Paths of Glory
  • Paths of Glory
  • Paths of Glory

Paths of Glory

4.0 50
by Jeffrey Archer, Roger Allam

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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

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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 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

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.
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

Los Angeles Times

One of the top ten storytellers in the world.
Larry King

There isn't a better story-teller alive.
The Boston Globe

Archer plots with skill, and keeps you turning the pages.
The New York Times

Cunning plots, silken style…. Archer plays a cat-and-mouse game with the reader.

Archer is a master entertainer.
Washington Post

A storyteller in the class of Alexandre Dumas…unsurpassed skill.

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Product Details

Macmillan Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.50(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

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