The Ice Soldier
It’s London in the 1950s and secondary school teacher William Bromley is trying to forget about his misadventures in World War II, particularly a deadly mission that he led in the Italian Alps as part of the British military’s mountaineering corps. Then renowned climber Henry Carton — uncle of his dissolute buddy Stanley — makes a posthumous request that he return to that fateful Alpine peak. While Paul Watkins nimbly toggles between Bromley’s two big climbs in The Ice Soldier, the climax of each is a bit of a letdown. Still, the author nails the dynamics of male-dominated environments and viscerally conveys the perils of mountaineering in staccato prose that would make Hemingway proud (”Then I was just falling. Whiteness thundered all around me”).