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The Eiger Sanction Paperback – 5 May 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Old Street Publishing (5 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190584798X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905847983
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 218,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Superior suspense on almost every page... the hero is a masterpiece of conflicting qualities something for everyone' NEW YORK TIMES--'The only writer of airport paperbacks to be compared to Zola, Ian Fleming, Poe and Chaucer' NEW YORK TIMES-- 'Trevanian can write hoops around Ian Fleming' BOSTON GLOBE-- --*

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Alfred J. Kwak on 20 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
Jonathan Hemlock is an art expert and -collector and a brilliant mountain climber. To acquire precious stolen paintings from the illegal art circuit, he free-lances as an expensive professional killer. The CII (a US agency incorporating 102 American post-WWII security and espionage agencies) hires him to climb the Eiger with a small team in order to kill one of them. But there is a problem. The CII does not know which team member must be "sanctioned", killed, when the team has already begun its arduous ascent, viewed by many from hotel terraces below. What follows is exciting thriller material.
Clint Eastwood directed and played the lead role in the hit movie "The Eiger Sanction". But Trevanian later declared it "vapid". So who is Trevanian? He is Rodney Whitaker (1931-2005),a US professor of communication sciences, who published 8 books under this name. The first 5 became worldwide bestsellers with at least a million sold of each.
His true identity was revealed only when his fourth bestseller "Shibumi" appeared in 1979, when he gave his first interview. There he stated that "The Eiger Sanction" was a spoof of Ian Fleming and James Bond. Not one critic or reviewer at the time caught on, so he wrote a sequel,"The Loo Sanction" with the same result.
In 1975 he published "The Main" about a veteran police detective in Montreal who lost his beloved wife at a young age and finds solace and inner peace by (re-)reading the complete works of Emile Zola, who wrote a long row of books. When the last in the row is finished, he starts reading the first one again... Emile Zola wrote many of his novels in the present tense, and "The Main" was written accordingly. Difficult to do and brilliant to succeed. "Shibumi" is his best reviewed book on the internet.
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Format: Paperback
I first came across this book as a thirteen year old, hungry for a break from the 'required' reading of Dickens and Austin. Like Flemming before him, Trevanian created a spoof spy world that for some strange reason was taken seriously by some critics and readers. But it is most definitely a spoof....from the ridiculous names like the horny Indian guide George Hotfort ('hot for it', get it?) or Mrs. Cerberus guarding the entrance to, well not Hades, but something similar to the rather empty and predictable plot this is James Bond and not John Le Carré. Even the so-called twist can be seen a mile away.
Hemlock himself is a rather nasty character ( it's not strange that he can count his friends on the fingers of one hand) but, let's face it, he kills people for a living.
So why four stars? Well,the delight of this book is in the language the author uses. Crisp dialogue that is fresh even today abounds and the author has that rare ability to always find the 'mot juste'. The climbing scenes, although dated even when the book was published, are extremely exciting. And then there's that strange Trevanian charisma that all his books possessed..can anyone explain it?
By the way, one of the best lines I've ever read is in this book: 'I didn't actually kill Henri, you know.' ' Well, I probably won't actually kill you.'....Brilliant!
Read as an entertainment and enjoy!
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Format: Paperback
Jonathan Hemlock is a loner, art-history professor, black-market art collector, former mountaineer - and freelance assassin for CII, an inept and amoral American security organisation. He gets tricked into taking on an assignment which will involve `sanctioning' a fellow mountaineer on the North Face of the Eiger in Switzerland, in order to save his collection. On the way, he falls for, and is deceived by, Black agent Jemima Brown, is helped by old climbing buddy Big Ben, kills old enemy Miles Mellough, and sleeps with Felicity Arce, Randie Nickers, etc. Jonathan is entirely horrible, ill-mannered and vicious, and I was rooting for his enemies.

The book is recognised nowadays as a spoof, but it didn't really work as one for me - first, because the narrative reckons, having indulged to excess in its misanthropy and misogny, that giving the occasional wink is sufficient to let it have it both ways. And second, because this genre was never realism anyway - Ian Fleming also has silly exaggerations, daft names, and scenes, for instance, where Bond can't make love because his little finger is broken.

What it has got is a terrific climax on the Eiger itself. That episode, with its genuine drama and mountaineering detail, felt as though it was from a different book altogether. Life's short: maybe the best thing would be to start reading this one at page 157?
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By Stegwych VINE VOICE on 9 May 2009
Format: Paperback
Trevanian is a renowned master of the dark arts of thriller writing, and in The Eiger Sanction his gifts are on full display. Hemlock is a superb anti-hero - cynical, deadly, yet likeable - and the action fizzes with suspense. In an era when plot often seems to be everything, at the expense of anything resembling character or prose, he reminds us of the joys of reading a book which is not only page-turning, but intelligent too. The writing is an absolute delight: witty dialogue, brilliant descriptions of the treacherous north face of the Eiger, and with an enjoyable streak of dark humour running throughout. The Eiger Sanction is a thousand times better than the film it inspired, and a must-read for anyone who likes a bit of brain along with their thrills. Highly recommended!
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