Author Michael Kodas tells a terrifying adventure story as well as an unimaginable tale of crime and corruption by weaving together several accounts of attempts to summit Mount Everest. The book focuses on the author's personal attempt to summit Mount Everest in 2004 but interweaves that with the tragic climb of Nils Antezana, a 69-year-old doctor, who was led to his death by a heartless guide. Mixed into the narrative are mountaineering facts which show how numerous expeditions to summit Mount Everest include many unprepared amateur climbers. The commercialization of Mount Everest has corrupted mountaineers, guides and Sherpa's due in large part to the cash involved for fees, tips and bribes. The whole culture has become one of reckless danger and greed. The money and inflated egos push some climbers, guides and sherpas to do shocking as well as immoral and illegal things to reach the summit.
This book reads like a fast-paced thriller; there is theft, deceit, faulty oxygen tanks, violence and death. The narrative shifts back and forth in time weaving together multiple stories and this can be a bit confusing but overall the reader is involved and interested in the outcome. The author is a journalist and photographer with the Hartford Courant.
Reviewed by sw, 4/09. Other reviews by sw.