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The Terror [Hardcover]

Dan Simmons
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Feb 2007
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 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 become evermore bold, Crozier and his men begin to fear there is no escape…

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (1 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593057627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593057629
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.2 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 223,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Simmons was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1948, and grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.

Dan received his Masters in Education from Washington University in St. Louis in 1971. He then worked in elementary education for 18 years -- 2 years in Missouri, 2 years in Buffalo, New York -- one year as a specially trained BOCES "resource teacher" and another as a sixth-grade teacher -- and 14 years in Colorado.

His last four years in teaching were spent creating, coordinating, and teaching in APEX, an extensive gifted/talented program serving 19 elementary schools and some 15,000 potential students. During his years of teaching, he won awards from the Colorado Education Association and was a finalist for the Colorado Teacher of the Year. He also worked as a national language-arts consultant, sharing his own "Writing Well" curriculum which he had created for his own classroom. Eleven and twelve-year-old students in Simmons' regular 6th-grade class averaged junior-year in high school writing ability according to annual standardized and holistic writing assessments. Whenever someone says "writing can't be taught," Dan begs to differ and has the track record to prove it. Since becoming a full-time writer, Dan likes to visit college writing classes, has taught in New Hampshire's Odyssey writing program for adults, and is considering hosting his own Windwalker Writers' Workshop.

Dan's first published story appeared on Feb. 15, 1982, the day his daughter, Jane Kathryn, was born. He's always attributed that coincidence to "helping in keeping things in perspective when it comes to the relative importance of writing and life."

Dan has been a full-time writer since 1987 and lives along the Front Range of Colorado -- in the same town where he taught for 14 years -- with his wife, Karen. He sometimes writes at Windwalker -- their mountain property and cabin at 8,400 feet of altitude at the base of the Continental Divide, just south of Rocky Mountain National Park. An 8-ft.-tall sculpture of the Shrike -- a thorned and frightening character from the four Hyperion/Endymion novels -- was sculpted by an ex-student and friend, Clee Richeson, and the sculpture now stands guard near the isolated cabin.

Dan is one of the few novelists whose work spans the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror, suspense, historical fiction, noir crime fiction, and mainstream literary fiction . His books are published in 27 foreign counties as well as the U.S. and Canada.

Many of Dan's books and stories have been optioned for film, including SONG OF KALI, DROOD, THE CROOK FACTORY, and others. Some, such as the four HYPERION novels and single Hyperion-universe novella "Orphans of the Helix", and CARRION COMFORT have been purchased (the Hyperion books by Warner Brothers and Graham King Films, CARRION COMFORT by European filmmaker Casta Gavras's company) and are in pre-production. Director Scott Derrickson ("The Day the Earth Stood Stood Still") has been announced as the director for the Hyperion movie and Casta Gavras's son has been put at the helm of the French production of Carrion Comfort. Current discussions for other possible options include THE TERROR. Dan's hardboiled Joe Kurtz novels are currently being looked as the basis for a possible cable TV series.

In 1995, Dan's alma mater, Wabash College, awarded him an honorary doctorate for his contributions in education and writing.

Product Description


"Simmons has created a chilling supernatural novel... the horrific trials of their impending icy deaths are vividly brought to life" (DAILY EXPRESS)

"One of the most remarkable things I've read... nothing short of a masterpiece. It is a bona fide tour de force" (SFREVU)

"I am in awe of Dan Simmons" (STEPHEN KING)

"Go out and buy this book... a fantastic achievement. Gripping, well-observed, and at times genuinely frightening" (SFX)

"A revelation. Dan Simmons is a giant among novelists" (LINCOLN CHILD) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The bestselling author of Ilium transforms the story of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition into a devastating historical adventure that will chill you to your core.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling historical thriller 23 Aug 2008
The Terror is based on the true story of the ill-fasted Franklin expedition to the Arctic in search of the Northwest Passage. Two ships, the Erebus and the Terror, set sail to find the passage and were never seen again by white men. Graves and artefacts were found by other later explorers but the story of the hundred plus men will never be fully known.

Simmons cleverly uses this true story as the base for this fantastically thrilling novel. The dark nature of the human psyche is the true monster in this tale, not the huge beast that is methodically slaughtering crew members. The decline of the human body and the human mind is brilliantly explored and proves to be more chilling than the brutal attacks of the white beast. The story is well researched and it's all too easy to imagine yourself there in the dark and the cold, wrapped in clothes that never fully dry out. The invasion of the white Europeans into the lands of the native Inuit is also introduced in this book through the use of Inuit mythology.

This is a large book and the pace is somewhat glacial, if you'll pardon the pun. However, it's well worth the read. Just wrap up warm as you read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars icy terror 25 Nov 2010
This is one of my favourite novels ever....although I have to admit I don't get a lot of time for reading I devour anything that is set or themed in my birth place.
The Terror describes the ill fated Franklin expedition to find the fable North West Passage...(If I was around I would've been more than happy to point them in the right direction)
As the ships are stuck fast in the ice strange things begin to happen and what follows is a supernatural series of events that the reader is not quite sure is actually happening or not. Starvation starts to affect the men's minds. It is a shame frozen foods weren't invented as I'm sure the lack of vitamin C could have been easily remedied by some frozen petite pois to accompany the seal meat.
But that's beside the point..The Terror is a great thrilling read...I recommend to anyone who wants to experience icy thrills.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By Jenesis
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The premise of The Terror is the ill-fated Arctic expedition, led by Sir John Franklin, of the 1840s. I must admit I knew nothing about the expedition beyond the basics when I read this novel, and as such I got a little lost when the point of view switches characters, but some research soon cleared that up.

This novel is meant to be historical fiction instead of a factual account, and in that regard it excels. Most of the characters are based on members of the real Franklin expedition, including the protagonist(s). Not wanting to spoil the plot, I'll say that the (fictional) encounters with native Inuits and the mysterious beast stalking the men are seamlessly woven into an historical context.

The plot itself is a marvellous one; gripping and page-turning without resorting to cheap shock moments. The characters are well-established, and you feel a genuine pang of sadness if one dies. I read the whole 950-odd pages in under three days, not because it's a skim-read book (it isn't), but because I was so drawn in. The plot is exciting, with much of the "I have to know what happens next!" of good storytelling.

However, this is not a perfect book. There is no one major bad point, just a few little niggles that conspire to knock a star off the rating.

Firstly, and I understand this is a copy error not a writer error, the proofreading in the paperback copy was shoddy. There are more than a few cases of words running together - "theanimal" - and the typist often uses a quotation mark (") to mark plural possessive (childrens") instead of an apostrophe or other mark. Obviously this is a printer error and not Simmons' error, but it does detract from the story and stop you being drawn in when it happens.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intense and sinister 12 April 2008
I loved this book from start to finish. Based on the real voyages to find the North West passage it has historical authenticity but goes way beyond. Dan Simmons crates a claustrophobic and terrifying environment in which little is certain except the unrelenting nature of the cold and dark. He mixes the disturbing effect of isolation and starvation on people with a mysterious threat from outside which defies all normal precautions and considerations to create a frightening and unpredictable whole. In this intense situation characters have to make difficult and often harsh choices and are all the while stalked by the creature on the ice who seems to be able to take them at will. An excellent read. Recomended
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Monster Lite 3 April 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was a little hesitant about reading this book, not being a geat fan of historical novels and having been left not particularly impressed by the only other Simmons novel I've read, A Winter Haunting. Generally speaking though, I found this to be an interesting and entertaining read, which, considering it's the best part of a thousand pages and mostly set on an immobile ship is someting of an achievement. Only the epilogue, which was a bit obscure and mystical for my taste, disappointed.

The nature of the story, which takes place over a number of years, and its isolated setting mean that a certain ammount of patience and commitment is required by the reader - not because its boring but because the plot requires the necessary time and detail to reveal itself in a realistic and believable manner. It's as far-removed from the Dan Brown style of smash bang wallop no-time-to-breathe story-telling as you can get.

A word of warning though: this is not a book about a monster - it's a book about a polar expedition with occasional guest appearances by a monster. If you're expecting The Thing you'll be disappointed.

If, like me, you were completely ignorant of the Franklin expedition then this book is also something of an education. Although highly fictionalised it nevertheless inspired me to investigate the factual events that inspired this novel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep Cold. Well Below the Line
Written with reverence for its subject matter, a great deal of respect, and grim as all Hell. Admirably researched, this nevertheless is very much a highly entertaining fiction... Read more
Published 1 month ago by C. S. Barlow
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping story telling at its finest! So good!
The doomed Franklin Arctic expedition of 1845 provides the framework for this epic tale, drawing on Inuit mythology to provide the stalking menace terrorising the icebound... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mel Powell
3.0 out of 5 stars Too long by far!
Whether it was my powers of concentration or not the storyline was spoiled(for me) by the length of the book and again to me the constant repitition throughout.
Published 3 months ago by Lampman
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book
I love books about the Arctic and Antarctic and so I did enjoy this book. A little long perhaps but a lot more interesting and less long winded than other Dan Simmons books I have... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Hollycat
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh so nearly 5*****
I think it was Van Gogh who said it took two men to create a masterpiece one to paint and it and one to tell him when to stop I loved this book until the final chapters when the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by bookworm
2.0 out of 5 stars Lost its way
Warning - spoilers...

Dan Simmons is a fine writer but he writes long books and he has on more than one occasion lost the thread of a story by bringing in superfluous... Read more
Published 8 months ago by nicolocin
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic excellence
An excellent fictionalised accounting of the doomed Franklin expedition. If you are not yet familiar with that tale, it may be first helpful to research it using a book such as... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Carl Bedson
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Justice
After reading "Dark Matter" by Michelle Paver, I was eager to find more novels like it and came across "The Terror" by Dan Simmons. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Val Kyrie
1.0 out of 5 stars The Terror
I liked the first 1/3 of this book but after that it got a bit laboured (hungry sailers, tired sailers, cold sailers repeat, repeat, repeat). Would not recommend
Published 12 months ago by "andy183658284"
4.0 out of 5 stars An unsual but highly enjoyable read
I was quite surprised by this book. It was far better than I expected and had me gripped pretty much until the end.

The book is very well researched and very detailed. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Connor
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A question... (spoilers!!!) 3 25 May 2013
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