The mountain gods were protective of Manaslu, a two-pronged peak in the Nepal Himalaya, and one of the world's fourteen 8,000m peaks.
Many years ago, a Japanese team tried to climb it, but the gods had sent an avalanche in their wake which destroyed a monastery and set the local people against them. When they returned the next year, they were met with sticks and stones, stripped naked and sent home with red cheeks.
Mark Horrell and his two friends Mark and Ian shared a dream to climb an 8,000m peak, but it seemed the gods were against them too. They had made no fewer than eight attempts without success (though they had managed to return with their clothes on).
With towering ice walls, monsoon rainstorms, arm-twisting crevasses and – most dangerous of all – welcoming teahouses ready to entrap them, would it be different this time?
(Previously published as The Ascent of Manaslu)