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Publisher's Summary

In a renovated Gothic church on Long Island lives Jonathan Hemlock, an art professor and a world-renowned mountain climber who finances his black-market art collection by working as a freelance assassin.

Now, Hemlock is being tricked into a hazardous assignment that involves an attempt to scale one of the most treacherous mountain peaks in the Swiss Alps: the Eiger. His target is one of his three fellow climbers. The problem is that the CII can't tell him which one.

This spine-tingling adventure, part thriller and part satire, introduces an intriguing cast of villains, traitors, and beautiful women into a highly charged atmosphere of danger and suspicion that builds to a death-defying climax.

©2000 Rod Whitaker (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Superior suspense on almost every page...the hero is a masterpiece of conflicting qualities - something for everyone." ( New York Times)
"Trevanian can write hoops around Ian Fleming." ( Boston Globe)

What listeners say about The Eiger Sanction

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great story, great narration

No novel by Trevanian is a straightforward matter. Part thriller, part satire, EIGER SANCTION is an extremely well written treatise on mountain climbing, a dig at celebrity culture, an examination of the mind of a killer and in the final analysis; a great story. While a little slow to get going, the novel quietly builds up a head of steam, and while there is lots of diversion along the way,once the tension starts rising the pace never lets up.
The narrator is really good.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good satire and thriller

I just loved this book. The story is build up very well towards climbing the Eiger. The climbing itself is an awful good chapter with a surprising final. The narrator Joe Barret is really excellent. And folks; I am a girl and did not mind the fancy bits at all.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Like the film, doesn't age well

I was surprised, unpleasantly as it happens, that the Eastwood film was not responsible for the puerile social commentary of this story. The book is best when it deals with the climbing, as long as you can past the ludicrous reason for it being in the story in the first place. But when it tries to be blithely politically incorrect (a term I'm fairly sure wasn't in use at the time of the book or film) it is cringeworthy. I don't know that it's fair to call the book racist, misogynist and homophobic, but it certainly has a stunning lack of awareness beyond its straight white male myopia. I had heard that the author claimed it to be a "spoof" and ridiculed the film, but I don't believe it. The book and film are strikingly similar. I kept going in the hope that it would become clear that it was merely a literary conceit, presenting the ugly character of the protagonist as someone to be derided or pitied. But no such luck, as the 3rd person narrator also engages in the unseemliness. If the author meant it as a spoof, he failed miserably. If not, he just created a sophomoric attempt at social commentary.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

And I Learned a Lot About Mountain Climbing, too.

At once deadly serious and slyly funny, Trevanian achieves the same level of visceral tension as Ian Fleming (and many, many more suggestively comic character names, too) while maintaining a John LeCarre-esque “curse-on-both-their-houses” attitude to the Cold War. James Bond has his doubts about what he does; Jonathan Hemlock has nothing but contempt for the job, only doing it to finance his lifestyle.

Even at 11-some hours—for me, a long-ish time to maintain the suspense of a thriller—his story doesn’t drag. With perfect pacing, characters develop naturally, and when we’re not encountering interesting people, we’re living through surprising plot turns. Of course, the brisk, witty, accurate writing helps, too. There’s always something here to keep you listening. And if you do, you’ll also learn a lot about the history, allure, challenges and techniques of mountain climbing.

Joe Barrett is just plain fun to listen to, always putting in a wry topspin or deadpan delivery precisely where it’s needed. This performance rivals his spectacular reading of Bonfire of the Vanities.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Eiger Stands the Test of Time

Great buy on the First in Series Sale. I love narrator Joe Barrett from Brian Haig, Sean Drummond series!! See the best, Private Sector to laugh your head off. I do use the 1.25x speed to match authors action. Joe does a fab job on this book, a fave film of mine.
If you saw Clint Eastwood in this title film, then this book is even better than the film. Narrator, Joe captures the essence of the authors wit, and the dialogue of the times. I can tell you, you are right there on the face of the Eiger!!
I can see why Clint wanted to do the film, and why George Kennedy stole the Ben, 6 pack beer scenes! Gads, as you listen to the book, you can just picture Jack Cassidy as Miles Mellow and visualize George as she runs Clint up steep hills. Not to be missed are the climbing scenes, they either make you want to take lessons or never go near a mountain again.
Book 2 in the wish list.
Were my comments of help?

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Pretty Good Listen- Great Narrator- Little Slow

I'm a guy, so I didn't mind the sexism as much as much as a woman might. The protagonist is a cliche, but if you can accept him for the arrogant pig that he seems to be, then you might start to actually like him by the end of the story. Even the names of the characters are "tongue in cheek"- an indication that they represent stereotypes- but they are all interesting. I'm sure there is some "deeper meaning" in the story that could be explored by a college Literature class, but I'm not "that deep" and just enjoyed them all at face value.

It was narrated very well and the story kept my interest- it is an action/mystery more than a romance. This one might be enjoyed more by a "guy" than a woman... I don't think easily offended feminists will like the main character very much. There definately IS much commentary on society in general and, if you "get" the satire, it will make you smile.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Held My Attention

Some mystery - story enough to hold the reader's attention - and just enough to provoke some anger at the protagonist.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

better than movie

I'm a big fan of the movie, I've seen it many times over the years, but never read the book. although the adaptation for the movie was typical Hollywood, well I have to admit that this storyline did not disappoint. Mr Barratt did more and a fine job introducing characters in describing the highs and lows of the story. this is a book worth listening to.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved this book.

Intelligent characters. Believable. Funny as humanely possible. What a good book this was. it was way better than the moviè.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

I've seen the movie many times and loved it. The book is also great and just different enough to still be interesting.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Argybargy
  • 08-07-21

A classic Trevanian

Picked this up as a freebie in the Audible Included catalogue. A classic. Perhaps bit dated now but still an enjoyable read.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Karl
  • 11-16-18

its a classic

this is just a classic read. if you like the film you will love this story

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • mrs S
  • 11-20-21

Engrossing story

Kept me in the edge of my seat throughout. I felt as though I was up there on the mountain with Johnathon willing him on.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gareth taylor
  • 11-16-21

Great free book

Good old fashioned story, bit of a 007 vibe but with less misogyny. Good narration, the dodgy accents are forgivable.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fourcandles
  • 10-31-21

my kind of book, well read compelling tale

really well read, great story and a can't put down read.
I'll miss the characters.
download and enjoy

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JanettheGannet
  • 10-21-21

Unexpectedly good listen

Surprised how much i enjoyed this book. Not my usual subject matter and some slightly un PC expressions but a good story well read.

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  • andrew johnstone
  • 01-21-20

Fun, Smart and Entertaining

I have only read one other Trevanian novel, the marvellous Shibumi and had always intended to read more. The time had come.

I saw Clint Eastwood's film version as a teen and had thought little of it. Rodney William Whitaker aka Trevanian also thought the film a failure. "The Eiger Sanction is a satire and they played it straight. It was dumb"

Whitaker was a scholar who decided to write a novel in a bestseller format as an academic exercise. It turned into a lucrative career. Shibumi, the tale of an assassin with mystical tendencies is the best of his five multi-million sellers but The Eiger Sanction is no slouch.

Dr Jonathan Hemlock is a mountain climber/art expert who lives in an old church filled with with illegally acquired paintings by the impressionistic masters. Way beyond his means as a University lecturer, he funds his art collection by working as a part time assassin for a secretive US government agency. When he is not killing, climbing or drinking top shelf champagne he is pleasuring women with names like Felicity Arse and Randy Knickers....... it is a satire styled on Bond after all. Anyways, his latest assignment is a sanction on an unidentified climber, a member of the team who are about to tackle the notorious north face of the Eiger.

The plotting is crisp and clean, the language florid, the research impeccable and the characters well realised. The result is capricious, entertaining and as for the satire, but for the outrageous names of the ladies, mostly subtle.