Paths of Glory.

By Jeffrey Archer

Printed: 2009

Publisher: Macmillan. London

Edition: First edition

Dimensions 17 × 24 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 17 x 24 x 4

Buy Now

Item information


In the original dustsheet. Black cloth binding with silver title on the spine.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

Inspired by a true story, Paths of Glory brings to life one of history’s enduringly enigmatic figures in a stunning novel from bestselling author Jeffrey Archer.Some people have dreams that are so outrageous that if they were to achieve them, their place in history would be guaranteed. Francis Drake, Robert Scott, Percy Fawcett, Charles Lindbergh, Amy Johnson, Edmund Hillary and Neil Armstrong are among such individuals. But what if one man had such a dream, and when he’d fulfilled it, there was no proof that he had achieved his ambition?

Paths of Glory is the story of such a man. But not until you’ve turned the last page of Jeffrey Archer’s extraordinary novel, will you be able to decide if mountaineer George Mallory should be added to this list of legends, because if he were, another name would have to be removed.

Review: A thought provoking, romantic, and truly passionate novel, Paths of Glory is inspiration in literal form.

Paths of Glory is a novelization of one of history’s great “what ifs”, namely, did Mallory conquer Everest first? While the subject matter itself was not sufficient mental stimulation, the format of the story only enhances its readability. It is a trip back in time to the early twentieth century, complete with mannerisms, dialogue, fashion and sensibilities. The reader is fully immersed in a world of Edwardian sensibilities, old values, chivalry and romantic aspirations of service for King and Country. To say that the setting is well researched is something of an understatement, Archer recreates the feel of the period to truly give the reader a sense of total immersion.

The recreation of the era is not the only work of literal rendering, the recreation of the brutal reality of high altitude mountaineering is delivered with an intensity that takes the reader to the perilous slopes of Everest. The brutal reality of high altitude mountaineering is conveyed with an intensity that at times creates feelings of deterrence to the adventure minded, and at other times, feelings of inspiration.

A true strength of the novel is the characterization. One is easily drawn to Mallory’s adventurous, and at times, rebellious nature, and his sense of chivalry and romantic devotion. There are many other likeable characters, such as the roguish, yet highly skilled Finch, and the young and talented Irvine. However, Mallory’s relationship with his wife is perhaps the main component of the novel, second to his love affair with Everest, referred to by its native name, Chomolungma.

Despite the variation between the brutal intensity of mountaineering, and the more casual nature of 1920s life, the novel has a constant state of suspense, with the reader wondering whether Mallory will make a second attempt, regardless of the fact that the outcome is already known by the reader from the outset.

While the novel does lean favorably on the Mallory side of the great “what if?” The reader ultimately has to make up his own mind regarding Mallory’s costly achievement, though this reader does rule in Mallory’s favor.

A novel of adventure, chivalry, and daring ambition, Paths of Glory is not only a thoroughly enjoyable read, but a true inspiration likely to kindle the very nature of human ambition.


George Herbert Leigh-Mallory (18 June 1886 – 8 or 9 June 1924) was an English mountaineer who participated in the first three British Mount Everest expeditions from the early to mid-1920s.

Born in Mobberley, Cheshire, Mallory became a student at Winchester College, where a teacher recruited him for an excursion in the Alps, and he developed a strong natural ability for climbing. After graduating from Magdalene College, Cambridge, he taught at Charterhouse School while honing his climbing skills in the Alps and English Lake District. He served in the British Army during the First World War and fought at the Somme.

After the war, Mallory returned to Charterhouse before resigning to participate in the 1921 British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition. In 1922, he took part in a second expedition to make the first ascent of the world’s highest mountain, in which his team achieved a world altitude record of 27,300 ft (8,321 m) using supplemental oxygen. Once, when asked by a reporter why he wanted to climb Everest, Mallory purportedly replied, “Because it’s there.”


                North Face of Everest, altitudes of various discoveries, the Three Steps, and its summit

During the 1924 expedition, Mallory and his climbing partner, Andrew “Sandy” Irvine, disappeared on the Northeast Ridge of Everest. The last sighting of the pair was approximately 800 vertical feet (some 240 metres) from the summit. Mallory’s body was discovered and identified 75 years later, on 1 May 1999, by a research expedition that had set out to search for the climbers’ remains. Whether Mallory and Irvine reached the summit before they died remains a subject of debate, various theories, and continuing research


Jeffrey Archer is one of the world’s bestselling authors, with sales of over 275 million copies in 97 countries, and is the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction (twenty times), short stories (four times) and non-fiction (The Prison Diaries). He was born in London, and brought up in the West Country. He gained a Blue in Athletics at Oxford, was President of the University Athletics Club, and went on to run the 100 yards in 9.6 seconds for Great Britain in 1966. Jeffrey has served five years in the House of Commons as a Member of Parliament, and thirty years as a Member of the House of Lords.

He has written 27 novels, 7 sets of short stories, 3 prison diaries, 3 plays (all of which have been performed in London’s West End) and a gospel. His first novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less was sold to 17 countries within a year. It was also made into a successful serial for BBC Radio 4, and was later televised in 1990 by the BBC. He won the Prix Relay du Roman d’Évasion, a prize that rewards a novel in which readers can ‘escape from everyday life’, for his novel Paths of Glory, and the Prix Polar International Prize for the best international thriller of the year, for his novel A Prisoner of Birth. The Clifton Chronicles, a series of seven novels published between 2011-2017, topped the bestseller lists around the world.

Famous for his discipline as a writer who works on up to fourteen drafts of each book, Jeffrey also brings a vast amount of insider knowledge to his books. Whether it’s his own career in politics, his passionate interest in art, or the wealth of fascinating background detail – inspired by the extraordinary network of friends he has built over a lifetime at the heart of Britain’s establishment – his novels provide a fascinating glimpse into a range of closed worlds.

Jeffrey is also an amateur auctioneer, conducting up to 20 charity auctions a year. He has been married to Dame Mary Archer, Chair of the Science Museum Group, for 55 years, and they have two sons, two granddaughters and three grandsons. He splits his time between London, Cambridge and Mallorca – where he writes the first draft of each new novel.

Want to know more about this item?

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about this item. In addition, it is also possible to request more photographs if there is something specific you want illustrated.
Ask a question

Share this Page with a friend