Author: Sophie Schiller
Publisher: Tradewinds Publishing
Type of book: Tibet, travel, France, 1889-1890, romance, a bit of interracial relationship WMAF, deprivations, survival, force, contest, adventure, mysteries
Year it was published: 2015
"Fans of Jules Verne’s travel adventures will find Schiller has done a solid job of transforming an obscure real-life Victorian expedition into a thrilling yarn." Publishers Weekly.
At a time when no Westerner has seen the holy city of Lhasa or met the Dalai Lama, French explorer Gabriel Bonvalot vows to do the impossible: he launches his own expedition to the Roof of the World with funding from the Duke of Chartres. The only caveat is that Bonvalot must bring along the Duke's wayward son, Prince Henri d'Orléans, a drinker, gambler, and womanizer whose reckless behavior threatens to derail the entire expedition. During the journey, the explorers encounter freezing temperatures, volatile winds, mountain sickness, bandits, duplicitous Chinese Ambans, and a beguiling Tibetan Buddhist princess with a deadly secret. Held as prisoners at 16,000 feet and surrounded by an army of Tibetan soldiers, the explorers find themselves in a desperate fight for survival.
RACE TO TIBET is a thrilling tale of high-altitude adventure and survival set in the world's most forbidden country. Perfect for fans of Jules Verne, and H. Rider Haggard.
The main characters include Gabriel Bonvalot who is an explorer from France and who is best described as a leader who takes his responsibilities very seriously. He is open minded, looked up to by those around him, and isn't conventional. Henri is a young French dilletante who cares more for pleasure and getting in trouble rather than being useful. He is arrogant, enjoys the finer things in life like expensive food, wines and cigars and sees the companions in a servant's role. Unfortunately not much is shown about Camille, although she is very determined and does go pretty far. (Is she based on a real person?) There are supporting characters but they weren't as unique as the main characters though.
Travel changes people and points of view
The story is told in third person narrative mainly from Bonvalot's point of view, although other characters such as Henri and from time to time Tibetans, also lay out their points of view. I do feel that the writing of the story can be improved a bit further, in particular the transitions between points of view, and perhaps the quirks or uniqueness of the supporting characters as well. While I could easily identify the main characters and remember much about them, the supporting characters such as the drivers and those who work for Bonvalot are a bit difficult to recall for me.
Previously I've had a chance to read the author's previous book Spy Island which I found interesting but did feel that the author needed to polish her writing skills a little bit. Race To Tibet did exceed my expectations and it fully showed off the talent and the passion that the author had towards the subject. Its not a perfect book, but it is a wonderful read and when I read it, I felt as if I had gone back in time, especially when it came to France and the way people viewed and saw others. If the reader is new to historical fiction and is looking for something unique, adventurous and that doesn't require memorization of thousand of history books, then this is a good book to try.
This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Blog Tour Schedule4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)