Sacred Mountain by Robert Ferguson is a well-written and interesting story with two parallel narratives, one set in Burma 1943 and one in Nepal and Tibet in 1953.
Our protagonist, Philip Armitage, is the hero of both stories. In one he is fighting the Japanese as a 19-year-old soldier; in the other he is leading an expedition into Tibet at the time of the Chinese invasion.
Both plots are well researched and are full of amazing historical details and written in a pleasing and very authentic style: it is easy to find yourself transported into the localities and the times. Starting with a short prologue that takes you into the middle of the later narrative of 1953, the book then jumps back in time and slowly leads us to the dramatic opening scene – a technique that adds nicely to the already masterful build-up of tension and suspense.
The 1943 narrative serves the characterisation of the main character, while also giving great insight into the life of a soldier in Burma during that war. The 1953 plot provides a lot of information and background that I had not known about. It portrayed wonderfully how the invasion affected the region. There are many aspects to this story and with an interesting character such as Philip as the lead, the book just about presses each one of my buttons.
A novel that shines with competence, elegance, drama and a solid plot.