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Ascent: From the creator of Line of Duty by [Mercurio, Jed]
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Ascent: From the creator of Line of Duty Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Length: 257 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product description

Review

"This is fighting fit, muscular prose, which carries no dead weight. In short, it's that rarest of things -- a highbrow book that's vertiginously thrilling."-"Observer"
"Ascent is storytelling of a high caliber; fully imagined, finely crafted."-"Guardian"

Gaurdian

`a subtle, lyrical and entirely unsentimental meditation'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 539 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (15 Feb. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004EYSY92
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #66,136 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an unusual book - written from the Russian perspective. I suspect it's technically very accurate, but I can't judge that myself.
I'm someone who easily gives up if a book didn't hold my attention, but that did not apply. I would have liked a bit more emphasis on character, and a bit less on the technicalities, but that's a personal preference.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
good value
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book wants to be a second "Catch 22". It has some of the craziness but somehow the humour remains grounded. I never got to like the cold central character, Yevgeny Yeremin. The dog-fights in Korea get a bit monotonous and it grinds on to the final space mission where things start to get interesting. The final episode is intriguing and leaves you wondering, but it isn't really worth the wait.
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Format: Hardcover
I seldom buy hard-cover fiction at full price. Having said that, I made an exception as the reviews of "Ascent" that I've seen or heard were uniformly enthusiastic - not that uniformity of opinion is a guarantee of anything. I purchased "Cloud Atlas" on a similar impulse, having forgotten that I grew weary of science-fiction by the age of 16, which was some time ago. But I've always been a bit of an aviation enthusiast, even if falling some distance short of the anorak-y, so I stumped up the full cover price for "Ascent".

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.
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Format: Paperback
This is a poorly written attempt at Fiction. It fails on so many levels that I would suggest the tyro-scribe has a long apprenticeship yet to serve.
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Format: Hardcover
The writer behind the brilliant "Cardiac Arrest" and "Bodies" shows here that he is more than a Robin Cook with grit. I had the feeling that Jed Mercurio might be a one-trick pony before I read this, but "Ascent" shows that the writer has breadth beyond expectations.

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!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am a big graphic novel fan, although usually my tastes have been for fantasy with a hint of realism, like Neil Gaiman's Sandman.

This is in some ways a fantasy, but it is strongly rooted in the real events of the second half of the 20th Century and the Cold War. What strikes you about this book, is that it is beautifully presented in hardback, but it portrays a bleak and stark world.

Ascent shows you what can be done with the graphic novel format, in terms of conveying an atmosphere that doesn't come from the words, which are quite clipped and functional - but rather with the scenes portrayed and the action presented, sometimes without commentary.

What we have is a grey world, only relieved by the minimal markings of a Mig Fighter plane in washed-out red. This is of course entirely fitting, as we know that the Soviet Union suffered the greatest losses at the end of WWII and the main character here is a complete orphan who has lost every family member and then suffers bullying at school.

No comment is made on these bare facts, but the illustrations elegantly portray a cruel world that is only made sense of, in the dog-eat-dog situation of the fighter pilot. The greys and drab browns show us the emotions that pervade Yefgennii's life and he is throughout, a ghost or phantom - who cannot be acknowledged or rewarded. All he gets are harder and harder missions.

If this all sounds bleak - then it is, in the way that many depictions of Russia or the Soviet Union tend to be, Ascent draws on the culture of Dostoyevsky and Solzhenitsyn, but through pictures rather than words.
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