Above All Things is a heart-wrenchingly romantic historical novel by Tanis Rideout, based on British mountaineer George Mallory's fatal attempt to climb Everest, and his wife Ruth, who is left at home, waiting for him to return to her.
In the Himalayas two climbers strike out for the summit of the Earth's highest mountain - aiming to be the first to the top, and reclaim a little of Britain's lost glory.
In Cambridge, a wife collects the milk, gets three children out of bed and waits for a letter, a telegram - for news of her husband.
It is 1924 and after months of setbacks and failures, George Mallory and Andrew "Sandy" Irvine are attempting to be the first to conquer Everest. Alone on the mountain they struggle against inhuman cold, violent winds, thin air - but climbing, putting one foot falteringly after another, they reach for the cloud-shrouded peak.
At home Ruth Mallory goes about her day; visiting friends and comforting children she longs for news of George. She considers her marriage - the passion, the fights, the bitter absences, the loving reunions, all the snatched moments during the war and between expeditions. . She hides her doubts and the uncertainty about the future with or - god forbid - without him.
A powerful, moving story of a husband driven to extraordinary lengths by his ambition and a wife terrified she will lose him to a cruel and pitiless rival, Above All Things is a timeless story of one of the great tragedies - and love stories - of the last century.
'Above All Things has it all: adventure, tragedy, mystery, and a deeply moving love story. It's gorgeously written and beautifully paced. I could not put it down. Prepare to be dazzled' Alison Pick, author of Far to Go
'A love story, a tale of adventure, and a study in obsession all at once, Above All Things is simply breathtaking. With Tanis Rideout's debut, a major new voice in Canadian fiction arrives' Joseph Boyden, author of Through Black Spruce
'Timeless romance, an unflinching love story that touches the very core of the human condition. Rideout leaves readers holding the book close to their chest, knowing that the purpose of life, above all else, is love' Telegraph
'A must-read for Everest buffs with a sensitive side, and for those who want to understand the anatomy of climbing accidents. It is also the perfect summer read for anyone lured by the romance of adventure, as the story goes well beyond the vast summit of Everest into much trickier terrain: the unmapped topography of the heart' Globe and Mail
Tanis Rideout's work has appeared in numerous publications and been shortlisted for several prizes, including the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award for Emerging Writers and the CBC Literary Award. In 2006, she was named the Poet Laureate for Lake Ontario by the environmental advocacy group Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and joined Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip on a tour to promote environmental justice on the lake. Born in Belgium, Tanis grew up in Bermuda and in Kingston, Ontario, and now lives in Toronto. She recently received her MFA from the University of Guelph-Humber. Above All Things is her first novel. www.tanisrideout.com.