Paths Of Glory by Jeffrey Archer: A review

“Exciting and thrilling, this book is a must read!/ A book to add to your list of ‘must reads’”

– Amrutha Varshini

Jeffrey Archer does it again. The master of fiction delivers an extraordinary and gripping tale of the life and times of mountaineer, George Mallory in his new book, Paths of glory. It is while reading books like these that we are reminded why Archer is considered one of the greatest story teller of our time and is considered on par with the likes of Somerset Maugham and Martin Amis.

All of us have dreams but only few dare to dream of the unthinkable and strive to achieve it.

Paths of glory’ is the story of one such man, George Mallory and his attempt to climb the Mount Everest in 1924. It is a semi-historic novel about Mallory and goes on to describe the events starting from his childhood and ending in his journey through uncharted land seeking his paths of glory. Archer takes the reader on an enthralling journey through the real life events of the protagonist each of which builds up to his ultimate dream, to be the first Englishman to stand on top of the world.

While Mallory’s pursuit of his dream clearly is at the heart of the story, we are also given a profound insight into his personal life and his unconditional love for his wife, Ruth. Take for example, the part where Mallory falls in love with Ruth and follows her to Venice or the scene where he argues with the Selection committee and demands them to choose an Australian chemist, George Finch to be a part of the climbing team against the bureaucracy. It is incidents like these that make him extremely appealing to the readers like all other Archer’s heroes.

Though the story is based on real life events, Archer magically transforms a non-fiction into an extremely intriguing page turner that leaves the reader craving for more. Only after you have read the very last page will you be able to decide if George Mallory deserves a place in the long list of legends or not. The book was also in the centre of controversy in New Zealand because Archer claims George Mallory was the first to conquer the Everest as opposed to Sir Edmund Hillary and was called an insult to Sir Edmund Hillary. Is Mallory truly the first human to conquer the great peak? Well, you will have to read the book to find that out.

The story does have its pit falls, clichéd moments and seems redundant at times but those can be overlooked in view of the overall narration. Paths of glory is definitely a must read and deserves a place in your “best collection”. You would be missing out on a great work if you don’t read this one.

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