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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic humdinger of a thriller!
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...
Published on 9 May 2009 by Stegwych

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3.0 out of 5 stars Another Trevanian
Did not enjoy as much as Shibumi, it was one of a kind I suppose. Interesting characters but a little outdated.
Published 19 months ago by Sheelagh


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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic humdinger of a thriller!, 9 May 2009
By 
Stegwych (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Eiger Sanction (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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3.0 out of 5 stars Another Trevanian, 6 April 2013
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This review is from: The Eiger Sanction (Paperback)
Did not enjoy as much as Shibumi, it was one of a kind I suppose. Interesting characters but a little outdated.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Trevanian, 15 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Eiger Sanction (Paperback)
Master of the written word. The world is a bit sadder without his books to look forward to tucking up in bed with.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pure Entertainment, 10 Mar 2011
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This review is from: The Eiger Sanction (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Legendary debut, 20 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Eiger Sanction (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. It appears to be another pastiche, this time on the "Ninja" books so popular in the late 1970s. His fifth bestseller, "The Summer of Katya" is a horror novel written in the style of Marcel Proust, recalling the wonderful summer of 1914 before WWI erupted, remembered decades later by a French village doctor, who was besotted by Katya at the time.
There was no Internet in the 1970s or 80s, but there were rumours that Trevanian was a writers' collective. And/or the real author behind Robert Ludlum's mega-bestsellers. What is certain is that Rodney Whitaker, with his many pseudonyms, had a talent for perfectly mastering the style of real writers and genres. His books range from medieval tales and Westerns to sentimental French love stories, Canadian police procedurals, spy stories and paranoid action thrillers.
Trevanian is an un-American cult writer with many devoted followers. Wikipedia is a starting point for readers to decide if they are willing to join them. A great, undervalued writer, who firmly decided to lead his life on his own terms. Highly recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting Climax, But Poor Spoof, 15 July 2010
This review is from: The Eiger Sanction (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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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, pulsating vortex of a thriller, 18 Feb 2002
By 
Robin J. Dorman (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Trevanian is esteemed by his fans as the finest novelist of the last thirty years. His novels pack a mean bundle of intelligence, originality and excitement, which position him very much in a class of his own. The Eiger Sanction (made into a 1974 blockbuster starring Clint Eastwood)is the tale of an art lecturer who moonlights as an assassin and is coerced by the government into accepting one last assignment before he retires. This involves scaling the north face of the Eiger and killing one of his climbing partners. The
additional complication is that the target's identity has not been revealed and stalker may become prey. Fans of this will also enjoy the sequel 'The Loo Sanction', epic 'Shibumi' and sublime 'The Sunmmer of Katya', the latter of which has got to be the finest most heartrending
love story never filmed.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wouldn't be sanctioned today..., 29 Nov 2012
This review is from: The Eiger Sanction (Paperback)
Yes it's interesting to see this (loosely themed) spy novel feted as a tongue-in-cheek James Bond pastiche, however I remain unconvinced that this is what the enigmatically named 'Trevanian' had in mind when he wrote it.
Most people of a certain age will remember this as a daft and dated 1970s Clint Eastwood vehicle, and to be honest the movie, while not exactly great, is superior to the novel in almost every way. The misogynistic main characters can be dismissed as historically accurate and therefore acceptable, however this is a distinctly 1970s affair, and therefore makes a light and mildly entertaining read.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unconvincing Ian Fleming wannabe, 20 Aug 2002
By 
Davywavy2 - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Eiger Sanction (Paperback)
A world renowned Art Historian, trained to kill by the US military and recruited by a CIA knock-off Government agency, is assigned to kill an enemy agent on a climb up the Eiger in Switzerland.
This is a book that desperately wants to be James Bond, and just isn't. From the improbably skilled hero (loner, art expert, deadly assassin, connoisseur of the finest things), to the ridiculous names of the female characters (Randie Nickers, anyone? Anyone?), to the predictable-100-pages-before twist at the end, Ian Fleming remains head and shoulders above Trevanian in this style of writing.
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The Eiger Sanction
The Eiger Sanction by Trevanian (Paperback - 5 May 2009)
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