Paths Of Glory

by Jeffery Archer

4.00 out of 5 based on 6 customer ratings
(6 customer reviews)

4.00 out of 5 based on 6 customer ratings
(6 customer reviews)


Some people have dreams that are so magnificent that if they were to achieve them, their place in history would be guaranteed. Francis Drake, Robert Scott, Charles Lindbergh, Amy Johnson, Edmund Hilary, Neil Armstrong, and Lewis and Clark are among such individuals. But what if one man had such a dream, and once he’d fulfilled it, there was no proof that he had achieved his ambition. Jeffrey Archer’s latest book, Paths of Glory, is the story of such a man George Mallory. Mallory once told an American reporter that he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, “because it’s there.” On his third attempt in 1924, at age thirty-seven, he was last seen six hundred feet from the top. His body was found in 1999, and it still remains a mystery whether he ever reached the summit. But only after you’ve turned the last page of this extraordinary novel, inspired by a true story, will you be able to decide if George Mallory’s name should be added to the list of legends, in which case another name would have to be removed. Paths of Glory is truly a triumph.

Genre, Thrill Mystery Adventure

About The Author

Archer wrote his first book, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, in the autumn of 1974, as a means of avoiding bankruptcy. The book was picked up by the literary agent Deborah Owen and published first in the US, then eventually in Britain in the autumn of 1976. A BBC Television adaptation of the book was broadcast in 1990, and a radio adaptation was aired on BBC Radio 4 in the early 1980s.

Kane and Abel (1979) proved to be his best-selling work, reaching number one on The New York Times bestsellers list. Like most of his early work it was edited by Richard Cohen, the Olympic fencing gold-medallist. It was made into a television mini-series by CBS in 1985, starring Peter Strauss and Sam Neill. The following year, Granada TV screened a ten-part adaptation of another Archer bestseller, First Among Equals, which told the story of four men and their quest to become Prime Minister. In the U.S. edition of the novel, the character of Andrew Fraser was eliminated, reducing the number of protagonists to three.

As well as novels and short stories, Archer has also written three stage plays. The first, Beyond Reasonable Doubt, opened in 1987 and ran at the Queen’s Theatre in London’s West End for over a year. However, Archer’s next play, Exclusive, was not well received by critics, and closed after a few weeks. His final play, The Accused, opened at the Theatre Royal, Windsor on 26 September 2000, before transferring to the Theatre Royal, Haymarket in the West End in December.

Archer has stated that he spends considerable time writing and re-writing each book. He goes abroad to write the first draft, working in blocks of two hours at a time, then writes anything up to seventeen drafts in total. In 1988 author Kathleen Burnett accused Archer of plagiarising a story she’d written and including it in his short-story collection, A Twist in the Tale. Archer denied he had plagiarised the story, claiming he’d simply been inspired by the idea.

It has been suggested that Archer’s books undergo an extensive editing process prior to publication. Whilst Archer’s books are commercially successful, critics have been generally unfavourable towards his writing. However, journalist Hugo Barnacle, writing for The Independent about The Fourth Estate (1996), thought the novel, while demonstrating that “the editors don’t seem to have done any work”, was “not wholly unsatisfactory”.

Since 2010, Archer has written the first draft of each new book at his luxury villa in Majorca, called “Writer’s Block”.

In 2011, Archer published the first of seven books in The Clifton Chronicles, which follow the life of Harry Clifton from his birth in 1920, through to the finale in 2020. The first novel in the series, Only Time Will Tell, tells the story of Harry from 1920 through to 1940, and was published in the UK on 12 May 2011. The sixth instalment, Cometh the Hour, was published on 25 February 2016. The final novel in the series, This Was a Man, was published on 3 November 2016.

Archer’s next novel has been provisionally titled Heads You Win, and will be published in 2017, along with another volume of short stories.

Average Reader Rating

4.00 out of 5 based on 6 customer ratings

Reader Reviews

6 reviews for Paths Of Glory

  1. 4 out of 5

    “Amazing Reading”

  2. 4 out of 5

    A real-life mountaineering mystery serves as the springboard for bestseller Archer’s abysmal latest. The plot begins promisingly with the body of mountaineer George Mallory discovered on the slopes of Mt. Everest in 1999, possibly having been the first man to have reached the summit. But hopes of an adventurous yarn are soon dashed as the novel becomes a long flashback, offering stock vignettes of Mallory’s childhood, Cambridge days and mountaineering adventures. These passages are hampered by phoned-in writing, clumsy attempts at verisimilitude and a notable lack of psychological depth. Along the way, Mallory marries, becomes a father, serves in WWI and finds himself pitted against Australian mountaineer George Finch as a potential leader of Britain’s push to conquer Everest. Archer does eventually offer his opinion as to whether Mallory summited Everest, but by that point all but his most devoted fans will have fled the icy crags of this lifeless novel

  3. 4 out of 5

    This historical-adventure novel is a bit of a change of pace for the author of such best-selling contemporary thrillers as Kane & Abel (1979) and The Fourth Estate (1996). Its subject is George Mallory, the famed mountaineer who disappeared while attempting to climb Mount Everest in 1924. (Mallory is the source of the famous line because it is there his answer to the inevitable question asking why one would climb a mountain.) Archer portrays Mallory as an adventurer at heart, a charming, impulsive young man who matures into a dedicated and careful climber. The book shows evidence of exhaustive research. Archer could easily have written a traditional biography, but that wouldn’t have permitted him to take the literary license necessary to turn Mallory from a historical figure into a living, breathing human being. This is one of Archer’s best efforts, and it’s highly recommended to fans of classic adventure fiction.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paths of Glory is an excellent book on the life of legendary British mountaineer George Mallory who lost his life while conquering Mt Everest in 1924 with compatriot Andrew Irvine. His body was discovered in 1999 but it is not clear whether he and Irvine reached the summit before death or not. Irvine’s body has not been discovered so far. Book is well written and is gripping page turner. Another highlight of the book is the love story of George Mallory and his wife Ruth Mallory. This is my first book of Jeffrey Archer and I am impressed with his writing and style of story telling. Book makes you emotional at the end with the death of George. To conquer Everest was his dream of life and he achieved it (according to book) and lost his life while descending from summit. A must read for everyone….

  5. 4 out of 5

    This is not a book I would normally read but someone in my book club wanted to review it and I was lent a copy so I decided to give it a go. I must say it surprised me. I liked it a great deal. I have never read Jeffery Archer before. His writing is not flowery but crisp, fast paced and human. I wasn’t familiar with the story of George Mallroy, who made the first attempts to climb Everest. Archer painted a picture of Mallroy as a man that was driven, honorable, loving, a climbers climber from the time he was a small child and self confident, perhaps to a fault. But the real story and perhaps the one that kept me in was his relationship to his wife. He wrote her every day when they were apart, even from a tent at the 40 below heights of Everest. They had three children together and he seemed to thrive on his family life. He was a bit scattered, usually late and disorganized. He ended up teaching school when he couldn’t get into a PHD program at Cambridge. His wife Ruth came from a wealthy family. Her father wanted to keep them in a life style in which she was accustomed. They weren’t socialites but appeared to be dedicated to home and family.George climbed everything, including the Eiffel Tower (he spent time in a French jail for this) and the Basilica in the Pizza San Marco in Venice. (to impress Ruth before they were a couple) He narrowly escaped from the Italian Police. When you have climbed everything there is nothing left but Everest, especially when no one has ever done it before. After the first failed attempt when he had a sense of how foolhardy it was, how unpredictable the weather was, how difficult the breathing was at that altitude, how devastating it was to lose men in avalanches, how could he go back when he knew the dangers? It seemed selfish to me for him to jeopardize his life at the expense of his children and a woman who he professed so great a love. I chalk it up to self-confidence gone awry, especially since he was in uncharted territory. He thought he was subject to different rules because of his great strength and abilities. I believe he also got caught up in the push from others who wanted him to succeed and thought he could. I recommend it even to skeptics of Everest stories.

  6. 4 out of 5

    This is a novel based on a historical event whose outcome is unknown. George Mallory loved climbing mountains and he had a lifelong dream of climbing to the summit of Mt. Everest – 29,002 ft. He also wanted to be the first man to do so. He promised his wife he would only attempt the climb once and if it wasn’t successful, he’d be content to let that “lover” go. Funded by the Royal Geographic Society of Great Britain, the first expedition led by Mallory in 1921 wasn’t successful. A few years later, in 1924, he led another expedition determined to be successful this time. But, George Mallory and another climber didn’t return to camp as scheduled after leaving to make the last part of the climb to the summit. In fact, Mallory’s body wasn’t discovered until 1999. He died about 1500 ft. from the summit. The question is, did he and the other climber die before making it to the “top of the world” or did they die after reaching the summit, but were unable to make it back to camp? 

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