A thrilling tale of high-altitude death and survival set on the snowy summits of Mount Everest, from the best-selling author of The Terror.
The year is 1924 and the race to summit the world's highest mountain has been brought to a terrified pause by the shocking disappearance of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine, high on the shoulder of Mt. Everest. By the following year, three climbers - a British poet and veteran of the Great War, a young French Chamonix guide, and an idealistic young American - find a way to take their shot at the top. They arrange funding from the grieving Lady Bromley, whose son also disappeared on Mt. Everest in 1924. Young Bromley must be dead, but his mother refuses to believe it and pays the trio to bring him home.
Deep in Tibet and high on Everest, the three climbers - joined by the missing boy's female cousin - find themselves being pursued through the night by someone…or something. This nightmare becomes a matter of life and death at 28,000 feet - but what is pursuing them? And what is the truth behind the 1924 disappearances on Everest? As they fight their way to the top of the world, the friends uncover a secret far more abominable than any mythical creature could ever be. A pulse-pounding story of adventure and suspense, The Abominable is Dan Simmons at his spine-chilling best.
©2013 Dan Simmons (P)2013 Hachette Audio
Dan Simmons writes long books. That's what he does, and he does it well. Carrion Comfort is the other I've listened to (around 30 hrs long) and that made me want to listen to others of his.
The Abominable is a story about an American, Jacob Perry who ends up on an expedition to Mt. Everest. The expedition has perils and secrets that a normal trip to Everest does not hold.
This story is great. There are a lot of details, scene development, and character development. I am very familiar with the terminology and technical details of mountianeering and rock climbing so I really enjoyed those sections of the book as they were factual and well researched.
The action of the story moved along nicely and the premise of the action and danger was believable. Simmons also did a nice job of setting the story up early so when situations happened later, they happened naturally and flowed well.
There were some flaws. I thought Carrion Comfort was pretty much perfect, so I was surprised that there were some distinct things about this book that I did not like.
The main character wasn't very likable. As the story went on he got more annoying and less likable. By the finale, I kinda wanted someone to punch him, or at least I just wanted him to stop talking. The narrator didn't help either. His tone didn't need to be quite as whiny and complaining as Jacob, which made him even less likable.
Also, I thought the extra side-story that could have brought some fun thrills into the story just fizzled and never developed.
With those criticisms, I still give it four stars because it was a great story that is worth the listen. The research and details are impressive and fit well within the story.
I don't even know how one would go about turning this into an interesting read. Perhaps get to the meat of the story quicker than 20 hours in? Consider making the aforementioned meat be something other than (yet more) laborious details with slow-moving action? I'm not saying to write like Dan Brown, it's just that I've never listened to another book I considered such a chore to get through.
I have enjoyed some of Simmons' older books, but it's hard to believe that this is the same fellow who wrote the Hyperion series and The Terror. He would have been better served had he just published a book report on mountaineering. A massive percentage of the writing and character dialogue are devoted to scene after scene explaining the minutia of mountaineering, descriptions of rock, and Himalayan region geography. Next time Mr Simmons, save us the unbearable tedium and try to include something other than a sad little story at the end of the factual overload. Maybe it's time to consider a second career in writing college textbooks?
The narrator for this audiobook was splendid. Collins had an excellent pace, his voice differentiated the characters well without being distracting, and is to be commended for managing to keep up his enthusiasm as the hours of this lackluster tale dragged on.
I'd remove 10 hours of the 20 hour setup, make the plot twist something less groan-worthy, use the word "ultramarine" half as many times, not include myself as a character, and base the writing more around an imaginative tale rather than an overload of detailed research.
Thank you Audible for your book return policy.
There are few things better than a good story well told!
And there are a lot of details. I knew next to nothing about mountain climbing, climbing equipment, and summit expeditions etc. before reading this and had very little interest in the subject per se. But I do like historical fiction and adventure tales and this one really delivers. I cannot explain how I could listen to 29 hours of pre-WWII mountain climbing details and thoroughly ENJOY it but I did. It is a testament to Mr. Simmons' story telling skills. He superbly recreates the mind set and technology of the 1920s and ‘30s Western Europe in the context of an attempt to reach the top of Mt. Everest. It’s not just the technology and terminology but the mystique of an accomplishment so difficult and rare that many have died or been horribly injured in the attempt. Do not let the subject or the length of the book deter you. There is mystery and suspense but there really is magic in the details as well.
This was my first book by Dan Simmons and I must say I was impressed. But if you don't know much about hiking, mountain climbing, or the history of Mount Everest then this book is not for you. I could not stop listening to this story and I was very surprised with the direction it went towards the end. Jacob can be a bit annoying at times but I got over it. Definitely one of the best books I've heard all year.
Initially I thought the book was a little bit slow to start. Later I very much appreciated the time that the author to setup the story enriched by details that make it seem real. I loved the way it feels like you are climbing the mountain with the protagonists and feel the thrills and disappointments along with them. I've recommended this book to several of my friends . After finishing it I found myself researching Everest and daydreaming about what it would be like to climb the world's highest mountain.
The beautifully detailed story about the climbing of Everest in 1923. I have a much better appreciation about what an incredible feat summiting Everest was. The story also gave you great background on George Mallory's last attempt and some idea about the horrors of World War I.
The story was about a fictional attempt at Everest in the year after George Mallory died in the attempt the previous year. There are a couple of side stories about some dangers along the way and the actual purpose of the climb that were not completely developed, but I didn't care because the story of the climb itself and the climbing history was so good. This is a long book. It is perfect for an audio book for that reason. I gardened through the entire thing last week. My gardens are much the better for it.
Kevin Collins is an okay reader, not my favorite. I wouldn't choose a book because he was the narrator.
Jake's description of climbing the Matterhorn, and the first time he sees Everest are wonderful
The description of the development of climbing gear was very interesting. When you realize that Mallory was climbing in Alpine gear with the first rudimentary oxygen that leaked, he had spent an entire season just trying to learn how to climb it, but had no way to know what he was in for until he got up there. This is a far cry from the professionally guided tours of today.
Not nearly as good as "The Terror" which was outstanding. He does his research though and I now know a lot more about mountaineering than before.
Dan Simmons is one of my favorite authors. This tale was middle of the pack for me. The Terror is his best in the historical fiction genre. Hyperion for Sci-Fi and Carrion Comfort in horror are favorites.
If you like back stories of heroes, villains and .....well I can't say. I do not want to give this one away but I think almost anyone would enjoy this book.
I enjoy authentic characters, in believable circumstances, mostly fiction, blended with historical fact, of any genre, with romance added.
Wonderful historical reinvention
Into Thin Air - A similar venture into the Mt Everest imagination
No. Excellent performance.
Yes. The perspective of it being told by someone that has passed away and wrote their story to be passed on to the author.
Brought tears to my eyes. Loved listening during my long commutes.
Edit about half of it out. There was a lot of information about climbing, which wasn't bad. Until it was repeated several times. There were also step-by-step descriptions of how a character climbed a particular rock wall and lengthy descriptions of equipment.
This information might have worked if it had been blended in with action, but it was an info dump worthy of the Sears catalog (of sporting goods).
I enjoyed The Terror and I wanted to enjoy this, but 14 hours into the story I just could not bear to listen to the info dumps any more.The "As you know, Richard," type of writing was just too cliched, and only served to introduce an info dump (and possible reader coma).
Driving in the car to Snowdonia before they did any climbing.
I never finished the book, so I'd have to say disappointment and boredom. I tried to finish it. I made it halfway - 14 hours out of the 29 or 30 hours, and then I just said, "Hey, I'm not enjoying this. There is no reason to make myself continue listening." I bailed out at the point just after the sky burials.
The main character Jake seems a bit of a jackass. He's young, but he's also a bit bigoted and after awhile it rubs thin. I had to wonder why climbing pros would take this irritating kid along with them.
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