The Terror

Narrated by: Tom Sellwood
Length: 28 hrs and 27 mins
5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Terror by Dan Simmons, read by Tom Sellwood.

Stephen King hailed Dan Simmons' best-selling novel as 'a brilliant, massive combination of history and supernatural horror', and it's now a chilling 10 part AMC Original TV series from Ridley Scott.

The most advanced scientific enterprise ever mounted, Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition in search of the fabled Northwest Passage had every expectation of triumph. 

But for almost two years his ships, HMS Terror and Erebus, have been trapped in the Arctic ice. Supplies of fuel and food are running low. Scurvy, starvation and even madness are beginning to take their toll. And yet the real threat isn’t from the constantly shifting, alien landscape, the flesh-numbing temperatures or being crushed by the unyielding, frozen ocean. No, the real threat is far more terrifying. 

There is something out there in the frigid darkness. It stalks the ships and snatches men. It is a nameless thing. At once nowhere and everywhere, this terror has become the expedition’s nemesis....

©2018 Dan Simmons (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

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

What listeners say about The Terror

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    5 out of 5 stars

A feel good romp in the snow.

Loved this book. Made my horrible summer seem brighter in comparison. Would recomend to anyone who enjoys crushing isolation and things that go bump in the night.

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  • Caroline Pearson
  • 05-02-18

Fantastic read

I loved this book, the story, the characters and the narration. I’ve never been more interested in finding out about the Northwest passage, about the Arctic, the Inuit, the lands, the discoveries and the people. I knew these characters. I cared about these characters. I felt the bitter cold, the darkness, the great weight, the horror. I’m so sorry this book ended, I could listen to it all over again.

32 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-08-19

Endless

Out of sheer pigheadedness I persisted with finishing this audio book. The storyline itself is interesting and even more so because it has a basis in fact. However 67 chapters and 28 hours seems a bit much and it also got quite strange towards the end.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Swords and Spectres
  • 01-13-19

Great slow-burn horror

Terror is based on the true events of two ships (The HMS Erebus and The HMS Terror) as they tried to search for a route through the Northwest Passage in 1845. The expedition, led by Sir John Franklin, quickly found themselves blocked in by ice. The story begins with our crews having been locked in the ice for two years. Their supplies, patience and sanity are fast running out. When you add in the fact that some unknown horror stalks the ice, hunting the men of the naval ships, it makes quite an enjoyable prospect to get stuck into.

Obviously, the ordeals these men went through were very real so I feel bad taking pleasure in thinking of how the dire circumstances make for a great bit of horror entertainment. But the story also prompted me to do a fair bit of research on the two ships and, indeed, the men in question, so I feel it’s also serving to keep the memories of all involved alive to this day, over a hundred and fifty years after the expedition was launched. I’d be thrilled to think that people were thinking of me a hundred and fifty years from now.

I am a fan of historical fiction and love the language of times gone by. To my ears it sounds intellectual, elegant and just makes me feel at home (that’s a strange thing to say given that I was born in 1988 and not 1888). That being said, the language in this can be a bit heavy at times if you aren’t used to historical fiction.

I thought the author did a good job of fleshing out his characters and he wrote the escalating conflicts between the various shipmates incredibly well. You really develop a hatred for certain characters, especially when you know they are going to do something but they draw the doing of it out and you just sit there, feeling powerless to stop it. The characters were also brought to life superbly well by the narrator. Very well read and gave a good, clear voice to the different characters. I felt, and this could be because I was listening to this during winter, that I was suffering alongside them. Whenever I was cold at work, I would think of the men and how the icy cold was their constant companion. In that way, the author has done a damn good job of keeping their plight with me.

One downside with ‘The Terror’ that I found was that, at times, it felt a bit slow and ponderous. I feel it could have been less lengthy than it was if certain parts weren’t drawn out. Other than that, I didn’t really have any real complaints about it. It was a good slow-burn horror story that achieved the difficult task of keeping an ever-present feeling of dread coming from not only the creature they were trying to avoid, but the general atmosphere they were living in. That and their own comrades. What more could you want? An unknown creature, a frozen landscape that’s trying to kill you and unrest across the ships. Chaos!

15 people found this helpful

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  • Ellie
  • 08-07-19

The Terror

Usually I can easily listen to anything as an audiobook but this was pretty bad. The style was ok but the characters were poorly written. Generally, all characters were one dimensional - the weaselly scouser, drunk Irishman etc. Women had few if any opinions or thoughts of their own - mostly they just had their breasts out.

9 people found this helpful

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  • hgwells 1899
  • 06-24-18

Left me cold

Perhaps some books are best read, rather than read aloud. Perhaps this is just such a book. Maybe I'll reach the end of it some day; but I may be some time

15 people found this helpful

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  • Adam Delderfield
  • 04-24-18

A classic

I really enjoyed this book. it's a great old yarn with real suspense and horror. A future classic I'm sure. Does not disappoint. well worth a listen.

14 people found this helpful

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  • J. Wexler
  • 08-09-19

Just one technical issue

Outstanding writing, detail and performance. My issue? Volume. The voice acting was excellent except for the readers hushed volume, at times, in an attempt to portray tension. When driving down a road, or when there is background noise, the narrative becomes inaudible. You turn up the volume and with a normal voice volume, it blares. Drama, while necessary, is secondary to audibility.

This was an outstanding book.

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  • olly
  • 07-01-18

boring

I did read a review that said don't waste your time but I decided nothing can be that bad, was I wrong, It was by far the worst book I have ever endured. It was so boring I kept thinking something will happen soon, but nope it didn't the ending was so bad and rushed I felt cheated out of the hours I spent listening to this

17 people found this helpful

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  • IrishGaijin
  • 06-28-18

Runs out of steam

Interesting premise and initially enjoyed the incorporation of the fascinating historical story with the fictional creations of the author. However, as noted by many others, this is an overly long book and requires the reader to undertake a gruelling journey of their own to reach the conclusion.

Some parts of the book felt like unnecessary indulgences of the author, such as strained dialogue between characters to explain factual historical events (obviously garnered by the authors as part of his research - which was obviously rigourous to be fair to Dan) that ultimately proved to be wholly tangential to the core story in the book.

Can't fault the performance of the narrator, Tom Sellwood puts in an energetic performance throughout the 28+ hours, but this is an audiobook I felt I'd endured rather than enjoyed at the end of it.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Barbara
  • 06-06-18

The Golden Age of Benny Hill

If you enjoy books where the female characters' clothing keeps coming off in the most improbable circumstances, this is the book for you. I downloaded this, hoping for a combination of horror and history. There was a bit of both, but really, what I noticed was the author repeatedly and predictably arranging situations where women were naked while for the most part, the men around them were not. This was combined with what felt like endless dull descriptions of women's secondary sexual characteristics and a total absence of any description of the interior life for any of the women involved. Not once anywhere in the novel were we told what a woman was thinking - well I got more than half way through and there was no description of what a woman thought at any point, though there were many descriptions of what men were thinking.
A woman in India removes all of her clothing and we are told about her breasts. A woman in the polar region goes to bed naked and we are told about her breasts. A woman in New Zealand removes all of her clothing and we are told about her breasts. I wondered if the author got a bonus for every time he used the word "breasts". The book leaves you feeling impressed that any woman, anywhere in the world in the 1840s, managed to keep her kit on for more than 30 seconds at a time in the presence of a man. When it got to the point where I was laughing out loud at every ridiculous breast fest, I felt that it was time to quit. I have no problem with either sex or nudity or anyone's secondary sexual characteristics, but it's disappointing when an author introduces female characters into the plot solely for such tired old tropes.

107 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-21-19

Great novel

I never thought I would like horror novels but ‘The Terror’ was a great introduction to the genre. Dan Simmons never disappoints. The narrators’ performance was very good as well. I highly recommend this audiobook.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hebby~Bookworm
  • 04-20-19

Amazing but with a really disappointing ending.

I absolutely LOVED the first 80% of this book. So many great characters, amazing details and adventure on the ice...
but my god it went in a very different direction towards the end.... which was incredibly disappointing.

This could’ve made it to my top 10 books of all time, but I felt it was ruined by the last section.
It didn’t seem to mesh with the rest of the story. Also characters either got very little comeuppance or just disappeared out of the story with no explanation as to what happened to them....

It had some absolutely gut wrenching, heartbreaking, amazing plot points in the first part, but I just can’t get over how that ending is so entirely different to the rest of the story...




1 person found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 03-22-19

Drink Deep

Dan Simmons bring horror and mysticism together in this fantastic read. The Terror will take you on a bleak ride through the horror of being a man as much as what is out there on the ice.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 02-16-19

The Terror! The Terror!

A wonderful book. It transports the reader through time and space. You will find yourself 170 years in the past and lost in a hostile frozen wilderness. The narration is magnificent. I had seen the Television adaptation before reading this. The series is also excellent. But I found this to be much more satisfying. Particularly the closure of the Crozier character arc. I now feel I much better understand his motivations. I feel both haunted and so very moved.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Adilah Y.
  • 08-14-20

WHAT AN AMAZING BOOK! I'M OBSESSED!

Ok, i first thought that this long-as historical story would be boring. Boy was I wrong! The story was RIVETING! Extremely well-written to the point that I was Googling if this story was actually real etc (turns out, it's *sorta* true) and this story made me subscribe to Amazon Prime *JUST* so i could watch the film adaptation!!

The narrator did a splendid job with mood, speed, different voices and accents (even Inuit! I dont speak Inuit, but it sounded bloody convincing to me!). It was so engaging such that I was yelling my responses to the car radio (on which I was listening to this Audible on) like a crazy person, liie "No!!! Dr Goodsir! Dont dieeee!!!" Yes, I just did a spoiler there, but seriously, everyone had a bad time on the voyage, so it's kinda expected.

So yeah, DEFINITELY one to download. I cannot recommend this enough!
Now if you will excuse me, I'm off to binge watch the tv series again :)

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  • Deon
  • 02-03-20

Not the usual standard of Simmons...

Got this because I was so impressed by Hyperion and his other books. However, I find this one not even comparable to the others. flat story line with a number of twists that don't make sense. Some parts are kinda thrilling but never breathtaking... perhaps my expectations were too high after Hyperion Cantos

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-20-19

Worth the time to listen

I enjoyed the story and narration, though it did drag along in a couple of places. This was a fairly long story, which I personally like, but there was a lot of superfluous writing in there which did not really add to the story and could have been left out in my opinion.
Overall though, there is enough substance in the story to make for an enjoyable listen. The story is well narrated and the author paints a vivid picture of the conditions his characters are suffering under. I am becoming a fan of Dan Simmons’ writing and will be listening to another one of his novels shortly.

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  • Trevor carroll
  • 01-10-19

Brilliant

This is an epic work in every sense of the word, yet I can't imagine anyone not enjoying it. The performance was also wonderful. Up there with my favourite Audible experiences.

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  • stakenbs
  • 08-27-18

Absolutely wonderful

This book was at the beginning very hard to get into. However with patience became a wonderful gruesome tale of survival. A very good listen. Narrator was excellent. Highly recommend.

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  • cg
  • 05-20-18

Damn Grim

I have to start by saying I’m a fan of Dan Simmons and Tom Sellwood’s narration was incredibly nuanced!
But damn, this is a long, grim, painfully depressing read.
I know A LOT about ice, ships, jobs onboard and meals at sea now.
I also know (in detail) how many ways there are to die when you’re iced in in Arctic areas.
I considered stopping reading this book multiple times, keeping going only because I hoped there’d be at least one moment of positivity by the end. I won’t drop any spoilers for potential readers as to whether we get any!
If you want to read this - maybe stock up on happy times beforehand?

1 person found this helpful