Kirkus Star


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A Polish youth, arrested on trumped-up charges of spying against Russia, is tortured to the extreme edge of physical and mental endurance, and in a mock trial doomed to hard labor in Siberia for 25 years. With six fellow convicts, and later a girl found in the forests, and aided by the Commandant's wife, an amazing escape is effected. And after the horror of prison, they go on to the harrowing crossing of desert and mountain across the endless Siberian wasteland. And there are the resonant echoes too of all small, frightened people seeking freedom, refuge, dignity. The snow and hunger are formidable opponents- as is their own weakness; they skirt Lake Boikel, cut across the Trans-Siberian railway, pass through the Gobi Desert, enter Tibet, and in a final ascent of the Himalayas achieve their goal in India. They learn to subsist on snake meat and subdue their thirst with mud; they face the famous ""abominable snowmen"" of other high altitude adventurers; four die.... It is a quite fantastic narrative, its intensity never lessens, and it belongs in the annals of ordeal and survival with David Howarth's We Die Alone, etc. That will be the market to try.

Pub Date: April 25th, 1956
Publisher: Harper