“Drag and Drop for Windows users: DRAG your peecee off your desk, and DROP it in the trash.” — some forum member’s tagline
“My dear friend, when grief presses you to the dust, worship there.” — C. H. Spurgeon
“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” — Martin Luther
“Even if you are on the right track, but just sit there, you will still get run over.” — Will Rogers
“Luther once said, ‘The devil hates goose quills,’ and, doubtless, he has good reason, for ready writers, by the Holy Spirit’s blessing, have done his kingdom much damage.” — C. H. Spurgeon
“Be as careful of the books you read as of the company you keep, for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as by the latter.” — Paxton Hood
“Dreams don’t work unless you do.” — John C. Maxwell
“The measure of a great teacher isn’t what he or she knows; it’s what the students know.” — John C. Maxwell
“The glory of great men should always be measured by the means they have used to acquire it.” — La Rochefoucauld
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." — Edmund Burke
“People fall in private, long before they fall in public. The tree falls with a great crash, but the secret decay which accounts for it, is often not discovered until it is down on the ground.” — J. C. Ryle
“Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your own living room by people you wouldn’t have in your house.” — David Frost
“Self-righteousness is being more aware of and irritated by the sins of others than you are conscious of and grieved by your own.” — Paul Tripp
“We should never do what we cannot pray God to bless.” — James Smith
“I’m not lost.” — Frank Churchill
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” — Sir Richard Steele
“When she married you, she gave you her life to spend. Are you spending your life wisely?” — Dan Horn
“I will keep the ground that God has given me and perhaps in his grace, he will ignite me again. But ignite me or not, in his grace, in his power, I will hold the ground.” — John Knox
“Man does not need to know exhaustively in order to know truly and certainly.” — Cornelius Van Til
“Question everything but Scripture.” — Geoff Botkin
“What is the best safeguard against false doctrine? The Bible regularly read, regularly prayed over, regularly studied.” — J. C. Ryle
“The very familiarity of blessings sometimes makes us insensible to their value."— J. C. Ryle
“People who have time on their hands will inevitably waste the time of people who have work to do.” — Thomas Sowell
“TV. If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they’ll have with twenty-six. Open your child’s imagination. Open a book.” — Unknown
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.” — St. Augustine
"When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy." — Corrie ten Boom
“[T]he ministry of Satan is employed to instigate the reprobate, whenever the Lord, in the course of his providence, has any purpose to accomplish in them...” — John Calvin (Institutes 2.4.5)
“People will not look forward to posterity who will not look backward to their ancestors.” — Edmund Burke
“True education is not giving in the answer, it’s in showing them how to find it.” — Kelly Crawford
“Heaven is eternity in the presence of God through a Mediator. Hell is eternity in the presence of God with no Mediator.” — Tony Reinke
“A lot of men have a wishbone where they ought to have a backbone.” — Unknown
“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they simply make the best of everything they have.” — Unknown
“Non-Christian investigators of nature are as successful as they are because they work with stolen capital.” — Cornelius Van Til
“I began my education at a very early age—in fact, right after I left college.” — Winston Churchill
“I find television very educational. Every time someone turns it on, I go in the other room and read a book.” — Groucho Marx
“[N]ot one particle remains to man as a ground of boasting. The whole is of God.” — John Calvin (Institutes 2.3.6)
“Some people get an education without going to college; the rest get it after they get out.” — Mark Twain
“I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.” — Jackie Mason
“One proud, surly, lordly word, one needless contention, one covetous action, may cut the throat of many a sermon. Take heed to yourselves, lest your example contradict your doctrine.” — Richard Baxter
“Music is a discipline, and a mistress of order and good manners, she makes the people milder and gentler, more moral and more reasonable.” — Martin Luther
“The cold water of persecution is often thrown on the church’s face to fetch her to herself when she is in a swoon of indolence or pride.” — C. H. Spurgeon
“Paul’s life was a prophetic book for Jews to read and see how to be saved, so our lives should be an easy to read book for the lost on how they can easily be saved.” — Ken Ham
“Thanks, modest girls. Appreciated by a male whose time studying the ground is proportional to each degree of rising temperature.” — Unknown
“Good government generally begins in the family, and if the moral character of a people once degenerate, their political character must soon follow.” — Elias Boudinot
“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” — C. S. Lewis
“Every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country.” — George Washington
“A ship in the harbor is safe—but that is not what ships are built for.” — John Shedd
“If you don’t fear God, you’ll fear everything.” — Dan Horn
— February 22nd, 2012 —
“It stands unconquered, the last great summit of the alps. Only one man has ever dared to approach the top, and that man died in his pursuit. He was Josef Matt, Rudi Matt’s father.
At sixteen, Rudi is determined to pay tribute to the man he never knew, and complete the quest that claimed his father’s life. And so, taking his father’s red shirt as a flag, he heads off to face the earth’s most challenging peak. But before Rudi can reach the top, he must pass through the forbidden Fortress, the gaping chasm in the high reaches of the Citadel [the mountain] where his father met his end. Rudi has followed Josef’s footsteps as far as they will take him. Now he must search deep within himself to find the strength for the final ascent to the summit—to plant his banner in the sky.” — from the back cover
I have mixed feelings about this book, so I’ll deal with the positive first, and then the negative.
The book is about a young man, Rudi Matt, who lives in the village of Kurtal, a small village at the foot of the Alps. Mountaineering is in the blood of every man in the village, and every nearby peak has been conquered…except for the last and greatest peak, the Citadel. No man has succeeded in climbing this one perilous peak that dwarfs all others around it. Josef Matt led an expedition fifteen years ago, but of the three men, two died in the attempt (including Josef) and the third was badly injured. Despite popular beliefs and fears about the mountain being cursed, Rudi dreams of conquering the mountain and fulfilling his father’s quest.
In the past fifteen years, no one has tried to climb the mountain—and anyone who gives any serious thought about doing so is considered crazy and foolish—and no one besides Rudi gives it serious thought. However, things change when renowned climber Captain John Winter arrives at Kurtal: he is determined to climb the Citadel, and Rudi is equally determined to go with him. Thus the catalyst for the adventure.
It’s a great read, and the literal cliff-hangers held my rapt attention, even though I’m nineteen. The trials and obstacles of mountain climbing are presented well, and the reader walks away (or should I say “climbs down”) from the book with a good sense of what it’s like to be a mountaineer. That is, as close as one can get to actually clinging to the near-vertical edge of a rock with a few fingers and the toe of one boot—with a yawning mile-deep empty space below.
The above praise aside, the book is nevertheless tainted to some extent. Rudi is obsessed with climbing the mountain, to the point where his attitude ultimately becomes, as I see it, mountain-worship—resulting, unsurprisingly, in lying to his mother (who specifically does not want Rudi to become a mountaineer because of what happened to her husband, Josef) on multiple occasions. And not just Rudi, either: other characters also lie to cover up the Citadel endeavor. Mrs. Matt’s wishes are not taken seriously, and are in fact blatantly disregarded in favor of Rudi’s desire to be a mountaineer.
Unfortunately, these issues are not resolved. I was holding out hope that somehow the author would deal with them, but as I drew nearer and nearer to the end I realized that even if there were going to be a reconciliation, it would be a rather shallow resolution (forced so because of the ever-shrinking remainder of the book), with a sort of “Oh, by-the-way, I’m sorry” afterthought effect—almost tacked on to the end.
Catholicism pops up two or three times, and at one point, Rudi prays to both the Lord and Mary. (The Catholicism really isn’t very prominent though; it’s scarcely present in the book at all.)
It’s unfortunate that all these elements taint the book. Were it not for them, I could wholeheartedly recommend the story as a great tale of manly mountaineering and adventures in exercising dominion over Creation. However, I won’t specifically not recommend it; I think there is a place for books like these in a library (though I won’t expound that idea here).
With all the preceding in mind, I recommend this book as a solid, manly, adventure story—with some negative elements worthy of discussion.
LANGUAGE: Three or four occurrences of d—n, and three or four instances of the Lord’s name being used carelessly.
DISCUSSION POINTS: As a parent (or an older sibling), you can talk with the reader about the lying that goes on in the book.—What does the Bible say about it?—Are there situations where lying is acceptable? You could also discuss the Catholicism which crops up a couple of times.
AGE RANGE: I’m nineteen, and I enjoyed it. That said, because of the language I’d let my children read this book somewhere around twelve years, at the youngest. (Ultimately, though, it boils down to the potential reader’s maturity.)