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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Lion of Khum Jung is a mountaineering adventure novel written by Ronald Bagliere. Frank Kincaid had been stunned when he learned that the widow Madden and her son were coming to Everest and had booked with Khum Jung Mountaineering, which was his own small company. While the accident that had claimed Steve Madden’s life and that of his Sherpa had happened decades ago, Frank was still angry and embittered over the loss of his best friend, Pasang, who had stayed with the stubborn American rather than leave him behind. The deaths had been entirely avoidable and underscored the importance that anyone who climbed Everest should listen to their Sherpas and obey their instructions implicitly. Madden’s son, Greg, would be climbing, while his mother, Sarah, would accompany them to Base Camp. Meeting them for the first time, Frank could sense the tension between the mother and her twenty-eight-year-old son who definitely did not want his mother along. Frank was anything but impressed by the woman, who seemed ready to turn her nose up at everything he loved about his adopted homeland, and taking her son up to the summit was not going to be a pleasant experience.
Ronald Bagliere’s mountaineering adventure novel, The Lion of Khum Jung, gets the reader instantly immersed in the challenges and dangers of climbing Everest, and the risks Sherpas take on a daily basis in shepherding their clients to the summit. Bagliere’s own love of adventure and mountaineering gives this story an authentic, you-are-there feeling, and I was swiftly hooked into the decades-old fascination with Everest once again. I’ve long been intrigued by stories about Everest and was thrilled to discover this book. My only regret, one I shared with Greg, was that his mother had invited herself along, and I found myself sympathizing with the one lone climber in the group that had a parental figure on site and ever vociferously present throughout his adventure. Getting to know Sarah, and to appreciate her own path of self-knowledge and growth, was hence a bit harder initially than was following the experiences of her son and of Frank. Bagliere’s plot is engaging, and his mountaineering scenes are awesome indeed. The Lion of Khum Jung is most highly recommended.