Book review: The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go
December 1, 2014 8 Comments
From the publishers: “In 1924, the English mountaineer Ashley Walsingham dies attempting to summit Mount Everest, leaving his fortune to his former lover, Imogen Soames-Andersson—whom he has not seen in seven years. Ashley’s solicitors search in vain for Imogen, but the estate remains unclaimed.
Nearly eighty years later, new information leads the same law firm to Tristan Campbell, a young American who could be the estate’s rightful heir. If Tristan can prove he is Imogen’s descendant, the inheritance will be his. But with only weeks before Ashley’s trust expires, Tristan must hurry to find the evidence he needs.
From London archives to Somme battlefields to the Eastfjords of Iceland, Tristan races to piece together the story behind the unclaimed riches: a reckless love affair pursued only days before Ashley’s deployment to the Western Front; a desperate trench battle fought by soldiers whose hope is survival rather than victory; an expedition to the uncharted heights of the world’s tallest mountain. Following a trail of evidence that stretches to the far edge of Europe, Tristan becomes consumed by Ashley and Imogen’s story. But as he draws close to the truth, Tristan realizes he may be seeking something more than an unclaimed fortune.”
The Steady Running of the Hour: What I thought
Many fairy tales and fantasy tales are about quests: something must be found within a certain time or… (disaster). Here, the disaster is in the form of missing out on many millions of pounds if Tristan can’t prove he’s the heir of a great-grandmother he’s never heard of.
Tristan likes the quest more than the money, it seems. He’s not rich, but the amount of money he might be entitled to is too large to fathom. Also, he is not at all sure whether he can prove he’s actually the heir. He goes on a tour of Europe to find bits and pieces to support his theory of what the family tree really looks like. The tour of Europe is fun even if it never becomes very exciting: the evidence he finds is weak and the solicitors in London who sent him on this trip are discouraging.
Intermixed with the story of Tristan is the story of a young man in the first world war. While it was interesting to learn a bit more about the terrible life of the soldiers in the trenches and about his Himalaya trip, the historical story took up too much of the book, I thought.
The story went a little too slow for me and the ending… well, I’d love to have actually read what how *that* conversation went rather than it being glossed over.
If you’re a historical novel reader, you will enjoy the parts in the past. The contemporary story was a little weak and didn’t hold my interest as much as a quest should.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (okay to good)
Number of pages: 480
First published: 2014
I got this: borrowed it from the library
Genre: historical fiction/contemporary fiction