The "masterfully chilling" novel that inspired the hit AMC series (Entertainment Weekly).
The men on board the HMS Terror — part of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, the first steam-powered vessels ever to search for the legendary Northwest Passage — are entering a second summer in the Arctic Circle without a thaw, stranded in a nightmarish landscape of encroaching ice and darkness. Endlessly cold, they struggle to survive with poisonous rations, a dwindling coal supply, and ships buckling in the grip of crushing ice. But their real enemy is even more terrifying. There is something out there in the frigid darkness: an unseen predator stalking their ship, a monstrous terror clawing to get in.
“The best and most unusual historical novel I have read in years.” —Katherine A. Powers, Boston Globe
Simmons's lumbering seafaring adventure-cum-ghost story is solidly manned by Vance, who invests his reading with a vinegary tang perfectly suitable for the nautical setting. Vance derives special pleasure from the opportunity to dive into the book's mixture of King's English, Cockney, Scottish and Irish accents, delivering each with brio and panache. Working with characters who express themselves lustily, Vance avails himself of the opportunity to chew the scenery and makes the most of it. Simmons's novel mingles genres, alternating between horror and maritime action, and Vance uses tone and pitch to indicate the story's joints and digressions. Vance enjoys declaiming Simmons's characters' speeches in booming voices, as would be appropriate for the book's setting, but those listeners residing in apartments, or with babies, would be advised to keep the sound turned firmly down to avoid any potential noise complaints. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 6).
Well conceived but too long
Excellent story based on fact and nicely developed. But so many superfluous aspects of this made it a long and tough read. Nevertheless, a good book.
Again and again
Dan Simmons writes stories that are compelling, smart and beautiful. The Terror does not disappoint. I'm thankful to live in a world with Dan Simmons. He is truly one of the greats.
A good thrill ride that limps to the finish
Simmons' Terror winds up well, using multiple perspectives and jumps in time to keep the pace moving. Character development is well done for Crozier and Goodsir, while the rest are underdeveloped or shallow. That said, it's a great ride for the first 80% of the story. Unfortunately, it peters out at the end, as the bridge between Native Arctic Forklore and the reality of how Sir Franklin's crew ends up leads to an unsatisfactory, unbelievable ending that attempts fictional closure in a still unresolved mystery.
In the end, you won't regret the read, but you might feel a little cheated given the investment in time and emotion needed to finish this book.
(note this is not an uplifting story; those looking for inspiration or redemption most likely will feel cheated.)