The Terror

The Terror

—4—

I finished this behemoth of a book! 766 pages! I know you’re impressed. Haha, anyway…

Dan Simmons The Terror is a wonderful, horrific book about the Franklin expedition’s trek to find the Northwest Passage in the 1840’s. Needless to say, once you’ve read that title, it’s a doomed trip from the start. Sir John Franklin is captain of Erebus and his second in command is Francis Crozier, captain of The Terror. The two ships become trapped in the ice, and then everything begins to spiral downhill, and Captain Crozier finds himself more and more responsible for the crew’s lives. Between disease, cold, and wind; starvation and desperation, the men are struggling to survive. And that’s when the situation gets worse. Something is out on the ice, killing and mutilating them. The novel takes a paranormal turn here, with this creature who is more intelligent and much larger than anything these men have encountered before.

Simmons never strays too far from the historical fiction into the supernatural, and the book remains tense throughout. The Terror is a remarkable read despite its length, or maybe because of it; it seeps you into the hopelessness and fear of these 100 men trapped on the ice, sitting ducks for whatever may come their way. Each chapter is titled after a man on board, and is told from their point of view, either in thoughts, memories, or journal pages. There were about 10 different narrators throughout the book. I really enjoyed this approach; it prevented the book from becoming too weighted, and it showed reactions from men involved in all aspects of the ships, from captain to surgeons and in between. Unfortunately, my favorite narrators kept dying! And then I’d pick another, and just a couple chapters later…

Overall, The Terror is frightening and powerful. You cringe at some of the decisions made, although you know if you were in these positions you too wouldn’t know any better. There were parts I wished moved a little faster, but in its entirety this is a masterful novel.

4/5

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One Response to The Terror

  1. Trevor McFur says:

    Just finished this book and totally agree with everything you said. This would have been a great read even without the supernatural component.

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