Peak Marcello and his friends Alessia and Ethan are eager to put their ill-fated climbing expedition in the Pamir Mountains behind them as they plan to summit Burma’s highest mountain, Hkakabo Razi.
Before they get there, however, Peak and his friends endure a trek through harsh tropical rainforests, encounter the military police, and even help repair a broken rope bridge. As they weather complex and dangerous situations, the young climbers learn that their previous guide, the mahout Lwin, has murdered a girl and is on the run. The narrative is fast-paced and filled with extreme outdoor adventure, and the details about mountain climbing are both thorough and interesting. Although some characters are diverse (Alessia is French, and the climbers’ botanist friend and guide, Nick, is biracial Burmese and British), the narrative employs a primarily Western and androcentric worldview. For instance, Peak refuses to wear a lungi, the traditional male saronglike garment, despite how well-adapted it is for the sweltering heat of the rainforest, instead making a derogatory comment about skirts. The one-dimensionality of the characters and the assumption that readers will be familiar with situations and characters from the preceding books in the series render the novel discordant at times.
An absorbing wilderness story that falls flat in characterization. (Adventure. 12-18)