At a time when no Westerner has seen the holy city of Lhasa or met the Dalai Lama, French explorer Gabriel Bonvalot vows to do the impossible: he launches his own expedition to the Roof of the World with funding from the Duke of Chartres. The only caveat is that Bonvalot must bring along the Duke's wayward son, Prince Henri d'Orléans, a drinker, gambler, and womanizer whose reckless behavior threatens to derail the entire expedition. During the journey, the explorers encounter freezing temperatures, volatile winds, mountain sickness, bandits, duplicitous Chinese Ambans, and a beguiling Tibetan Buddhist princess with a deadly secret. Held as prisoners at 16,000 feet and surrounded by an army of Tibetan soldiers, the explorers find themselves in a desperate fight for survival.
RACE TO TIBET is a thrilling tale of high-altitude adventure and survival set in the world's most forbidden country. Perfect for fans of Jules Verne, and H. Rider Haggard.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.76(d)|
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Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite Race to Tibet by Sophie Schiller is a thrilling adventure novel based on a factual expedition to Tibet. Race to Tibet is about an expedition launched by French explorer Gabriel Bonvalot into the heart of Tibet where few westerners had ventured before. Accompanying him is the young son of the Duke of Chartres, who is the sponsor and financial backer of the expedition. The story starts with an introduction to the Duke and the latest trouble that his son, Henri, has gotten himself into. Henri is the proverbial black sheep of the family and the Duke decides to send him far away from Paris to keep him out of trouble. What follows is an exciting expedition to the Roof of the World that takes us into the high plateau lands of Tibet, battling severe weather, encounters with bandits, being trapped in the midst of a battle, meeting a Tibetan princess, all set against the backdrop of the mysterious country of Tibet and some of its little known Buddhist practices. Race to Tibet by Sophie Schiller is a great travel book, especially for readers interested in the East and the spiritual and mystical aspect of countries such as Tibet set in the Himalayas. While reading this book, I found myself transported to the high altitude plains among the Lamas, which is a testament to Sophie’s skill as a writer to paint a vivid picture of the landscapes. I also enjoyed the fact that this story was inspired by real events and people and it certainly was an interesting period in history. The novel moves along at a good pace and the characters and events are well represented, making for an exciting read. This is a great adventure novel with elements of action and romance that I would recommend to all readers, and especially those interested in Tibet or travel books in general.
My earliest memory of Tibet is probably reading Tintin in Tibet and years later I saw Seven Years in Tibet. So when I saw this book I just knew that I had to read it. Tibet is a country that iI find fascinating and I would love to visit it someday. But for now I will be content my reading books about it. The French explorer Gabriel Bonvalot sets as goal in this book to be the first European person to visit Lhasa, the forbidden city in Tibet. Travelling with Bonvalot is also Prince Henri d'Orléans, whose father wants him gone from the country for a year since Henri has once again got his name in the newspaper, in a bad way. Along the way Camille Dancourt joins the group. She is travelling to Tibet to search for her husband who went missing there. Bonvalot didn't want her to travel with them from the beginning, but she was quite determined to go there with or without him. So in the end he yields. This will be adventurous journey, filled with dangerous but also memorable encounters and experiences. One thing that I thought about reading this book that I really never thought so much about before (I think) is how obnoxious we Europeans are when it comes to other people that have a different culture then we have. I feel that Bonvalot journey is very much like a small invasion in Tibet. Bonvalot wants to be the first European to visit Lhasa no matter what the people in Tibet feels about it and he will do anything to get there, for instance bribing people. Also, no one was willing to sell a horse to them so they stole one. How wrong isn't that? But they were quite desperate, it's a hard country and no matter how prepared they were, it still didn't go so well. But I still felt quite often that forcing their way into the country was wrong. Sophie Schiller has written an interesting book. Even through I sometimes felt annoyance with the Europeans superior attitude I still wanted to know if they would get to Lhasa and would Camille find her husband? The only drawback for me was that even though the book was good it wasn't a great read. There was something missing for me. It can be that I really didn't connect with the characters. But I liked reading it and I would recommend it. Also, I wish there were maps in the book that showed the way they traveled.
Publisher Weekly stole a little bit of my thunder yesterday for my review today of the historical fiction novel Race to Tibet, as they compared it as similar to reading a Jules Verne adventure. That’s what I was going to say! Great minds think alike. But that’s okay, I have more to say! It’s an endeavor so grand, you’d think it wasn’t based in real life Victorian era history, but rather more a screenplay for an epic drama or a classic novel from the golden age of world exploration. The characters were larger than life, intricate and interesting, and the enterprise suspenseful, dramatic, and scenic. Schiller writes in a descriptive manner, with sentences that flow in a fluid and at a good pace. Not only did I enjoy myself upon reading this, but I learned quite a bit also about these true historical characters and the times and places. I had not known of the French interest in exploring Central Asia. I always find it interesting to learn about various types of explorers, so being introduced to a new authentic explorer in Gabriel Bonvalot perked my interest. In the time of the late 1800s, which is the setting of the book,Tibet has still been untraveled and Bonvalot wishes to “breach her walls of isolation.” Though at the time this kind of travel was expensive, dangerous, harsh, and risky, leaving Bonvalot in need of money. Luckily, the Duke of Chartres agrees to fund it if Bonvalot would take along his misbehaving son, Prince Henri d’Orléans. The two of them, along with the lovely Camille Dancourt of whom they’ve picked up along the way, revel in action and feats that would outweigh the performance of any explorer today! And all with such etiquette and class. These are characters that Agatha Christie might construct such as in the Murder of the Orient Express (though it’s not a murder mystery) or Stefan Zweig (The Grand Budapest Hotel was derived from his work). Maybe it would make a great movie in the vein of Lawrence of Arabia, yet with horrid weather, mountain climbing, and the risk of not surviving. I’m sure Brad Pitt would visit Tibet again to be in the starring role. It’s an entertaining book to read, yet has great depth and fortitude as the reader watches these characters grow, develop, struggle, and learn about themselves and their surroundings. I don’t want to give the ending away, but it was so shocking and thought-provoking. The historical notes on the authentic individuals were quite thrilling too, as well as the author’s note on how she came to write this particular novel! A historical account of survival and awakening of Victorian explorers who risk it all to venture into a country that’s veiled in secrets and spirituality. Race to Tibet is an epic historical adventure that’s highly recommended!