Book review: The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go

The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin GoThe Steady Running of the Hour: What it is about

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



About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

8 Responses to Book review: The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go

  1. mihrank says:

    great and informative!

  2. bibliosue says:

    Justin Go was at the Booktopia I attended in Boulder in May and our discussion group had a great conversation (friendly argument perhaps) with him about the way he chose to end the novel. I liked this book a lot, but I agree the historical and contemporary weren’t as even as they should have been.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Great to discuss the book in the company of the writer, Suzanne! I read it for my book club and we thought it was a little too slow.

    • Giampaolo says:

      Please, let me know what Go said about the ending. I’m an italian reader and I loved the book, though I read it translated. Giampaolo

      • Leeswammes says:

        Hi Giampaolo, I’m sorry, but I don’t know what Go himself says about the book. And as far as endings are concerned… I never spoil the story for my readers! 🙂

  3. In general i haven’t heard great things about this book, but i still want to read it. I’m kind of obsessed with Everest and so I think I’ll give it a go.

  4. New title to me as well. It sounds like it had potential.

  5. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea says:

    Your review was an eye opener. I have this book and had no idea that this was what it was about. Not sure it is my kind of book.

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