I read this fictional account of an actual expedition to find the Northwest Passage through the Artic last winter. I soon found I could not read the book at night when alone as I found it too scary. I have not been this scared since seeing original movie The Thing when 10 years old. If the upcoming AMC series is half as good as the book, I expect to be terrorized! Book is a little long.....900+ pages but Mr. Simmons does an excellent job of developing the predicament of the ships and men so you easily buy in to his fictional account of what could have happened to the men. Recommend reading book b4 the series premieres March 2018. Also interesting to note expeditions have located both ships in the Artic within the past year.
I don't know what I was expecting but I certainly didn't expect what I got. The Terror takes an historical event, the disappearance of Erebus and Terror, and provides what is mostly a pretty good idea explanation of what may have happened to their crews. But that's not all... a strong supernatural element is added. And it works. Oh boy does it work. If you enjoyed The Perfect Storm but also enjoy a good Stephen King book, you will probably like this one.
Like many other reviewers, I bought this book after watching AMC's adaptation for TV. The sound quality of dialogue on the show was terrible and I felt like I was missing key parts of the story, so I bought the book to fill out what I was missing.
I am glad I did!! The show was (as adapted shows or movie versions often are) a pale shadow of the book. I was impressed by the amount of time Dan spent researching this expedition, its members, archeological expeditions to locate the ships and crew, Eskimo culture and language, and how polar expeditionary ships were reinforced and otherwise outfitted. Like Erik Larson's "Devil In The White City" and "Dead Wake", this book brought historical events alive and inspired me to seek out more information about the events described. It was a fascinating, well-paced read, and put me in the era through the effective use of dialogue. I looked forward to reading another chapter of this book every night or more on weekends. I love it when a book does that.
The story adds some fictional elements that historical records could never be the source of, but these are added to produce a very compelling story explaining the disappearance of two ships' entire crews (minus the 4 bodies found in graves on Beechey Island) beyond merely explaining that "poisoned food and exposure got them all".
The TV series made some significant changes to many of the events in the book, and I can guess that some changes were necessary for a shorter miniseries, but others seem to have been made for convenience. For example (MINOR spoiler), in the TV version, the Eskimo girl Silna is initially silent after the death of her father, but then is seen helping Dr Goodsir add to knowledge of Eskimo vocabulary by teaching him a few words. Later, she cuts out her own tongue for reasons we don't know. In the book, Silna is silent from the beginning. We learn much later that she is part of a small group of "sixam inua" (Spirit Governors) who communicate with the Tuunbaq telepathically, and who have made a pact to both communicate with and offer food to the Tuunbag. This pact is sealed when the sixam inua offers his or her tongue to the Tuunbaq, who chews them off as a sign of acceptance. I'm not sure why the TV series couldn't have shown Silna out away from the ship somewhere making this offering. My guess is that doing so would have let viewers know that Silna had some kind of control of the spirit/monster/beast.
The TV series had an odd ending that was disquieting and VERY different from the book's ending, which was rather a happy one, considering that this is a book about ~300 people either murdered, dead of disease (scurvy is nasty!), exposure or starvation in the Arctic circle. The TV series should act as an appetizer for the book, and once read, you will feel much more satisfied in having lived a good and complete story.
I thought this was absolutely fascinating; coupled with the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror both being found; maybe we will find out some of the real truth about what happened to Sir John Franklin's doomed Northwest Passage mission. I think it is a great job of historical fiction; the author obviously did research his topic very well as the existing ship's manifests show. I liked learning about the Netsilik Intuit folklore along with the Tuunbaq; and found it absolutely fascinating and terrifying at the same time. I knew scurvy was bad; but reading Dr. Goodsir's journal and diaries took this to a whole new dimension. The men on these ships were obviously very intelligent and competent at their crafts; but had no idea what awaited them in their attempt to make history. Also, the two ships had been triumphant in the Antarctic; so I think there could have been some hubris amongst the crew as suggested in the story. A fantastic read; I am planning on reading the references in their entirety. But, be warned; this book is terrifying - the HMS Terror as aptly named.
This book is an imaginative retelling of Sir John Franklin's 1845 expedition to find the Northwest Passage. Albeit a bit verbose and certainly not starving for detail in its 940 page recounting of the ill-fated attempt at discovery, this novel delivers suspense, a bit of horror, and symbolism. The ships are frozen in place, the chance of rescue less and less likely, the supplies are toxic and dwindling, and there's something out on the ice that is literally clawing its way into the ships and presumably feeding on the crew it manages to abduct. It's definitely a slow burn but, in my opinion, all the better for it. You feel cold when Simmons describes the harsh conditions and situations the characters find themselves in. You find yourself turning pages rapidly; always thirsting for what happens next. If you're a Stephen King fan, you'll likely enjoy this book. If you're the type that needs immediate resolution, look elsewhere.
I bought this book after watching "The Terror" series on AMC. I really had a hard time putting it down. The author, Dan Simmons, makes you grow to love the characters...well, some of them! Others are easy to despise. His description of the bitter cold makes you feel as though you're there on the ice with the crew. I highly recommend this book.
It's partly because I love naval stories about this era, but I really enjoyed this read. The history is meticulously researched, which is impressive. It's got a more spiritual bent than the show, which I did not expect. I'm probably going to read it again in the next couple of weeks. I do suggest that you learn what the Franklin Expedition was before you decide to read this. It's pretty grizzly. Highly recommended.