North Face by Matt Dickinson

North Face

Written by Matt Dickinson
Part of the The Everest Files Series

13+ readers   YA readers   Books for Boys   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

An adventurous rescue attempt out on the north face of Everest, sits alongside the tale of a Tibetan family as they flee for their lives. ‘North Face’ is the second in The Everest Files Series with 18 year old Ryan Hart finding himself once more fully immersed in the culture of his surroundings. The two separate stories blend into each other until they beat with one heart. Everest sits brooding, occasionally rumbling and roaring, ever present, ever mysterious. This is a fascinating story, all the more so, due to Matt Dickinson’s background, he has climbed Everest and he’s spent time with the local people, consequently Tashi’s tale in particular rings with truth. With evocative chapter heading illustrations, this is a simply told, yet dark tale that doesn't shy away from desperate deeds. Encouraging further research into the region, ‘North Face’ is not only thought provoking, it is also a completely captivating read. ~ Liz Robinson


North Face by Matt Dickinson

The Everest Files story continues in 'North Face' ...Ryan Hart is an 18-year-old adventurer on a mission. To get himself to Mount Everest and check out the truth about the world's highest peak. Friends have told him dark stories about the mountain, outrageous things that he wants to see for himself. Just a few hours after Ryan arrives at Everest Base Camp a lethal earthquake strikes. Avalanches pound the glacier, burying Ryan's climbing buddy and killing many others. A desperate rescue saves Ryan's friend, but only after a local Tibetan girl -Tashi - helps with the search. Stress levels are running high among the climbing teams. The mountain is shut for the season because it is judged too dangerous. Then a flashlight reveals a clue. Someone is alive, high on Everest's treacherous north face!Tashi is convinced it is her 15-year-old brother. Ryan is prepared to risk everything to help. Storm clouds gather as they set out on their illegal climb, a do-or-die mission which the local militia will do anything to stop.

The series is inspired by Dickinson’s own mountaineering experiences; in 1996 he summited Everest via its treacherous North Face, climbing alongside actor Brian Blessed until Blessed was forced to abandon the climb. Blessed later described their relationship as ‘one of father and son’, commenting on their shared belief that ‘the greatest danger in life is not to take on those adventures’.

Commenting on the upcoming release of North Face, Dickinson said, ‘Literature and outdoor adventure have both opened up fascinating worlds for me. My ambition with The Everest Files series is to share this sense of wonder and to encourage young people to set out on their own adventures, whether through picking up a good book or organising a camping trip with friends.’

Find out more about Matt Dickinson's Everest adventures & the Everest Reading Challenge at


'Matt Dickinson, who made a successful ascent of Everest's perilous North Face in 1996, has followed up his excellent Mortal Chaos YA trilogy with the first of what will be a trio of thrillers set in Nepal. The Everest Files, a gripping and touching story, is a fine start.' The Telegraph

About the Author

Matt Dickinson

Matt Dickinson is an award-winning writer and filmmaker with a passion for climbing and adventure. During his filmmaking career he has worked as a director/cameraman for National Geographic television, the Discovery Channel, the BBC and Channel 4. His film projects have taken him to Antarctica, Africa and the Himalaya, often in the company of the world’s leading climbers and expeditioners. His most notable film success was ‘Summit Fever’ in which Matt reached the summit of Everest via the treacherous North Face. His book The Death Zone tells the true story of that ascent and has become a bestseller in many different countries.

Matt is currently patron at Lady Manners School in Bakewell and continues to climb and explore. In January 2013 he summitted Mount Aconcagua, which, at 6,965 metres, is the highest peak in the world outside the Himalaya. In 2016 he was back on Everest as writer in residence with Jagged Globe’s South Col Expedition. Currently, he is planning an ascent of Mount Denali in Alaska, one of the ‘Seven Summits’.

Recently Matt has started writing fiction for teenage readers. His debut thriller series Mortal Chaos was well received by critics and readers alike. Matt has followed this up with The Everest Files, a dramatic and popular trilogy set on the world’s highest mountain. Lie Kill Walk Away is his latest teen thriller. When he’s not writing, Matt tours the UK, speaking at schools and colleges and inspiring a new generation of adventurers.

A Q&A with Matt about his new book Lie Kill Walk Away

Lie Kill Walk Away is very different to any of your other books. Two teenagers on the run, a government conspiracy and a life-threatening disease on the loose, make for some hard-hitting action. Have stories about secrets and twisted truths always captured your attention?

Ever since I began to read I have always loved thrillers. Fast pace and a twisty unpredictable plot make for exciting reading and I love that feeling when I find myself turning the pages at high speed, totally hooked on the story and wanting to find out more! Thrillers translate from book to film with a natural transition as well, so there’s often the extra dimension of seeing the story on the big screen later down the line and enjoying it all over again. Secrets are important in this genre so I wanted Lie Kill Walk Away to contain a powerful secret world. It was a great experience to fine-tune the plot of the book so that the secret powers of government hold all the cards, leaving my heroes Joe and Becca running for their lives.

Becca wants to be a natural scientist. Do you share her fascination with diseases?

I certainly am fascinated by the science of killer diseases, and have even made a documentary, which I filmed at one of the most lethal bio-weapon production labs in the world. To explore the abandoned base in Kazakhstan, where the Soviets had cooked up weaponised versions of some of the most horrifying pathogens ever invented, we had to make a clandestine journey deep into Voz Island in the middle of the Aral sea. That was where the Russians produced Anthrax, Ebola, and many other lethal pathogens that were designed for use in war. We had to wear bio-protection suits in forty-two degrees of heat. It was a very demanding shoot that could have ended in imprisonment if we had been discovered. The documentary I directed was broadcast by Channel 4 in the series Going to Extremes.

This book explores some difficult issues: a teen in a young offenders’ institution, young people groomed by a terrorist operation, mental illness. Do you think it’s important for young adult books to address these topics?

Teen and young adult writers have a duty to explore strong themes. The world is a challenging place and growing up is sometimes a difficult journey. As a father of five children (including two teenage kids at the moment!) I have experienced this first hand myself. That’s why thrillers such as Lie Kill Walk Away are important, because they tackle gritty issues head-on and don’t sugar coat the world. Books are a window into themes that are sometimes challenging but I don’t think authors should be apologising for that. It’s natural to explore the dark side of our inner world, and might even help in important ways.

Everybody knows you as the Everest climber – which is possibly the most extreme form of adventure there is – but did Lie Kill Walk Away allow you to explore a different kind of adventure?

Yes, probably I am best known for my Everest adventures, but I have plenty of other themes that I want to explore. In my previous series Mortal Chaos, I based the stories around chaos theory and the chain reactions that cause disasters. With Lie Kill Walk Away I wanted to create a very different form of adventure, a thriller environment in which two teenage protagonists are trying, quite literally, to save the world. It’s a big story but I have loved the challenge and I hope that readers will identify with my two heroes.

With fast-paced blink-and-you’ll-miss-it action, we think reluctant readers will love this book. Do you always have reluctant readers in mind when you are writing and how do you try to appeal to them?

I really like it when ‘reluctant readers’ identify with my books and enjoy reading them. It’s a special feeling because it might inspire a new reading hobby that will last a lifetime. ‘Reluctant readers' are often boys with short attention spans. That’s why my books have very short chapters and are generally fast paced. I am the same in my reading habits; I strongly dislike books that are overwritten or just way too slow.

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Book Info


320 pages


Matt Dickinson
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Vertebrate Publishing an imprint of Vertebrate Graphics Ltd

Publication date

10th March 2016




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