By Philip Kerr
Henry Holt and Company, 372 pp, 1997
It's been a while since I read anything,
fiction or non-fiction, about the yeti, or Abominable Showman, or Bigfoot,
or whatever you want to call the mythical ape-like creature. I don't know
if such a creature exists - I doubt it - but if it does, it's probably in
some secret valley or underground chamber, hidden from humans, safe from
That's Philip Kerr's theory in this
pleasant and readable novel.
Renowned mountain climber Jack Furness (an
unfortunate name for a protagonist) finds a skull deep inside a cliff in
the Himalayas. He gives it to a babe paleoanthropologist, Dr. Stella
Swift, who investigates it and concludes it is a fairly recent specimen
that belonged to a yeti.
Looking for fortune and glory, Swift and
Furness assemble a team and set up a camp in the Himalayas, in the dead of
winter, to find a yeti.
However, the India-Pakistan conflict is
about to explode into war, and a CIA that is desperate for any information
inserts a mole on the team, but we don't know who it is (though it's easy
to guess). The team is a few hundred miles from any potential war zones,
but the operative's job is information and reconnaissance, and to search
for an important object (I can't give it away) that the U.S. has lost and
So that's the plot. A bit thin, perhaps,
but the action is brisk once the team finds a yeti and the characters are
interesting and likeable. No really deep theme or message, other than man
destroys everything it touches, so sometimes it's best to let things stay
undiscovered. Kerr does make an issue of Swift's atheism, but doesn't do
much with it.
All in all, a nice, pleasant, enjoyable
book. Glad I bought the hardbound version off the clearance rack for five