Ascent Paperback – 7 Feb 2008
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"In moments of intense action, we're with this protagonist every inch of the way, through every thought, dive, ache, smell, itch, tast and gastric movement... vertiginously thrilling" (Observer)
"Hold on tight and enjoy the ride... Tremendous stuff" (Independent)
"Ascent is a page turning story of a man's ambition to be the very best. Based on real events and using real people, it places this fictitious character in a period when space itself was there for the taking. Beautifully written, it's a book that deserves to be read" (Angela Cooke Daily Express)
"A Russian version of The Right Stuff... Riveting" (Daily Telegraph)
"One of the most potent and unusual works of literary fiction I've read in years... Mercurio's Yefgenii is as real as anyone you've ever cared about. And care you will" (Michael Faber Guardian)
A truly stunning novel - spare, powerful and ultimately awesome - Ascent will propel Jed Mercurio into the first rank of British novelists.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It's as good as the reviews suggested, written in a sparse and transparent style that's completely appropriate to its subject matter. Jed Mercurio's decision (what a name!) to use technical vocabulary and associated acronyms without recourse to footnotes, glossary or explanatory digression is a bold move which may irritate some readers, but which only adds authenticity to what is, in general terms, a very convincing story.
Which makes a couple of plot points stand out as all the more implausible. Firstly, during air combat in Korea a pilot is said to have been hit in the leg by a ".22" bullet from another aircraft: yet another occurrence in the venerable tradition of the "minor flesh wound"... I haven't checked this out but it seems more than unlikely that such ammunition, more suitable for use on rats at close range, has ever been used in aircraft weapons. In early WW2, even the eight .303 guns used on some British fighters were quickly seen to be underpowered.
The second implausibility is the "push" which the hero imparts to his colleague's fighter after it runs out of fuel. Well, maybe. It's one way of generating a bit of necessary thrust to the plot, but it sounds absurd to me.Read more ›
The book follows the career of Yefgenii Yeremin from bullied, abused Stalingrad orphan to pioneering cosmonaut via flying MIG15s in the Korean War. Yeremin spends his whole life achieving heroic feats but is always unrecognised due to the shadowy politics of Soviet Russia. He is everyman and nobody. A hero of his times yet utterly anonymous. His yearning for success in everything that he does is attempted merely as a challenge to himself. His actions right up to the lonely finale show that it is the deed that is important and not the recognition that goes with it. In a way this is a beautiful refutation of today's shallow instant celebrity culture. Whether Jed Mercurio meant this I don't know - but that's how it comes across to me.
The narrative is simply presented without complicating side plots making "Ascent" an easy and enjoyable read. It's style reminds me of anothe great book from late last year, Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It is a bleak portrait of human life, warts and all - I guess in that way it IS similar to "Bodies".
I'd highly recommend this book, it's a moving portrayal of one man's battle with his own demons to prove that he is the best. Great buy!
Ascent surprised me in many ways. It is an incredible story - better even than Bodies and I read it in one sitting which I have never done before! It is a devasting story on so many levels but strangely up-lifting too. It should be on every book clubs' reading list and I am sure it will be one of those word-of-mouth award winners too.
The original novel is a must-read. The graphic novel less so, due to a couple of issues. Firstly, it's always difficult to convey in a graphic novel any wordy story that hinges on bleak ideas - it's easy for the story to become `cartoonish'. This leads to the second problem, which is that the drawings by Wesley Robins don't really pull off the atmosphere of the original book.
Nonetheless, it's still a great story. This is not your typical graphic novel - after all, the `hero' is an empty shell of a man whose wife is referred to throughout the novel as `the widow', whose children have no name. You probably wouldn't want to give this to a child, and any adult should prefer the actual novel instead of the graphic version.
Nonetheless, this is still a startlingly cold and bleak tale.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good easy read with a story which developed. Definitely a blokes type book very much around war and aireal battle scenes. Well worth a read....Published 1 month ago by Neil M
This book wants to be a second "Catch 22". It has some of the craziness but somehow the humour remains grounded. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ignorant Bystander
This was recommended to me as a men's adventure book with none of the soul searching which so abounds in fiction of all kinds. Read morePublished on 26 May 2014 by Martin
Five STUNNING Stars! Author Jed Mercurio has created a great novel of flying, of edge-of-your-seat air battles, and of personal and nationalistic ascension aimed at space. Read morePublished on 4 Feb. 2014 by RBSProds
Ties in real events in history with a fictitious (maybe!) explanation and makes you empathise with a person who at the time it is set would have been considered at the very least a... Read morePublished on 13 Sept. 2013 by Mr S Cresswell
I chose this rating as it is not a subject I enjoyed and I am only reading it as book club choice, however I wouldn`t choose it myself as it is clearly a mans book, although it is... Read morePublished on 4 July 2013 by Mrs.C.M.Nurse
Interesting marketing move...this book is being read and reviewed by non-graphic novel readers. Unfortunately, this means that most reviewers on here are not familiar with the... Read morePublished on 5 April 2013 by M. W. Hatfield
Based on a novel this graphic novel is well worth grabbing. Artwork is more sketch than linear, good plot enough names to make you look at a time from Ivan POV.Published on 3 May 2012 by john harris