The men on board, Her Britannic Majesty's Ships Terror and Erebus had every expectation of triumph. They were part of Sir John Franklin's 1845 expedition - as scientifically advanced an enterprise as had ever set forth - and theirs were the first steam-driven vessels to go in search of the fabled North-West Passage. But the ships have now been ...Read MoreThe men on board, Her Britannic Majesty's Ships Terror and Erebus had every expectation of triumph. They were part of Sir John Franklin's 1845 expedition - as scientifically advanced an enterprise as had ever set forth - and theirs were the first steam-driven vessels to go in search of the fabled North-West Passage. But the ships have now been trapped in the Arctic ice for nearly two years. Coal and provisions are running low. Yet the real threat isn't the constantly shifting landscape of white or the flesh-numbing temperatures, dwindling supplies or the vessels being slowly crushed by the unyielding grip of the frozen ocean. No, the real threat is far more terrifying. There is something out there that haunts the frigid darkness, which stalks the ships, snatching one man at a time - mutilating, devouring. A nameless thing, at once nowhere and everywhere, this terror has become the expedition's nemesis. When Franklin meets a terrible death, it falls to Captain Francis Crozier of HMS Terror to take command and lead the remaining crew on a last, desperate attempt to flee south across the ice. With them travels an Eskimo woman who cannot speak. She may be the key to survival - or the harbinger of their deaths. And as scurvy, starvation and madness take their toll, as the Terror on the ice becomes evermore bold, Crozier and his men begin to fear there is no escape...Read Less
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Gosh! This is probably going to be one of the most conflicting reviews I've written. Did I like the book? Yes, I liked it until I just couldn't read it anymore. I quit around page 500. If I finished it I imagine I would have given it 5 starts but it just seemed to be more of the same as it went on. Normally if I don't finish a book I won't even flip to the back to see how it ends (and give it only 1 star) but this one I did want to see the outcome so I did some large section skimming to the end. I know a little bit about this expedition and I thought the author did an excellent job with his research and portrayal of life on board an ice bound ship. I also enjoyed the added monster bit. I would have just liked it to be around 200 pages shorter. (Maybe knowing about the expedition beforehand kept me from fully reading to the end).
Aug 27, 2007
Part historical, part horror, part epic adventure novel, The Terror is a sprawling wonderous novel that explores the limits of human endurance and will to live. The story is based on an actual polar expedition in which two British ships and a hundred some men disappear looking for the Northwest passage. While staying true to the known facts, Mr. Simmons brings to life the horror of being trapped in frozen seas for three years, chronicling the sailors' slow decay and acute suffering in agonizing detail. The horror element is almost superfluous. This would have been a great novel without it, but the monster adds to metaphorical clash of "civilized" men facing true wilderness on its own terms. I had some reservations about the ending, but it did make me ponder if not walk away completely satisfied. All told, a great book. Grab a warm blanket and your daily allottment of rum and go North.
Aug 17, 2007
A real chiller!
You will get goosebumps from this one..a combination of a chillingly described expedition in search of the Northwest Passage and their journey into terror both real and supernatural. The shipwrecks and struggles are made even more bone-chilling by a mysterious creature that stalks the crew from the frozen wastelands. Get a blanket and and read this one before winter sets in.
Apr 3, 2007
THIS IS HISTORICAL FICTION WRITTEN LIKE A NOVEL AND IT'S A REAL PAGE TURNER. THERE'S A REAL EDUCATION IN THE STORY ABOUT 2 SHIPS LEAVING BRITAIN ON A QUEST FOR THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE, THEIR PREPARATIONS, TRIALS, AND RELATIONSHIPS. BUT, AND THIS IS A BIG BUT, THE FICTION PART ENTERS WHEN DAN SIMMONS INTRODUCES A SUPERNATURAL SIDE TO THE STORY. ONE OF THE SHIPS IS ACTUALLY NAMED THE TERROR, BUT THE TERROR ALSO EXISTS OFF THE SHIP. THIS IS WELL WORTH YOUR TIME AND MONEY.
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