Written by Trevanian
I picked this up on special from Audible, and it turned out to be a real treat. I knew that it had been a Clint Eastwood movie back in 1975, but I’d never seen it…and I thought it was worth a spin. Even though the story is almost 40 years old, for some reason the audiobook was just recorded this year.
Jonathan Hemlock (an art professor and world-class mountain climber) makes a little money on the side by carrying out assasination assignments (sanctions) for the CII. He’s being pressured to take an assignment that he doesn’t want to take…but he’s eventually forced into it. **This occupation includes scaling one of the world’s most troublesome mountains (the Eiger in Germany)…and killing somebody during the ascension. The book is a decent mix of a romantic tale, interest, intriguing characters, and of course…the mountain which offers him “come and ascend”.** There’s also some great historical background about this killer mountain and those who died trying to scale its north face.
The author, Trevanian, was a bit of an enigma himself when this book was written. He was a college professor at the University of Texas, Austin named Rodney William Whitaker. He died in 2005.
I found this book a really solid read (listen). The narrator, Joe Barrett, did a great job not only keeping the flow of the story going…but also with the characterizations (extra challenging considering that the other members of the climbing team were German and French). Apart from a couple small things (like a reel-to-reel tape recorder for delivering messages), it didn’t feel dated at all. The author had an easy storytelling style, and developed some great characters. Hemlock, a somewhat world-weary cynic…Jemima Brown, the girl who loves him…Miles Mellough, the dashing gay agent who had Hemlock’s friend killed…and Urassus Dragon, the feeble mastermind behind the CII’s Search and Sanction division.
I enjoy thrillers like this, and at a solid 11 hours, this was definitely worth the price I paid!
4 Responses for “The Eiger Sanction
1. Rick from
Dragon is probably one of the most memorable characters, the menacing bureaucrat who hides in shadows. I remember the actor who played him in the film version of the book, Thayer David, a sort of 1970s version of Sidney Greenstreet.
2. Keith from
This another lost great movie from Clint. I did not relies that this movie was based on an actual book. I will pick it. Thanks
Your description of this book is quite impressive. You got me so interested that I am going to purchase and read it.
4. John from
This book sounds great! I can’t wait to check it out!! I’m always game for a new thriller…
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