On the night of April 9, 1997, Warren Macdonald, a fit and experienced bushwalker, set out to climb Mount Bowen on Hinchinbrook Island, an unspoiled tropical paradise off the Australian coast. These would be his last steps as a fully intact human being: a freak rock fall pinned him for two days alone under a one-ton boulder, resulting in a double leg amputation.
A Test of Will is a story both tragic and inspiring, conveying the horror of what happened and the extraordinary spirit that helped Macdonald survive a seemingly impossible ordeal.
A bizarre twist of fate introduces us to an extremely passionate interesting person with a lot of off the beaten track stories to tell and things to say in between his ordeal. You feel every moment of his experience; all his experiences, past and present, as he contemplates his fate while he is is stuck in a nightmare.
It’s narrated by the writer and this brings with it first hand emotion of the event. You are getting this as he said it. That’s a gift. He gives it all to this story and is an excellent speaker.
My only wish is that there was more of the survival story, particularly more about the rescuer. I don’t know why he didn’t feature very much and is conspicuous by his absence. It would’ve been great to hear what he had gone through. Maybe it may have detracted from the immediacy of the account but I don’t think so.
What I like too is that it’s different from a story about gruelling conquest of a mountain or jungle. Nor is it about inexperience, naïveté, a stupid oversight or equipment failure. Something goes unexpectedly pear shaped in the worst possible way.
Definitely worth a listen if you like survival or true adventure stories. Those who like inspirational accounts will also find a lot of value here.