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The Terror
Cover of The Terror
The Terror
A Novel
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The men on board HMS Terror have every expectation of triumph. As part of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, the first steam-powered vessels ever to search for the legendary Northwest Passage, they are as scientifically supported an enterprise as has ever set forth. As they enter a second summer in the Arctic Circle without a thaw, though, they are stranded in a nightmarish landscape of encroaching ice and darkness. Endlessly cold, with diminishing rations, 126 men fight to survive with poisonous food, a dwindling supply of coal, and ships buckling in the grip of crushing ice. But their real enemy is far more terrifying. There is something out there in the frigid darkness: an unseen predator stalking their ship, a monstrous terror constantly clawing to get in.When the expedition's leader, Sir John Franklin, meets a terrible death, Captain Francis Crozier takes command and leads his surviving crewmen on a last, desperate attempt to flee south across the ice. With them travels an Inuit woman who cannot speak and who may be the key to survival, or the harbinger of their deaths. But as another winter approaches, as scurvy and starvation grow more terrible, and as the terror on the ice stalks them southward, Crozier and his men begin to fear that there is no escape.
The Terror swells with the heart-stopping suspense and heroic adventure that have won Dan Simmons praise as "a writer who not only makes big promises but keeps them" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). With a haunting and constantly surprising story based on actual historical events, The Terror is a novel that will chill you to your core.
The men on board HMS Terror have every expectation of triumph. As part of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, the first steam-powered vessels ever to search for the legendary Northwest Passage, they are as scientifically supported an enterprise as has ever set forth. As they enter a second summer in the Arctic Circle without a thaw, though, they are stranded in a nightmarish landscape of encroaching ice and darkness. Endlessly cold, with diminishing rations, 126 men fight to survive with poisonous food, a dwindling supply of coal, and ships buckling in the grip of crushing ice. But their real enemy is far more terrifying. There is something out there in the frigid darkness: an unseen predator stalking their ship, a monstrous terror constantly clawing to get in.When the expedition's leader, Sir John Franklin, meets a terrible death, Captain Francis Crozier takes command and leads his surviving crewmen on a last, desperate attempt to flee south across the ice. With them travels an Inuit woman who cannot speak and who may be the key to survival, or the harbinger of their deaths. But as another winter approaches, as scurvy and starvation grow more terrible, and as the terror on the ice stalks them southward, Crozier and his men begin to fear that there is no escape.
The Terror swells with the heart-stopping suspense and heroic adventure that have won Dan Simmons praise as "a writer who not only makes big promises but keeps them" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). With a haunting and constantly surprising story based on actual historical events, The Terror is a novel that will chill you to your core.
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  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    1290
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    10 - 12

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Dan Simmons is the award-winning author of several novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Olympos and The Terror. He lives in Colorado.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 28, 2007
    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).

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 6, 2006
    Hugo-winner Simmons (Olympos
    ) brings the horrific trials and tribulations of arctic exploration vividly to life in this beautifully written historical, which injects a note of supernatural horror into the 1840s Franklin expedition and its doomed search for the Northwest Passage. Sir John Franklin, the leader of the expedition and captain of the Erebus
    , is an aging fool. Francis Crozier, his second in command and captain of the Terror
    , is a competent sailor, but embittered after years of seeing lesser men with better connections given preferment over him. With their two ships quickly trapped in pack ice, their voyage is a disaster from start to finish. Some men perish from disease, others from the cold, still others from botulism traced to tinned food purchased from the lowest bidder. Madness, mutiny and cannibalism follow. And then there's the monstrous creature from the ice, the thing like a polar bear but many times larger, possessed of a dark and vicious intelligence. This complex tale should find many devoted readers and add significantly to Simmons's already considerable reputation.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from November 15, 2006
    Though Simmons is best known for his convoluted sf novels "Hyperion, Ilium, " and "Olympos", his new work shows that he's also capable of writing a direct and compelling narrative. For the most part, it's a straightforward sea story following the difficulties of the dwindling remains of Sir John Franklin's failed 1840s mission to find the Northwest Passage. However, in addition to scurvy, frostbite, botulism, snow-blindness, and threats of mutiny, the crews of HMS "Terror" and HMS "Erebus" are harried by some enormous Thing out on the ice. The story is told from the viewpoints of several members of the ships' crews, with emphasis on "Terror" captain Francis Crozier and "Erebus" surgeon Harry Goodsir. The effects of malnutrition and climate on the men are related in grisly detail, while the predations of the Thing are often left vague. As several characters remark, the real monsters in this tale are their own shipmates and the North itself. It's clear that Simmons devoted a lot of time to researching the history of the Franklin Expedition. Highly recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, "LJ" 9/15/06.]Karl G. Siewert, Hardesty Regional Lib., Tulsa

    Copyright 2006 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    November 15, 2006
    The prolific and versatile Simmons turns to historical fiction in this fine narrative of the lost Franklin expedition of the 1840s, in which nearly 200 men sailed in search of the Northwest Passage aboard two converted naval vessels, " Erebus" and " Terror." They seemingly sailed off the face of the earth, until remains of the longest survivors among them were discovered many years later. Simmons makes the " Terror"(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2006, American Library Association.)

  • Gilbert Cruz, EW

    "A...Brutal, relentless, yet oddly uplifting, The Terror is a masterfully chilling work."

  • People (four stars)

    "Carefully researched, this tale is both dazzling history and a sparkling chiller."

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    Little, Brown and Company
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A Novel
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