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The Ascent

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  314 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Having lost himself in extreme sports since the death of his wife, sculptor Tim Overleigh joins a team of men bent on climbing the Godesh Ridge in Nepal in order to stop his downward spiral. Only to find what was supposed to be a journey based in Tibetan mysticism to be an experiment in terror.
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Medallion Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Well, that was fun. I should have read this book when the weather was warmer, as I'm cold enough as it is. I had to read half the book under the duvet.

Tim OverLeigh, who is (was) a sculptor and teacher, is offered the trip of a lifetime, when he happens to meet Andrew Trumbauer at the Filibuster bar where he's trying to drain his sorrows away. He met Trumbauer a few years earlier: as he was a friend of Tim's wife, Hannah. Since the death of his wife; which he blames himself for, he's been unabl
Oct 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
How often do you come across a thriller that genuinely thrills? Malfi here with The Ascent has accomplished just that. This book was awesome, I couldn't put it down, finished it in about 3 hours. There is so much going on here, it's a story of redemption, love, revenge, survival, camaraderie, perseverance and all tucked into an umbrella of a grand action packed adventure. Malfi's strength as an author really shines through here, elevating the book (no pun intended) above the average action adven ...more
Nov 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, horror
The build up is great and intense but after the reveal, it declines. It's not terrible but it's not as good as Bone White. ...more
Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
In Ronald Malfi’s The Ascent, thrill-seeking sculptor Tim Overleigh is invited on a treacherous hike through Nepalese mountains that have killed nearly everyone who’s attempted to cross them. Having lost his wife a year or so earlier, and his ability to sculpt with her, Overleigh agrees. Unfortunately for Tim, and the other men invited on the climb, the harsh cold and hostile terrain might be the least treacherous part of the journey.

The Ascent is best categorized as a thriller and the easiest d
Kevin Lucia
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure why it took me so long to read this - been sitting on my shelf for ages. Anyway, it's what you would expect from a Malfi novel: emotional wrenching story about a man facing his darker nature, fighting through that to the light on the other side. Excellent plot twist, also! ...more
Rachel Bea
review to come, I'm tired right now ...more
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
Hate to say this but the story seemed kinda pointless.
John Wiltshire
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This is quite a good story and definitely for anyone interested in mountaineering, as a trip to the Himalayas forms the major part of the tale. There are elements of the supernatural which reminded me of Sarah Lotz's novel The White Road, which is also set during a climbing expedition to the Himalayas.
(view spoiler)
Rob Twinem
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it
A good story by one of my favourite authors, but not his best. Tim Overleigh haunted by the death of his wife Hannah has departed on a journey to seek out the elusive Canyon of Lost Souls in Nepal. He is accompanied by a motley crew and under the leadership of his friend Andrew they embark on a perilous journey that will have devastating results and a bloody conclusion.
The real winner in this story is the descriptive and colourful prose as our happy band of travellers face the perilous conditi
Russell James
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Tim Overleigh, a stalled sculptor derailed by self-destructive tendencies and the death of his ex-wife, accepts an invitation to trek to the Himalayan Valley of Souls, a mythical location. The invitation comes from Andrew Trumbauer, a shadowy man whose life intersected both Tim and his ex-wife’s past.
Malfi gathers a great cast for this perilous mountain journey and sets them in a frozen location so well-described you’ll shiver reading this at the beach in summer. Great prose highlights a page tu
Emily Crow
My favorite by Ronald Malfi so far, in which a our protagonist, Tim Overleigh, is lured into joining an ill-fated band of trekkers heading for the mysterious (fictional) Canyon of Souls in the Himalayas. Things seem off about this trip from the start: they are warned they are hiking into forbidden, sacred ground; their leader, a charismatic dare-devil, is acting strangely; Tim is struggling with depression and alcohol withdrawal; some of the other members of the party are clearly unqualified for ...more
Hunter Shea
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant, taut thriller. Reading it on an 80 degree day, I was shivering!
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Ascent was a perfect chilly-month read. All the great elements of survival horror were here, and it kept me wondering who to trust the entire time. Once this book got going, it did not stop. The ending didn't *quite* live up to the rest of the book - but don't let that deter you, because this was still fantastic. ...more
Sandy Lewis
Jan 10, 2021 rated it liked it
A Classic revenge story with survivalists and supernatural elements contained within; while interesting never really resonated with this reader.
Giovanni Gelati
Sep 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing

I had to wonder about the title of this, as I began to read it all the action was happening underground in a cave. I quickly got over that and moved on as the action was beginning to kick into high gear. This novel covers a lot of ground both geographically and emotionally. Here is a synopsis of the novel so maybe you can better understand what I mean:
“After the death of his wife, successful sculptor Tim Overleigh trades in his lucrative career for the world of extreme sports. But when a caving
Daniel Rudge
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the second book of Malfi's that I've read (Floating Staircase) and I absolutely loved this book. Malfi has a way of setting a disturbing tone to his books and this book was at points disturbing and at other points retrospective. In the Ascent, we are treated to some excellent prose, and some interesting although not immediately likable characters. After the death of his wife in a car accident, Tim Overleigh falls in to a state of despondency. He attempts extreme sports which ultimately a ...more
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"It's no death wish coming out here. The death wish would have been to stay home."

I just finished Ronald Malfi's newest book THE NIGHT PARADE and was in the mood for another of his stories. I've had THE ASCENT for a while and love books with cold and snow in them for some reason so it was a no-brainer to read this one.

This is different from other Malfi horror books I've read - this is more about the damage men can do to their fellow man.

Tim Overleigh is an accomplished sculptor, that is until h
Tony-Paul Vissage
In some novels, you can guess what’s going to happen, in some you haven’t a clue. The Ascent is one of the latter. It’s also one you won’t put down once you start it, so don’t begin reading late at night. I can usually figure out what’s going on but this time… I was only going to start a few pages… Right. I didn’t put it down until I read the last sentence. As usual in Mr. Malfi’s novels, his characters are delineated realistically; they’re not superheroes, just people only half-aware of what th ...more
Pamela Scott

The Ascent blew me away. It turned out to be a different book than the one I was expecting. In a good way. I thought it would be a run-of the-mill sinister novel about bad shit happening in the middle of nowhere. It was but it sort of wasn’t. The Ascent is brilliantly paced, building up tension until it becomes unbearable to read. I felt like I was right there with Tim and the rest of the group during the ill-fated trip. I was unsettled from page one until
Sidney Prescott
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Ronald Malfi is a horror master and he's quickly become one of my top five favorite horror authors. The Ascent is a fascinating, realistic read and so incredibly well done.

Malfi's strong suit is his characters and this book is no different. All of them were fleshed out, realistic and amazing. I felt for everyone in this book. The atmosphere is so incredibly created that I could picture every mountain, every turn, every adventure. While the horror itself is minimal in this story, it's an all
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love stories like; Mountain climbing, Survival, treacherous paths, pitfalls, accidental deaths, suspense, mystery and murder? This covers it all. It takes quite a bit to keep me interested in something and if it doesn't grab me from the get-go, I'll probably throw in the towel. Seeing that I read the whole story from beginning to end says a lot me anyway. I thought it was a fantastic read, page turner to say the least. Very suspenseful story with a phenomenal plot twist. Really ...more
Jeff Heimbuch
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Going to Nepal and, at the very least, being able to see Everest, has always been a dream of mine. Despite his claims to never have been there himself, Malfi does an excellent job of making the reader think he has! Combine that with a fantastic thriller, and you get one book that I couldn't put down. Excellently written, and masterfully executed. I highly recommend it, even if there was a severe lack of pheasant paintings. ...more
Jan 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
I enjoyed this book tremendously. It was a fast read, the writing is smooth, the dialogue well done. Highly recommend.
What would you do as you watch your world slip away, piece by piece like the chisel to the granite which was your passion for so very long? The very passion that cost Tim Overleigh his wife Rachel, driving her away as second best right into the arms of another man, David Moore, a man of sophistication who tried to captivate the fair Rachel's heart. While driving through the countryside in Europe, the car careened over the ledge, David and Rachel dying soon after leaving such a hole in Tim's life ...more
M. Sprouse
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
In this story a famous sculptor is grieving and guilty over the death of his wife who had left him. This Tim Overleigh has a death wish. With some encouragement and manipulation from others, it leads him to join an expedition to a spiritual place high in the Himalayan Mountains. Soon he discovers he not only wants to live, but also wants his fellow climbers to survive.

This read was quite an adventure, with hints of mysticism and horror. I enjoyed it quite a bit and would have enjoyed it more if
T.L. Bodine
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I first read Malfi’s "Bone White" and was impressed by it, but this one is even better. A once-famous sculptor falls to thrill-seeking and alcoholism after his wife dies, and a chance encounter sends him following a frenemy deep into the Himalayas to embark on a dangerous expedition. It’s compulsively readable, a really good adventure with actually well-drawn characters (something a lot of adventure novels skimp on). Heartily recommend (even if the ending is a little lackluster compared to the r ...more
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it
The last couple of Malfi books I reviewed I started with a WOW!. Not quite with this story, but it was quite good. The horror in this novel is about how people treat each other and the extremes they put themselves through. This is a good book, just not a great book like the last few from the author.
David Walker
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! I love this book. I’ve now read two of Ronald Malfi’s books (Snow), and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both. This was an intelligent thriller that tightropes the line between horror and andventure. Read it, you won’t be disappointed. David
Marnie Zorn
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another home run by Ronald Malfi. I have not encountered one bad read by Ronald. I now look forward to all his new novels. I'm hoping the next one is soon on the way. ...more
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Horror Aficionados : The Ascent 16 52 Feb 13, 2017 06:29AM  

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Ronald Malfi is an award-winning author of many novels and novellas in the horror, mystery, and thriller genres. In 2011, his novel, Floating Staircase, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for best novel by the Horror Writers Association, and also won a gold IPPY award. His most recent novel, Bone White, about a man searching for his lost twin in the wilds of Alaska, is currently in development ...more

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