Review: The Abominable

The Abominable

The Abominable
By Dan Simmons
(Little, Brown and Company, Hardcover, 9780316198837, October 2013, 672pp.)

The Short of It:

Armchair travelers, rejoice. The Abominable has it all, adventure, mayhem and a little bit of mystery.

The Rest of It:

A group of mountain climbers, hired by Lady Bromley head to Mount Everest in 1925 to find her son who never made it back from his trip to the summit the year before. Jean-Claude, Jake and Richard are hand chosen for their skills but when Regina “Reggie” Bromley-Montfort is foisted upon them as part of the expedition, the men aren’t sure what to think. The summit is not place for a woman and Richard makes his feelings known, but the funding for the trip is dependent upon her inclusion so the men adjust accordingly.

Turns out, Reggie is quite skilled, as is her escort Dr. Pasang. Not to mention her dealings with the Tibetan government which enable them to make the climb in the first place. Grudgingly, the other men accept her, but what they don’t realize is that there is a reason why Lord Percival went missing and when they find out, they are at the top of the summit and it’s too late to turn back.

If you’ve never read Simmons before, you really must. His knack for research and his ability to fictionalize just about anything is what makes me eager to pick-up his books as soon as they come out. He’s an AMAZING storyteller and with this one, I really felt as if I was up there on the summit, using my ice axe and tying off ropes with the best of them. The story is epic and a chunkster at that. At over 650 pages, you are asked to suspend your disbelief for quite a long time, and I did so willingly until the very last pages.

I won’t lie, the title, the blurb and the marketing of the book in general lead the reader to believe that it’s about one thing, but hundreds of pages in you realize that it’s not what you think. After reading another book by him, The Terror, I believed I knew the path this story was taking, but I was way off. At first, this angered the heck out of me. But after finishing the book, I do believe that the path the story took was even more horrifying than what I first expected.

In the end, I ended up liking the book quite a bit. It plucked me right out of reality (what I so badly needed at the time) and took me on an adventure like no other. There is a lot of technical jargon relating to climbing, but having no experience in climbing myself, I had no trouble picking up the terminology.

If you read to escape and like to travel from your armchair every now and then, you’ll appreciate this one. Grab a blanket though because this one left me literally freezing with its sub-zero temps and unpredictable weather. It’s THAT realistic.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

20 thoughts on “Review: The Abominable”

  1. Abominable sounds like a really good book. It’s out of the realm of things I’d normally read, but I am going to put this on my wish list. I like books with strong female characters that don’t fit the expected gender roles of their times.

    I’m curious about the name “Lord Percival” because of THE name. Is it significant in any way (without spoiling)? Percival…

    Anyway, it sounds like some Jack London mixed with a little Ernest Hemingway, and shaken, not stirred, with suitable period writing into this novel.

    Very intriguing.

    1. I didn’t notice any significance with the name but perhaps it went right over my head. There is a lot going on in this one and it is historical fiction and after Googling parts of it, more was based on fact than I originally thought. Not the trip, but some of the backstory.


  2. As a dedicated armchair traveller, I can’t wait to get hold of this, had it on my Amazon wishlist and Goodreads ‘want to read’ shelf for ages. I loved Drood and am pleased to hear this one is also very good.

    1. Andi, Simmons is great but he is known for his gigantic chunksters and his attention to detail. You need to add one of his books to your chunkster challenge. I loved The Terror. That is probably my fave read of his


  3. I so loved Drood and I really want to read both The Terror and The Abominable. Both sounds extremely exciting – and scary. And I think I need to try out Hyperion as well even though that one sounds very different.

  4. Glad to hear you bounced back from that pissed off reaction you had at one point! Think I’ll wait to read this one until, oh, maybe July when something that chills me is just what I need. Right now, the last thing I want is something that makes me even colder!

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