The Terror by Dan Simmons; page count 784
Wow! What an excellent and terrifying book. This is the first time I’ve read a book penned by Dan Simmons, and it will not be the last.
The book revolves around the lives of the 100-odd men traveling in two ships the HMS Terror and Erebus. They have come to the frozen artic in an attempt to find the North-West Passage. The men face not only the horrors which come from nineteenth century artic travel: frostbite, trouble with provisions and the cringe-inducing scurvy; they also encounter a terrible beasty from the north.
One thing I particularly liked was how Simmons changed up the viewpoints throughout the book. He wrote from the perspectives of various crewmen, a different voice taking each different chapter. I enjoyed peeping into the private musings of the sailors, as well as different opinions about what they are enduring on the ice. I was terrified and yet appreciated how Simmons described the thing hunting them on the ice. It’s described in glimpses and fearful panic. Perfect!
Simmons also did an excellent job of capturing period details, and tiny things about life on the sea which makes the book even more believable. I’ve been lucky enough to visit several nautical museums, so I can say with a fair amount of confidence that Simmons did his due diligence in regards to research.
I would not recommend this book to the faint of heart. It is beyond creepy, and even gory. Plus it’s 784 pages long! That’s over 700 pages of freezing cold terrified men. However, if you can stomach reading about the symptoms of scurvy (bleeding, swollen gums, teeth falling out, blood oozing out of orifice & definitely more horrifying than any fictitious monster) than you definitely should take the time to read this one.