I received a proof copy as giveaway on Goodreads and am in no way related to the book’s author or publisher.
A novel focusing in various facets on World War I, mountaineering and a “road-trip” through modern Europe – that sounds like a story I might really enjoy. The book lives up to my expectations, the plots are told in great detail and accommodating language. I enjoyed the occasional French and German phrases intertwined in some of the dialogues which remind the reader about the multilingual characters and settings. The author accurately describes the horror and violence of WWI battles without slipping into pointless gore, instead using these stark scenes to develop characters and plot. The detailed writing also gives insight into interesting facts about climbing techniques of the early 20th century – not necessarily a mainstream topic but I enjoyed those chapters.
Still, the book might even be better if it was a few pages shorter – from time to time the story lacks pace and some of the pages that might well have been left blank could have been used for a slightly more elaborate ending.
Some reviews criticized the unusual dialogue punctuation. I had no trouble distinguishing the actual spoken words from descriptive text but I can also see no advantage or necessary stylistic device in it.
What really annoyed me was the vast amount of typeset errors – yes, I read a proof copy but there were way too many and I can only hope that the publisher checked his template again before the final version went into print.