On his 18th birthday, Wolf Truly takes the tramway to the top of the mountain that looms over Palm Springs, intending to jump to his death. Instead he encounters strangers wandering in the mountain wilderness, three women who will change the course of his life. Through a series of missteps he and the women wind up stranded, in view of the city below, but without a way down. They endure five days in freezing temperatures without food or water or shelter, and somehow find the courage to carry on.
Wolf, now a grown man, has never told his son, or anyone, what happened on the mountain during those five days, but he can't put it off any longer. And in telling the story to his only child, Daniel, he at last explores the nature of the ties that bind and the sacrifices people will make for love. The mountain still has a hold on Wolf, composed of equal parts beauty and terror.
As well as being aware she is an amazingly accomplished author, I liked the idea of the book, I love the outdoors and survival in the wild stories always enthrall me. This is the story, told by a father to his son, of a day out in the mountains gone badly wrong. It's also a story of friendship and family, decisions and sacrifice. Wolf is a brilliant character, his upbringing sadly lacking but he learns loyalty and finds a deep and abiding friendship until something goes badly wrong, leaving him broken and racked with feelings of guilt and loss.
When Wilfred aka Wolf sets out at the age of 18 on what he plans to be his last pilgrimage to the mountain area he loves and respects, he doesn't consider that he might become responsible for anyones survival apart from his own. Joining him in the cable car ascent are three women whose lives are about to become inextricably entwined with his. They all end up stranded on the mountain together with practically NO supplies or appropriate clothing making for a tense and exciting story of survival against the odds which kept me turnig the pages until late in the night.
I was pleased when the 3 women were introduced to the story as I like a book with some female characters I can relate to. BUT I failed to relate to any of these 3 women, who annoyed me almost as soon as they were introduced and instead of growing more likeable in adversity they continued to rattle me.
As a lover of the outdoors I'm afraid I hold the greatest contempt for people who travel with disrespect for the elements. I've clambered uphill, wearing my specialist, all weather survival gear, carrying emergency rations, only to meet women in flimsy summer sandals and thin cotton dresses stumbling down past me and I could shake them I really could, because it's not just their own lives they are putting at risk its the other people with them, the mountain rescue teams who have to risk their lives to come and rescue them if they get into difficulty.
Well these foolish women were like that, one of them is wearing flip flops for Gods sake! And almost everything they do, each decision they make is the wrong one, they are only out there for 5 days and the mishaps and accidents which befall them almost defy belief - but sadly it is believable. It all goes to show what a caring person Wolf is as he takes on responsibility for these hapless souls.
This doesn't detract from the great writing and what turns out a tense and ultimately uplifting story, the womens frailties make it all the more believable and I'm a firm believer that you don't have to like all the main characters in a book to love the book and there are some amazingly strong and realistic suporting characters in here too. It's a super book, one I'd highy recommend to anyone who already loves Lori Lansens and anyone who's new to her writing and likes gritty adventures peopled with real characters with very human strengths and failings.
My thanks to http://www.simonandschuster.com/ for my copy, provided in exchange for an honest review.