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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (720 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tanis Rideout Narrator: Emily Gray Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2013 ISBN: 9781101605035
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“Tell me the story of Everest,” she said, a fervent smile sweeping across her face, creasing the corners of her eyes. “Tell me about this mountain that’s stealing you away from me.”

In 1924 George Mallory departs on his third expedition to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Left behind in Cambridge, George’s young wife, Ruth, along with the rest of a war-ravaged England, anticipates news they hope will reclaim some of the empire’s faded glory. A captivating blend of historical fact and imaginative fiction, Above All Things moves seamlessly back and forth between the epic story of Mallory’s legendary final expedition and a heartbreaking account of a day in the life of Ruth Mallory. Through George’s perspective, and that of the newest member of the climbing team, Sandy Irvine, we get an astonishing picture of the terrible risks taken by the men on the treacherous terrain of the Himalaya. But it is through Ruth’s eyes that a complex portrait of a marriage emerges, one forged on the eve of the First World War, shadowed by its losses, and haunted by the ever-present possibility that George might not come home.

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Quotes & Awards

  • ‘Because it’s there.’ With just three words, George Mallory explained why explorers do what they do. Yet beyond these words, volumes have been left unsaid. With Above All Things, Tanis Rideout finally fills in this void, illuminating one of the great tragic adventure stories of the modern-day age. It’s a fantastic read. David Grann, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of Z
  • “This magnificent novel, at once rugged and sensual, elaborates on George Mallory’s assault on Everest in 1924, the ones who went, the ones who waited. Deeply felt, richly imagined, immaculately styled, and utterly compelling, Above All Things takes us to the heights of human experience and endurance, both in physical fortitude and erotic longing. Rideout brings us to the summit and back down, shaken but somehow saved by grace.”

    Robert Goolrick, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Reliable Wife

  • This magnificent novel, at once rugged and sensual, elaborates on George Mallory’s assault on Everest in 1924, the ones who went, the ones who waited. Deeply felt, richly imagined, immaculately styled, and utterly compelling, Above All Things takes us to the heights of human experience and endurance, both in physical fortitude and erotic longing. Rideout brings us to the summit and back down, shaken but somehow saved by grace. Robert Goolrick, author of A Reliable Wife and Heading Out to Wonderful
  • Tanis Rideout’s Above All Things is truly mesmerizing, a powerful weaving of the tensions and heartaches of a marriage in conflict with an obsession. It is the story of British climber George Mallory’s third scaling of the walls of the world’s highest mountain, and it is brilliantly told. It will take you up the slopes of Mount Everest, a climb so vividly described, you will almost feel the biting wind, the intense cold, the great drama of an historic event. But this is more than an adventure tale. Above All Things takes the reader into the hearts of both Mallory and his wife as they struggle to understand each other and their own conflicted yearnings. A deeply satisfying blend of truth and imagination that stands out from the crowd. Kate Alcott, author of The Dressmaker
  • A love story, a tale of adventure, and a study in obsession all at once, Above All Things is simply breathtaking. With Tanis Rideout’s debut, a major new voice in fiction arrives. Joseph Boyden, author of Through Black Spruce and Three Day Road

  • Above All Things has it all: adventure, tragedy, mystery, and a deeply moving love story. It’s gorgeously written and beautifully paced. I could not put it down. Prepare to be dazzled. Alison Pick, author of Far to Go, long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
  • “‘Because it’s there.’ With just three words, George Mallory explained why explorers do what they do. Yet beyond these words, volumes have been left unsaid. With Above All Things, Tanis Rideout finally fills in this void, illuminating one of the great tragic adventure stories of the modern-day age. It’s a fantastic read.” 

    David Grann, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of Z

  • “Tanis Rideout’s Above All Things is truly mesmerizing, a powerful weaving of the tensions and heartaches of a marriage in conflict with an obsession. It is the story of British climber George Mallory’s third scaling of the walls of the world’s highest mountain, and it is brilliantly told. It will take you up the slopes of Mount Everest, a climb so vividly described, you will almost feel the biting wind, the intense cold, the great drama of a historic event. But this is more than an adventure tale. Above All Things takes the reader into the hearts of both Mallory and his wife as they struggle to understand each other and their own conflicted yearnings. A deeply satisfying blend of truth and imagination that stands out from the crowd.”

    Kate Alcott, New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker

  • Above All Things has it all: adventure, tragedy, mystery, and a deeply moving love story. It’s gorgeously written and beautifully paced. I could not put it down. Prepare to be dazzled.”

    Alison Pick, author of Far to Go, long-listed for the Man Booker Prize

  • “Absorbing…Rideout has a real feel for mountaineering, and her depiction of the Everest climb pulses with visceral detail.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “This vivid, assured, and confident debut novel scales great heights of obsession and desire, both on the face of Mount Everest and in the loving bond between doomed explorer George Mallory and his wife, Ruth…Rideout offers a gripping account of the expedition. The author’s accomplished depiction of the harsh and beautiful Himalayan heights…pushes the reader forward in a gripping adventure narrative, while Ruth’s own longings and fears offer a counterpoint of a more settled but no less intensely sensual interior landscape.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “With a gripping, ‘you are there’ realism, Rideout’s powerful prose evokes the scalpel-like sting of arctic winds and the bone-shattering cold of frigid mountain nights. Impeccably researched, Rideout’s vividly authentic debut historical novel is a paean to the ability of love to conquer all but the highest mountains.”

    Booklist

  • “George Mallory is the subject of this knockout first novel from a Canadian poet. The author has exhilaratingly imagined the British climber’s third and final attempt to reach the mountain’s summit…creating an atmosphere as authentic as in Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air…Book group alert! Rideout has written a superb addition to the fictional biography genre popularized by novels like Loving Frank and The Paris Wife. Buy it. Recommend it.”

    Library Journal

  • “[Rideout] does a terrific job describing both the extreme physical conditions and the dreamlike consciousness George and Sandy drift into as their memories of home intertwine with their moment-to-moment climb.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “A love story, a tale of adventure, and a study in obsession all at once, Above All Things is simply breathtaking. With Tanis Rideout’s debut, a major new voice in fiction arrives.”

    Joseph Boyden, author of Through Black Spruce and Three Day Road

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zoe Hare | 2/18/2014

    " Fascinating story of a man's passion for climbing and his determination to ascend Mt. Everest, while his wife waits for him back in England. I couldn't put this book down! Based on real people... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lizbomb | 2/9/2014

    " I LOVED this book! I love Everest history and the historical story in the book was very good and paired with the romantic side of Ruth's voice it was even better! LOVED it. Wish it never ended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 2/8/2014

    " Well-written story about George Mallory's attempts to climb Mt Everest, culminating in his final attempt in 1924, as viewed by Mr. Mallory and separately by his wife. While the story is fiction, much of the book is based on factual information. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Briana Alzola | 1/20/2014

    " I read a review of this book and decided to check it out, even though it is out of my usual interest area. Thank goodness I did. It's an exciting and compelling story, about the men trying to reach the peak of Mount Everest and the suffering women they left behind. The story simultaneously follows a mountain climber and his companions on their month-long trek up the snowy peak and the wife and kids back at home. Tragic and fascinating, I definitely recommend this one. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dorothy | 1/20/2014

    " I made it through 100 pages of this book and am so, so disappointed. When I saw this book, I thought it was a sure thing. And yet I liked nothing about it with a special hatred of the completely limp, lifeless, whiny wife. Ugh! If you're looking for a much better historical fiction telling of the George Mallory story, read Jeffrey Archer's "Paths of Glory." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shari | 1/18/2014

    " I loved this book...it moved between George Mallory's 1924 ascent of Mt. Everest and his wife's life in Cambridge (historical fiction). My favorite chapters centered on Mallory's climb, but I think this is true because of Rideout's portrayal of Ruth Mallory. I was feeling Ruth's panic & sorrow throughout the novel. Now I would like to read more about Mallory's life & his desire to climb Everest. Fascinating! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca Taub | 1/17/2014

    " Whoa. Tough one to read but knowing it is based on a true story makes it more interesting and appealing. Definitely well written and insightful, just sad! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Megan K | 1/14/2014

    " Effortlessly exciting and heartfelt. A lovely taste of the 1920s, even without the jazz and sex. This book strikes up similar themes to The Paris Wife, which I also loved. You'll fall in love with George and Ruth and the balance they struggle to find when he makes his quest to the top of Everest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy Bauer | 1/12/2014

    " A novelization of the failed (or was it?) 1924 Mallory expedition to Everest. I enjoyed it. It put a more human face on Mallory and spent equal time looking at his wife's situation and the challenge of waiting for him. Despite knowing how the story ends, I thought it was worthwhile. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa K | 1/6/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. Fiction and Documentary rolled into one - a thrilling documentary married to a gentle love story .... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynnette | 1/4/2014

    " The book started off good but dragged through the middle. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tammy Adams | 1/1/2014

    " More like 3.5 stars. Good book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Crestina | 12/11/2013

    " "Because it's there."- George Mallory "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 E Mcleod | 11/3/2013

    " If writing a novel can be compared in any sense to climbing Mount Everest, then Tanis Rideout has clearly summited on her first attempt in her creation of "Above All Things." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura Greenwalt | 10/25/2013

    " Love factual mountaineering books, so hesitant to read a fictional account of Mallory's climb and life, but when all was said and done I really enjoyed it. Well-written and flows easily. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine | 10/8/2013

    " I think "The Paris Wife" meets "Into Thin Air" is an apt description for this historical fiction novel intertwining George Mallory's 1924 Everest attempt and his wife Ruth's difficult wait at home. I enjoyed the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kerry Robinson | 9/12/2013

    " Like others, I knew what the ending would entail but I couldn't gobble up the details fast enough. Best book i've read in a very long time and I'm very sorry it's over. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erin Percy | 8/26/2013

    " Great love story and great adventure story. I have a thing for post WWI England and a live of Everest so this was right up my alley. As much as you will be tempted do not google Mallory beforehand. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pauline Holman | 5/8/2013

    " A heart wrenching love story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 4/28/2013

    " I liked it. Interesting and historical. I feel smarter having read it. I had to check online as soon as I finished to find out more. Three people died climbing Everest while I was reading this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 3/2/2013

    " This was one of the best books I have read in a long while. Really enjoyed this one. "

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About the Author

Tanis Rideout’s work has appeared in numerous publications and has been shortlisted for several prizes, including the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award and the CBC Literary Awards. Born in Belgium, she grew up in Kingston, Ontario, and now lives in Toronto. She is the author of Above All Things.

About the Narrator

Emily Gray grew up in a military family and started audiobook narration in 2001. She has been heard bringing to life the adventures of Becky Bloomwood in Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series. Emily and her husband started the Classics Acting Company in Dallas where she has appeared in The Cherry Orchard.