Saturday, 11 May 2013

Alex Roddie

I've just read the book to which Crowley's Rival (see earlier post) is a prequel.  This is a wonderful idea.  It takes real historical figures, combines them with invented characters, puts them in a situation which might have happened and then stands back for the fireworks!

The Only Genuine Jones

Amazon .com  The Only Genuine Jones

My review - 

This is an imaginary account which is based around a number of real people.  The main character, Owen Glynne Jones (the Only Genuine Jones) was a real person but much of the action of the story is fictional  It has a number of themes, including a rivalry between Jones and Aleister Crowley, the disputes between the traditionalists of mountain climbing (we do it this way because we’ve always done it this way) and the progressives.  The latter were prepared to use shorter-handled, curved ice axes and crampons with forward facing points, which made previously impossible mountains climbable.

The story isn’t all blow-by-blow accounts of accents, however.  There is a good deal of the social history of the times as the book deals with the fact that wealthy gentleman climbers and talented, poorer people were able to climb together in friendship.  The mountains are great levellers. There are dodgy business dealings here, patent-stealing, double-crossing, potential polygamy, murder – and all this, with added mountains!  Alex Roddie’s writing is elegant and accessible and the story reaches a gripping climax.  I found this book enthralling.

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