A yeti? Jawohl!
Simmons (The Terror, 2007, etc.) never met an opportunity for allusive terror that he didn’t like, and though his latest is set mostly in the Himalayas, he pays quiet tribute to Poe’s Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and perhaps Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, with a dash of Raiders of the Lost Ark for leavening. The last, after all, introduced us to the possibility of an Asian mountain range swarming with operatives of the budding Third Reich—but of that, lest spoilers result, let us speak no more. The premise is lovely: A memoirist, years after the fact, turns his manuscript over to a published writer for—well, not fame and fortune, but to find the one, just the one, ideal reader. He is one of three climbers who, having heard of the death of Mallory while having lunch after a hard climb of the Matterhorn, decide to head to Everest and find out what happened to their fallen idol. Weird possibilities ensue, including the apparent prospect that Mallory was felled, as were other climbers, by abominable (whence the title) snowmen eager to protect their mountain fastness. But perhaps not, given, as the Allied team (an American, a Briton and a Frenchman) find themselves in the cross hairs of eight-millimeter firearms “[p]opular with the Austrians and Hungarians in pistols designed before the War by Karel Krnka and Georg Roth...later produced by Germans for infantry officers.” A bummer to discover such things in the midst of howling spin drifts five miles above the sea, but what’s a becramponed fellow to do?
Simmons never once blinks in the face of the improbable, and he serves up a lively, eminently entertaining adventure that would do Edgar Allan Poe—and even Rudyard Kipling—proud.