Review | The White Road blends action, adventure and horror in a tale of thrill seeking gone wrong
Sarah Lotz’s fourth novel goes from caving disaster in Wales to the summit of Everest, in a twisting narrative
by Sarah Lotz
Hodder & Stoughton
South Africa-based novelist Sarah Lotz writes the literary equivalents of old-school cinematic blockbusters. The White Road, her fourth novel, offers a blend of action, adventure and uncanny horror. Our hero is Simon Newman, who despite being a self-confessed thrill seeker has reservations about descending into the infamous Cwm Porth cave in Wales. His mission, to help publicise his friend’s new website, is to film the spot where three previous potholers lost their lives. What Simon captures does indeed go viral, but not for the proposed reasons. Driven by guilt and a taste of global fame, Simon accepts a second assignment, to climb Everest, little suspecting what he will find at the top. Lotz draws on previous stories – Joe Simpson’s Touching the Void (1988), Michelle Paver’s Thin Air (2016) and Brit horror flick The Descent (2005) – but seduces thanks to her gift for atmosphere, a complex central protagonist and a cascade of devilish twists.