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ESAU: A HIMALAYAN THRILLER Philip Kerr 1997 Paperback Fine
By Kerr, Philip
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New York, 1997. 374 pp. As New paperback.

A novel that thrillingly mixes Himalayan climbing, the search for the Yeti and the riddle of evolution into one well reviewed, terrific yarn. 

Forget Everest. The most dangerous peak in the Himalayas is Machhapuchhare, considered so sacred that the Nepalese have banned all climbers. And no wonder, as American mountaineering ace Jack Furness discovers after an illegal entry--this is where the Yeti, a.k.a. the Abominable Snowman and Bigfoot, makes his home. Sure to be a major motion picture, this latest from the author of The Grid is an exciting if somewhat predictable (Furness's lover just happens to be a world-class paleoanthropoligist, for example) story of action, political intrigue, and moral ambiguity high above the clouds.

If you don't recognize the title's source before Kerr reveals it, you've never heard Alan Bennett's hilarious 'My brother is an hairy man' sermon.

From Publishers Weekly: British author Kerr follows The Grid with an accomplished hybrid of science and Spielberg, in which readers journey to a pristine, mystical locale high in the Himalayas. Jack Furness, America's greatest mountain climber, is the only survivor of an ill-fated and illegal assault on Machhapuchhare, a huge peak considered holy by the Nepalese. He returns to the U.S. and presents his former lover, paleoanthropologist Stella Swift, with a hominoid skull he found in an ice cave on the mountain. The skull turns out to be not a fossil but the remains of a yeti more popularly known as an Abominable Snowman. Stella and Jack quickly assemble an expedition whose nominal purpose is fossil-finding on a neighboring mountain, but whose real purpose is to trap a yeti in order to advance both science and their own glory.

What they don't know is that the Pentagon has an interest in this region as well, and has inserted a secret agent into the expedition. The daredevil feats of the mountaineers, the impossible cold and the endless miles of glacier and snow in the little-visited Annapurna Sanctuary make this novel a marvelous armchair travelogue, but it's far more: a complicated yet visceral thriller in which monsters, human and otherwise, roam the earth and hunt each other. Convincing scientific and technological detail will have readers believing easily in yetis and other wonders of the world's highest mountains; they will even forgive the unabashed sentimentality of the ending. Kerr manages his large cast of characters with a sure hand, while the plot gathers speed and power like a Himalayan avalanche.


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