The Temptation of Forgiveness – Donna Leon

The Temptation of Forgiveness - Donna Leon
The Temptation of Forgiveness – Donna Leon

Set against the familiar background of Italian corruption at all levels, The Temptation of Forgiveness is our 27th police procedural in the erudite company of Commissario Guido Brunetti.

When a man is found badly injured after a late night attack on the steps of one of Venice’s many bridges, the victim’s wife turns out to be one of Paola’s colleagues, who’d recently spoken with Brunetti concerning her son’s suspected use of drugs.

As Brunetti and his colleagues – Commissario Griffoni,  Ispettore Vianello and Signorina Elettra – investigate, preconceptions and prejudices come into play, and moral dilemmas abound.

Publisher page: The Temptation of Forgiveness – Donna Leon

The Solitude of Thomas Cave – Georgina Harding

The Solitude of Thomas Cave - Georgina Harding
The Solitude of Thomas Cave – Georgina Harding

An account of the winter of 1616/1617 spent by Suffolk whaler-sailor, Thomas Cave, somewhere in the Arctic.

Alone, apart from the memories of his wife and child.

Splendid descriptions of ice and cold, the winter darkness and yearning for the return of the sun.

Publisher’s page: The Solitude of Thomas Cave – Georgina Harding

A Mountain in Tibet – Charles Allen

A Mountain in Tibet - Charles Allen
A Mountain in Tibet – Charles Allen

Charles Allen‘s superb history of the explorations in India, Nepal and Tibet in search of the source of the four holy rivers – Brahmaputra, Ganges, Indus and Sutlej – and the water flows between the lakes of Rakshas Tal and Manasarovar and beyond, lying at the feet of mythic Mt Kailash. It’s mainly Europeans, but old friend Ekai Kawaguchi makes an appearance too.

Should have read it before my own exploration, courtesy of Wild Frontiers back in 2010, to appreciate that history, that of the ancient kingdom of Guge and its capital Tsaparang.

Publisher page: A Mountain in Tibet: The Search for Mount Kailas and the Sources of the Great Rivers of India – Charles Allen

Looking out over the ruins, and east along the Sutlej river valley, from the top of Tsaparang citadel, Guge, Tibet
Looking out over the ruins, and east along the Sutlej river valley, from the top of Tsaparang citadel, Guge, Tibet

 

High Albania – Edith Durham

High Albania - Edith Durham
High Albania – Edith Durham

Edith Durham  (1863 – 1944) was an English artist, anthropologist/ethnologist and writer who travelled and worked in Albania between 1900 and 1914. One of those intrepid Victorian/Edwardian female explorers, High Albania is her account of her travels in Northern Albania in 1908, the time of the Young Turks and the end of the Ottoman Empire.

Lots of late nights, early mornings, conversations with Albanians and Franciscans, blood feuds, besa and firing of pistols.

A perfect read before, during and after our week walking in the Accursed Mountains.

Abebooks.co.uk: High Albania – Edith Durham

Goodreads review: High Albania – Edith Durham

The White Spider – Heinrich Harrer

The White Spider - Heinrich Harrer
The White Spider – Heinrich Harrer

A slow start – impenetrable style – but the going got easier as this account of attempts to climb the North Face of the Eiger progressed year by year.

Heinrich Harrer, of Seven Years In Tibet fame, was in the group of climbers who made the first successful ascent, in 1938.

Recalling my Urus ascent during 2015’s Cordillera Blanca Traverse, these words on page 83 resonated:

“Those hours between night and day are always a keen challenge to one’s courage. One’s body goes mechanically through the correct movements essential to gaining height; but the spirit is not yet awake nor full of the joy of climbing, the heart is shrouded in a cloak of doubt and diffidence….

They have to reconcile themselves with their own shortcomings and with constraining feelings; they have to subject themselves to the willpower already geared to the enterprise in hand. And so the first hour, the hour of the grey, shapeless, colourless dusk before dawn, is an hour of silence.”

Publisher page: The White Spider – Heinrich Harrer (translated by Hugh Merrick)

First light, Urus ascent, Cordillera Blanca Traverse, Peru 2015
First light, Urus ascent, Cordillera Blanca Traverse, Peru 2015