cover image The Abominable

The Abominable

Dan Simmons. Little, Brown, $28 (672p) ISBN 978-0-316-19883-7

Even Jake Perry, the fictional travelogue author Dan Simmons %E2%80%9Cmeets%E2%80%9D in his latest novel, jokes that his reader may not make it through this %E2%80%9Cendless stack of notebooks.%E2%80%9D But lovers of Simmons%E2%80%99s blend of alternate history, mystery, and myth will appreciate this three-act thriller set in the interwar years. Young American alpine climber Jake is invited on a %E2%80%9Crecovery%E2%80%9D mission to find Percival Bromley, a British lord who vanished on Mt. Everest. Much of the novel is devoted to the strategies and techniques of mountain climbing as it was developing in the 1920s, and Jake, his friend Jean-Claude, and team leader Deacon spend a lot of time rubbing elbows and comparing gear with real alpinists of the era. But amid the wash of detail, Simmons plants crucial facts and conjectures about early-20th-century Europe that won%E2%80%99t pay off until Jake and his party are nearing the top of the world. Can murder and carnage be fully explained by the evil of men? Is a supernatural threat looming over the expedition? As usual, Simmons doesn%E2%80%99t answer all the questions he%E2%80%99s raised when the mysteries surrounding the loss of Percy Bromley are resolved, but his fans, like Jake, are sure to enjoy the journey. Agent: Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Associates. (Oct.)