In this mesmerizing debut, a young American discovers he may be heir to the unclaimed estate of an English World War I officer, which launches him on a quest across Europe to uncover the elusive truth.
Just after graduating college, Tristan Campbell receives a letter delivered by special courier to his apartment in San Francisco. It contains the phone number of a Mr. J.F. Prichard of Twyning & Hooper, Solicitors, in London – and news that could change Tristan’s life forever.
In 1924, Prichard explains, an English alpinist named Ashley Walsingham died attempting to summit Mt. Everest, leaving his fortune to his former lover, Imogen Soames-Andersson. But the estate was never claimed. Information has recently surfaced suggesting Tristan may be the rightful heir, but unless he can find documented evidence, the fortune will be divided among charitable beneficiaries in less than two months.
In a breathless race from London archives to Somme battlefields to the Eastfjords of Iceland, Tristan pieces together the story of a forbidden affair set against the tumult of the First World War and the pioneer British expeditions to Mt. Everest. Following his instincts through a maze of frenzied research, Tristan soon becomes obsessed with the tragic lovers, and he crosses paths with a mysterious French girl named Mireille who suggests there is more to his quest than he realizes. Tristan must prove that he is related to Imogen to inherit Ashley’s fortune – but the more he learns about the couple, the stranger his journey becomes.
Publisher: William Heinemann, May 2014
Reviewer: Liz Batten
I love a past / present book where it switches from ‘now’ to ‘then’ and this didn’t disappoint. Tristan the main character [in the present] was flung straight into the book without any preamble. This made it hard to know what type of person he was as there was no real background initially on his life, but gradually it unfolded through the story.
Ashley Walsingham [from the past] was a ‘thrill seeker’ and quite daring [being a mountain climber] which saw him through part of the terrible First World War. The description of conditions in the trenches was intense and made you really admire the grit and determination of our army boys under such crippling circumstances.
A massive fortune is to be had if Tristan can uncover the secrets of his grandmother’s life – he flits around all over Europe discovering clues and dead ends but gradually begins to get to grips with what happened through a series of letters. Meanwhile in the past the story unfolds before your eyes. From a man looking for a fortune, he becomes someone searching for the truth and finally finds it…but at what cost?
The author has written a very descriptive book interwoven with an intriguing story, and must have conducted hours of research both on the War and the Expedition to Everest. My one disappointment was at the end….being a sentimental lady I wanted to know what happened the other side of the door……..