The great mystery that still exists, however, is whether Mt Everest was in fact conquered 29 years earlier by George Mallory and his climbing partner, Andrew Irvine on Mallory's third attempt in 1924, having tried and failed twice previously in 1921 and 1922. It was claimed Mallory had two great loves, his wife Ruth and Mt Everest, and he declared, that should he ever reach Everest's summit he would leave a photograph of his wife. When his body was discovered 75 years after he disappeared, several clues suggested that he may have succeeded, one of which was that the photograph of his wife was missing.
Jeffrey Archer in his book Paths of Glory examines the life of George Mallory from his sixth year until he died, days short of his 38th birthday. Archer paints a vivid picture of a man driven by a great passion. The story, drawn from extensive writings on the man, history written of the times, and personal letters to his wife while on his several expeditions, paints a vivid and insightful portrait of a man loyal to friends and family, strong in character and one honest and true to his passion - to be the first man to conquor the highest peak in the world.
A beautifully constructed story that presents a credible and realistic alternative to, what may have been, the first conquest of Mt Everest by the man who was credited with having said, when asked the question "Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?" replied simply, "Because it's there".