Above All Things

Publisher: Emblem Editions

The Paris Wife meets Into Thin Air in this breathtaking novel of love and obsession, which tells the story of George Mallory’s legendary attempt to be the first man to conquer Mount Everest – and of the remarkable woman he left behind to await news of his fate.
 
A captivating blend of historical fact and imaginative fiction, Above All Things moves seamlessly between the epic story of Mallory’s final expedition and a moving account of a day in the life of his wife, Ruth. 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. Drawing on years of research, this powerful and beautifully written novel is a timeless story of desire, redemption, and the lengths we are willing to go for honour, glory, and love.

PRAISE FOR

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, Man Booker Prize–longlisted author of Far to Go
 
“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. . . . A gripping account of the expedition.”
—Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)
 
“Part love story, part high-octane adventure, this historical novel about doomed Everest climber George Mallory is a tough one to put down.”  
—People Magazine
 
“A knockout first novel. . . . The author has exhilaratingly imagined the British climber’s third and final attempt to reach the mountain’s summit in 1924 . . . 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. Your patrons will thank you.”
—Library Journal (STARRED REVIEW)
 
“Captivating . . . [An] enthralling blend of historical fact and imaginative fiction. . . . This book is a must-read. . . The perfect read for anyone lured by the romance of adventure, as the story goes well beyond the vast summit of Everest into much trickier terrain: the unmapped topography of the heart.”
—Globe and Mail
 
“A love story, a tale of adventure, and a study in obsession all at once, Above All Things is simply breathtaking.”
—Joseph Boyden, Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning author of Through Black Spruce
 
“Nothing short of outstanding. . . . Rideout has that all-too-desirable quality most authors strive for: you aren’t reading the story, you’re in it.”
—Kingston Whig Standard
 
“The final chapters, as the two men wage war against the elements and the altitude, are as heart-pounding as anything in Into Thin Air – and the tension is almost unbearable, even if we know the outcome. . . . Rideout’s powerful prose about a tragic, brutal end will haunt you.”
—USA Today
 
Above All Things reaches unimaginable peaks. Prepare your heart. . . . Rideout masterfully crafts an epic love story that . . . touches the very core of the human condition. Rideout leaves readers holding the book close to their chest, knowing that the purpose of life, above all else, is love.”
—Telegraph-Journal 
 
“[An] absorbing, book-club-ready first novel. . . . Rideout’s depiction of the Everest climb pulses with visceral detail.”
—Entertainment Weekly, A-
 
“I loved this novel. Even though the outcome is known, Rideout’s beautiful prose and masterful storytelling elevate the book above the stacks of other recent novels.”
—Quill & Quire (STARRED REVIEW)
 
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
 
“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
 
“Rideout manages to create, with great skill, an atmosphere of tension and suspense which leaves the reader eager to turn pages. . . . Above All Things is both engrossing and elegantly written. A tour de force in superb story-telling.”
—London Free Press
 
“Truly mesmerizing, a powerful weaving of the tensions and heartaches of a marriage in conflict with an obsession. . . . A deeply satisfying blend of truth and imagination.”
—Kate Alcott, author of The Dressmaker
 
“Rideout’s debut is provocative, challenging, captivating and polished – quite possibly perfect.”
—CBC Books, 10 Canadian Writers to Watch