This book, Thin Air by Michelle Paver, is in essence a ghost story in a mountaineering setting. It’s about an inter wars expedition who are attempting to climb Kangchenjunga. The proposed route is one used by a pre war expedition which ended in disaster. Two brothers are on the team, however they have very different personalities and approaches to the climb. Dr Stephen Pearce is a doctor and a late arrival to the team. His brother Kits has been involved in the attempt from the start and has been instrumental in getting his brother on the team. They come from a climbing background.
It’s apparent early on that the previous failed attempt to climb Kangchenjunga probably has something hidden about it. The new expedition intends to follow the old expeditions route. Porters and others are less than happy about that. The writing is easy to read and, for me, gives a feel of an early Himalaya expedition. The apparent “ghosts” of the Lyell expedition seem to lurk around this one. The atmosphere is well evoked by the writing even if it feels slightly simplistic at times. The main characters (including Cedric!) are well enough written and were credible to me. I’ve read other books non fiction on early expeditions. However I’m not certain if it is completely in keeping with the way an inter wars expedition would have been narrated. That said the author’s reading on the subject has been extensive so it is more likely that this issue is mine rather than the book. Ultimately the question is “Is there something about the previous expedition that has not been made public?”. Discover that for yourself in this largely entertaining book.
Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review