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The Terror: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 2009
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"THE TERROR is both dazzling history and a sparkling chiller."―Caroline Leavitt, People
"The best and most unusual historical novel I have read in years."―Katherine A. Powers, Boston Globe
"THE TERROR is nothing less than a revelation. Dan Simmons is a giant among novelists, and I am in awe of his achievement."
About the Author
Dan Simmons is a recipient of a Hugo Award and the author of critically acclaimed suspense and science fiction novels. He makes his home in Colorado.
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Here we have one of the more infamous lost ship mysteries, the Franklin's Lost Expedition blended with horror, a huge mysterious bear-like mystical creature out on the ice. Captain Crozier of the HMS Terror, Captain Sir John Franklin of the Erebus and Captain Fitzjames lead the way to the sought-after Northwest Passage. If you are familiar with the real events of this expedition then you know things don't turn out so well. Both ships end up stuck on the ice for years. Making matters much worse, the food rations have been poisoned, the men start developing scurvy, it's freezing cold outside and worse yet there's an enormous creature out on the ice that could squash any man like a grape. A mysterious female Esquimaux without a tongue is on board whom they call Lady Silence. Is she a problem or a solution? The men speculate that she might be a witch, or something of that sort, but she's also the only person they know who has real arctic survival skills. There's a lot of mystery here!
I absolutely love Dan's writing and with The Terror he does not disappoint (for the most part). Some reviewers loathe his wordiness but I actually enjoy it, I have very vivid memories of this sizeable novel. I have seen a few reviewers complain about the lack of character development and I couldn't disagree more. Some reviewers complain that there are too many cardboard characters and while it is true that many characters aren't fleshed out, the important ones are developed very nicely in my opinion. There are 126 men on this expedition and by the end of the novel it seems as though you've met just about every one of them. If Dan spent the time developing every character then he would still be writing this book!
Unfortunately I can't give this one a full five stars. While I typically don't mind Dan's wordy-wordsmithing, it does become a bit excessive at the wrong time. For example, there's a scene in the book where a character attempts to escape from the creature whom has come aboard the ship. This escape in real-time would probably be no more than 5-10 minutes, however Dan spends what must be a full 25-30 pages to this event. He goes into extreme detail about every hand-hold, every foot position and every other minute detail that it actually turns what should be a white-knuckle chapter into a little bit of a tedious (if not a bit boring) read. Fortunately there are plenty of gripping moments so this isn't the norm, but it does happen.
In the end I highly recommend this book. There's the occasional rough spot but all-in-all this is a wonderful read. Oh, and the cover for the regular paperback (with the textured paper) is absolutely beautiful! Not that it affects the rating, just thought I'd throw that out there.
Buy it, read it, enjoy it.
This tale has many elements of history imbedded, which are diluted by Simmons desire to include his signature horror character. You will enjoy the story more if you do not query Wickapedia or other historical sources on the search for the Northwest passage..
At 500 pages this would have been one of the best books of the decade. At 955 pages it I declines with each chapter. Read to page 750 then look to historical references.... Then move on....
Most recent customer reviews
At the end, did all that stuff really happen?