Peak XV Characters
As historical fiction, Peak XV is the product of extensive research into Nepal and Mount Everest's history. The story combines true-life historical events and people with fictitious characters and happenings. PEAK XV is a dual-timeline novel that flashes from Nepal's ancient past to the early 20th century "age of exploration." The story weaves legendary, true-life contemporary characters such as Winston Churchill, British mountaineer George Mallory, and the British Monarchy with Nepal's rich history - Buddhism, the ruling dynasties, the life and times of Siddhārtha (more commonly known as The Buddha), the efforts over the centuries to summit Everest.
Śuddhodana was only fourteen when his father died and passed down his crown. Although well-educated and groomed as his father's successor, at such a young age, his lack of maturity and experience was evident to his council, handlers personally selected by his father to offer guidance and advice after his passing. During this time, his visions were narrow. His decisions were often spontaneous and not thoughtful, driven by his impetuous personality and, more often than not, driven purely by his emotions. His bloodline made him King; however, his lineage was that of a consummate warrior. As he matured, he became a wise and just ruler of the Kingdom of Kapilavast.
Translated into English, Siddhārtha means, 'He who achieves his aim' was the firstborn son of King Śuddhodana and Crown Prince of the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Kapilavastu. Only days after his son's birth, the King summoned his highest-order seers and sages to foretell his son's future. The thinker envisioned that Siddhārtha would become the most celebrated religious figure the world would ever know. The prophecy became a reality. But, unfortunately, Siddhārtha left all he knew behind and never returned.
Before the Kings, firstborn Siddhārtha resigned his birthright as Crown Prince and left the kingdom of Kapilavastu; the Queen gave birth to two identical twin boys. The first of the twins to leave his mother's womb was named Bhaskar, meaning "Sun." Since he was born minutes before his twin brother, he was the rightful heir to his father's throne and replaced his older brother Siddhārtha as the kingdom's Crown Prince. As he grew, Bhaskar was groomed to succeed in his father's rule.
The King and Queen named their second-born twin Chandran, meaning "Moon." However, an identical twin brother of Bhaskar, born only minutes after his brother, as the Second Prince, his role would be of a steward of the kingdom of Kapilavastu and advisor to his brother, the Crown Prince. As he grew, Chandran became envious of his brother and obsessed with wanting the power he felt nature had denied him.
A rarely seen hermit ascetic, a genuinely gifted spiritual sage and seer renowned for predicting future events accurately. Asita lived in isolation in his simple abode, hidden from others deep within Terai's lowland forest. After correctly predicting the future of King Śuddhodana's firstborn son Siddhartha, Astia became the King's most trusted advisor. King Śuddhodana trusted Astia to mentor and educate his twin sons, Bhaskar and Chandran.
The Lord of eternal darkness and his followers, believed humanity's mediocrity and inability to embrace darkness would forever allow darkness to thrive and make it possible to triumph over the light one day. In their years of isolation in a remote monastery, the monks of Atma strayed from traditional religious beliefs, their views distorted, based on religious practices derived from obscure ancient texts. The few that encountered the monks told stories that they regularly used incantations to summon dark gods to gain a deeper understanding of man and the world that they could not realize through conventional views.
As a character loosely based on George Mallory, a charismatic early twentieth-century mountaineer, Peak XV's Oliver Hall was a friend and advisor to Prince Albert. He was revered for his many accomplishments as a mountaineer, explorer, and cartographer in World War One for the Royal Corps of Engineers and later for the Royal Geographic Society. He was also admired by London's elite and ordinary citizens. As a young man, Hall attended the Royal Military College as an officer cadet; upon graduation, he had completed the entire commissioning course and was awarded the Queen's Medal. The Queen's Medal is a high honor for the British Army Officer Cadet, who achieved top scores in military, practical, and academic studies as the British Monarchy asked Hall to accept its challenge to head an expedition team to summit Mount Everest to boost England's low morale.
Jonathan “Sandy” Tolbert
Peak XV's character, Jonathan Tolbert, is loosely based on an early twentieth-century mountaineer named Andrew Irvine. Jonathan Tolbert's biography described him as a mountaineer, explorer, and adventurer. Tolbert was bright, young, and handsome. Adored by England's elite and respected by the masses, considered one of England's up-and-comers. However, Tolbert did not like the distinction of what he believed to be a flippant term associated with his name. Young and cocky, he also did not think himself an up-and-comer. Instead, felt he had already arrived and viewed this characterization as a subtle insult. Tolbert seemingly accomplished whatever he set out to do. He fancied himself a daredevil and playboy. Tolbert had become a risk-taker to personify this persona, adopting bold and unorthodox approaches during his mountain climbing expeditions, sometimes taking risky diversions that more experienced men would not consider. Most admired his aggressive nature, while some conservatives considered him reckless and impetuous. Outwardly Jon Tolbert presented himself as a prototypical English gentleman - polite and in control, emphasizing others' well-being before his own. At twenty-three, Tolbert was young and as strong as an ox. He was considered one of England's most eligible bachelors with wavy blond hair, blue eyes, and a square jaw. He was selected as Second in Command by Oliver Hall to help lead his Mount Everest expedition.
Soi'nam was renowned as Nepal's most experienced Sherpa. He was revered and celebrated as his country's preeminent authority on the Himalayan mountain range and Mount Everest. Oliver Hall queried the Nepalese Prime Minister for Soi'nam's services and requested that he be added to his expedition team as their lead Sherpa. Hall understood that having Soi'nam's experience and calm confidence would significantly improve his odds of achieving his expedition goal to summit Everest.
As First Lord of the Admiralty during the Great War, Winston Churchill had borne the blame for the disastrous amphibious landings at Gallipoli, a stunning defeat for England's Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian compatriots. Even though Churchill had placed fourth in the general election of 1922 and lost his seat in Parliament, most Englanders still greatly admired him and considered this to only be a temporary setback to his political career. Prince Albert and the British Monarchy tasked Churchill to spearhead diplomatic efforts between England and Nepal to gain access to Mount Everest and Oliver Hall's expedition team.
Peak XV's character, Ethan Helton, is loosely based on mid-twentieth-century mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary the first credited to summit Mount Everest. A New Zealand mountaineer and explorer, Helton was co-climb team leader of a 1953 British-backed Mount Everest expedition. He and his Sherpa, Tshering, made history as the first confirmed climbers to summit Mount Everest. Helton was a dedicated and highly skilled mountaineer. His character was summed up as a courageous man with high integrity and iron-willed. The Queen of England rewarded Helton for his heroic accomplishment by appointing him a Knight Commander of the British Empire.
Born into a wealthy aristocratic family, Emma Clarke was well-educated and lived a life of convenience. Emma Clarke was the daughter of a renowned poet and mother dedicated to championing women's equal rights and the 1920s Suffragette movement. Like her mother, Emma was a promoter of the Suffragette movement and was considered a fiercely independent woman. However, her father was a traditional man, and to her dismay, he insisted that Emma conform to conservative English standards for a woman of her time.