Book Review - Paths of Glory
As I pored through the latest piece of work coming from the desktop of Jeffery Archer, I couldnt miss the cheekily marked in red oneliner on the black cover back of his latest novel - ‘This is the story of a man who loved two women in his life and one of them killed him’. Before you make the same mistake I did which is dismissing this novel as another of those banal ‘love stories with a twist’ tale, you must be warned of a refreshingly pleasant surprise in the waiting.
‘Paths of Glory’ is the story of a man who knew no fear and literally reached the top of the world only to discover life’s truest joys come from its humble offerings. Living up to its name, Archer leads us to paths of several glorious moments in the adventure ridden life of Mallory. While the prologue peaks into the discovery of Mallory’s body in 1999, it thereafter builds an unstoppable pace chronicling the journey of Mallory right from his toddler years to his fateful but nonetheless glorious end. It has all the charms of the yesteryear adventure classic tales of a Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn or a Robinson Crusoe as much as the verve of its contemporary counterparts
A la Da Vinci Code, the book spurs an uncanny interest in the many debates amongst the climbing fraternity over Mallory’s conquest of the Everest. Taking the trodden path of the controversial, the book makes no bones in proclaiming that George Mallory was the first man to have reached the top of the world literally – the magnificent Mount Everest.
Yet unlike its controversial historical predecessor novel, it cleverly takes on a diametrically opposite standpoint. At its very core heart, ‘Paths of Glory’ is essentially a love story – a love so pure that Archer chose to retain its essence. Archer cuts all the frills and thrills and yet dishes out a highly gripping tale. One can’t help but be enchantingly transported into Mallory’s life. Feeling every bit his unabashed love for the mountains as much as his maddening passion for his ladylove Ruth, one can’t help the quintessential feeling of being in Mallory’s tall shoes, reliving every adventurous cape he conquered and devoured before bowing down gracefully to the insurmountable Chomolungma.
Simple, uncomplicated and vivid is what best describes this fare. In a nutshell, ‘Paths of Glory’ is akin to a delectable cheesecake which melts magically into your mouth the minute you savor it.
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