating tale of the adventures of a man seeking to reach his goals. This book follows the life of George Mallory, one of the men who aspired to be the first person on top of Mt. Everest. The most interesting part is that nobody knows if he ever made it to the top. George Mallory worked his whole life trying to achieve this dream, but unfortunately died in his final attempt. Archer does an excellent job of drawing the reader into the life of George Mallory. From his school days, to his wedding, to his final endeavor at Everest, Archer captivates you in Mallory's world. Beginning when Mallory was a young boy, he showed a love for adventure that continued to grow as he got older. After conquering every challenge he faced up to that point, he decided to push himself even further and attempt to climb the tallest mountain in the world. His desire to climb this mountain was affirmed even more when he saw Everest for the first time: "George was lost for words. He stared up at the highest mountain in the world. Everest's radiant summit dominated the skyline, making the other peaks of the mighty Himalaya look like a kindergarten playground." Mallory attempted this challenge in 1924 and never made it home. It is unknown whether he died on the way up to the summit, or if he made it to the top and died during his descent. Sadly, he was survived by his wife and three young children. This isn't a biography of Mallory's life, but more a fictionalization. Archer takes the facts collected from different journals and then fills in the gaps of Mallory's history. If you are looking for the happy love story ending, "and they all lived happily ever after," this might not be the book for you. Even though the tragic ending is known before the book has even been started, it's still an exciting page-turner. I truly enjoyed reading this book and being able to learn about the time period and what challenges Mallory faced. Did George Mallory make it to the top of Mt. Everest? The real ending is not known, but if you are curious, you will have to read the book and decide for yourself.
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