In 1935 young medic Stephen Pearce travels to India to join an expedition with his brother, Kits. The elite team of five will climb Kangchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain and one of mountaineering's biggest killers. No one has scaled it before, and they are, quite literally, following in the footsteps of one of the most famous mountain disasters of all time - the 1907 Lyell expedition. Five men lost their lives back then, overcome by the atrocious weather, misfortune and mountain sickness at such high altitudes. Lyell became a classic British hero when he published his memoir, Bloody, but Unbowed, which regaled his heroism in the face of extreme odds. It is this book that will guide this new group to get to the very top.
As the team prepare for the epic climb, Pearce's unease about the expedition deepens. The only other survivor of the 1907 expedition, Charles Tennant, warns him off. He hints of dark things ahead and tells Pearce that while five men lost their lives on the mountain, only four were laid to rest. But Pearce is determined to go ahead and complete something that he has dreamed of his entire life.
As they get higher and higher and the oxygen levels drop, he starts to see dark things out of the corners of his eyes. As macabre mementoes of the earlier climbers turn up on the trail, Stephen starts to suspect that Charles Lyell's account of the tragedy was perhaps not the full story....
©2016 Michelle Paver (P)2016 Orion Publishing Group Limited
Daniel Weyman was absolutely superb; at times morose, thoughtful, surprised, exhausted, annoyed, paranoid, terrified, wildly terrified, conflicted and accepting. I feel this narrator must have gone through the whole gamut of human emotion reading this book. He brought Stephen and the other characters to life. Loved this narration.
Another fantastic book from Michelle Paver; this icy tale of an ill-fated expedition paces consistently to it's climax through the increasingly paranoid first person narrative of the expedition's doctor, Stephen. Although very similar in premise and situation to Paver's other book, Dark Matter, which involves an ill-fated exploration of perilous icy terrains and an increasingly nervous and at times, unreliable, central character, Thin Air still has a lot to distinguish it from the former. The description of the mountain, the experiences of climbing and the creeping realisation that the higher up one goes, the greater the isolation and the greater the danger were extremely realistic. The author's research and own previous personal experience lends an unnerving reality to the story in spite of its supernatural elements. In addition to the dangers of mountaineering etc, this story also touches on other highly emotive topics including in-group/outgroup biases, class/caste systems and the complex nature of sibling relationships. Can you both wholly love and hate someone at the same time? Would this impact on your ability to help them in a life or death situation? The characters are so well drawn you really feel that they have been changed irrevocably forever by their experiences albeit to different extents and in different ways. All in all, this was a fantastic listen. I am sorry it ended and greatly look forward to future work from this author.
Dark Matter by the same author. I don't mind when a subject I enjoy is revisited by someone who knows how to write it well. It shares many of the same flavours of Dark Matter, including being British to a fault, and I loved every word of it.
Subtle, chilling horror written by an author who has a brilliant voice for it. I recommend this and Dark Matter, by the same author, for those who love a good British ghost story.
I have been waiting all year for Michelle's new book. I am a massive fan of Paver's ghost stories. Dark Matter was one of the great British ghost stories, and Thin Air is every bit its equal. And the bonus afterward by Michelle herself talking about the book is fascinating.
Another Winner, thank you, Michelle!
When's the next one out?
Not what I would usually choose....soooo glad I did! Heard a radio review with the author...and it interested me. 100% recommendation 👍😀
Yes it's largely the same plot as dark matter but with a different setting, but I loved dark matter so this was very enjoyable. The last hour kept me up late and the writing was very descriptive. The extent of human endurance demanded by climbing the highest peaks on earth are fascinating, put a ghost story up there and it's a winner.
He was spot on, creating good atmosphere.
The book has just finished, you're letting it all sink in, when with only about 10 seconds suddenly you are hit with an interview with the author talking, totally kills the atmosphere! Get rid of it!
Thin Air, like Michelle Paver's other ghost story, Dark Matter, is a excellently written, impeccably researched and imagined and thoroughly enjoyable listen. But it's not very scary. I think this is more because of the glut of horror fiction and the change in tastes since the 1990s and, also, that had this book been published in the 60s or 70s, or even the early 80s, it'd have been an instant classic of the genre. As it is, it falls a bit flat for me. But I enjoyed it, and will probably listen to it, and Dark Matter, again. Daniel Weyman provides an brilliant narration which never feels less than absolutely authentic, which only adds to the enjoyment. I think if you enjoyed Susan Hill's The Woman in Black, you'll find much to cherish here.
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