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The Abominable

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  1,672 ratings  ·  432 reviews
ALA Reading List Award for History, Short List
A thrilling tale of high-altitude death and survival set on the snowy summits of Mount Everest, from the bestselling author of The Terror
It's 1924 and the race to summit the world's highest mountain has been brought to a terrified pause by the shocking disappearance of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine high on the shoulder of Mt
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Hardcover, 663 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2013)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
when i first saw this cover, with its snowy wilderness, i thought "oh, it is a sequel to The Terror - how wonderful!!" but it is not. wrong part of town altogether. The Terror takes place in the northwest passage where a handful of stranded seamen have to contend with the harsh polar environment, scurvy, and also some supernatural forces. this one takes place on mt everest, where a handful of climbers have to contend with the harsh mountain conditions, frostbite, and also some… well, it is more ...more
Matt
This is a book that utterly confounded me. It took all my expectations and upended them. In a word, it was a surprise. Unfortunately, I say none of that in a positive way.

Dan Simmons’s The Abominable is one of those “found manuscript” novels. It begins with an introduction in which Dan Simmons writes as “Dan Simmons,” a novelist who is interested in speaking with Jake Smith,* an Antarctic explorer who resides in a Colorado nursing home. Simmons and Smith talk, and Smith (groaningly described as
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Veeral
Dan Simmons enjoys writing about failure. In The Terror he writes about the doomed Franklin Expedition which was lost in the Arctic while searching for the North-West passage. Similarly, in The Abominable, he creates a story of “search-and-rescue” of a mountaineer who disappears at the same time on Mt. Everest when Mallory and Irvine vanish during their unsuccessful Mt. Everest summit effort (in June 1924). And while this book is not about Mallory and Irvine, their failure to summit Mt. Everest ...more
Cheryl
Enjoyed this "trip" to Mt. Everest thoroughly

I read some of the negative reviews on "The Abominable" and wonder whether I read a whole other book. I loved this tale of mountaineering, of friendship, of mysterious hidden objects and history very much.

Is it the story I thought it was going to be, which is horror and Yetis? There is horror but it's created by humans, not mythical creatures. It is the horror of what man can do to his fellow man.

I loved the mountain sequences, the mountaineering, the
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Timothy Pecoraro
As a writer you are taught a few things right off the bat. Things that publishers and editors will never deal with. Things such as too much exposition and a plot that moves too slowly to engage the reader. Also, you are taught that if you promise the reader something you had better make good on your promise. It is the idea of Chekov’s gun, “If you put a gun on the mantle piece in act 1, you better fire it at some point.”

I would like to submit to you, my fine reader; that Dan Simmons has actuall
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Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.blogspot.com/201...

Dan Simmons has always been hit or miss for me, but I have to say his historical-horror novel The Terror about Franklin's lost expedition to the arctic remains one of my all time favorite books ever. While his newest novel The Abominable may not be a follow up, it certainly can be considered a companion piece; the fact that both books seem to share the same vein made me hopeful that Simmons will blow me away again.

Unfortu
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Mark
The Abominable is rather like the mountainous landscapes it portrays, a novel that is in turns, brilliant, all-enveloping, treacherous and chilling.

It is also a book that begins as part of a great conceit. It is a story-within-a-story, a plot that begins as if it is Dan Simmons recanting a tale given to him by a mountaineer, Jacob (Jake) Perry, uncovered as Simmons was researching his other snow-tale, The Terror.

The story then shifts to 1924, as if transcribed by Jake, successfully blurring real
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Nicole~
3.5 stars
Unless all reality is made worse, one cannot attain liberation...
so wonder in grizzly places and mountain retreats...
do not get distracted by doctrines and books...
just get real experiences...in the horrid and desolate.

- Machig Labdrön

June 1924, distinguished mountaineer George Mallory with climbing recruit Andrew Irvine perished on their attempt to be the first to conquer Mount Everest, the tallest and fiercest unclimbed ( at that time )mountain in the world.
Concurrently, a British po
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Jon Recluse
A highly enjoyable historical adventure/thriller. Simmons weaves a suspenseful tale concerning a rescue mission on Mount Everest, that, although rather densely packed with the technical aspects of mountain climbing at the time, is still absorbing, keeping the reader from having to look things up or breaking their pace to read endless footnotes.
Highly recommended.
Tamara
Er, Nazis bad, is the moral of this story? What an overripe mess of a novel, unfortunately.

All the components would seem to be there for a great read, like The Terror - disparate group trapped on Mt. Everest, chasing something and being chased by something, clashing personalities, period detail, great setting. None of it works. There's way, way too much detail about climbing and way too much setup (and I normally enjoy a good infodump.) By the time we get to actual tense, interesting, life-and-
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Chris Bauer
I've been a long time reader of Dan Simmons and some of his work is among my personal "Top 20" of all time. So I was excited to see him come out with a new book "The Abominable."

In the past I've always admired his attention to detail in all his books while not omitting a great story to go along with it. I was looking forward to settling down with this tome (weighing in at a hefty 650+ pages) and traversing the treacherous terrain of Mount Everest.

Instead I found myself slogging through a thigh
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Guy Haley
I was sent the Abominable to review for SFX, only to discover that this is one of Simmon's "straight" books – not that there's anything wrong with that, naturally, but it means my planned review will not be appearing there (also, we cannot blame the reviews editor, good Ian Berriman for being mistaken. It was sent to him in the first place, much of Simmons' work is SFnal, and the press release made big mentions of Stephen King's work, Lost and The Returned). I spent much of my reading going "Aha ...more
Hudson
First off, if you’re thinking that this is a typical Dan Simmons horror novel then think again: this is incredibly scary, but there are no monsters or demons in the book (or maybe there are, you can be the judge of that). No, what is extremely scary to me is the detailed descriptions of mountain climbing or more specifically: reading about someone clinging to a sheer, almost vertical sheet of ice and rock tens of thousands of feet high. The book itself is historical fiction, the time period is i ...more
Liviu
I may/should write a review on how to ruin books with this (and Liz Jensen Rapture) as prime examples, but for now I will just put a few comments:

- for about 500 pages an extremely engrossing story of mountaineering with lots of technical details that ground it in reality, showing once again that what's possible really depends a lot of what level of technology we are at; incidentally the book made me read a little about the Mt. Everest expeditions and how today what was once a dangerous adventur
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Nick
I began this book with high hopes. At about page 200 hope was replaced with trust, a trust that Simmons would eventually come through. I had the trust that he is slow-cooking the plot, that all this exposition will be useful at some point. This is a fantastic setting with the possibility of many sources of oppressive conflict: Mental, psychological, physical, political, mystical, mythical, supernatural - these were the visions I had in my head, and I trusted Simmons to grab on to AT LEAST one of ...more
Matthew Witemyre
A lot of folks have already mentioned this, but if you are looking for a followup to The Terror, this is not it. It is a very enjoyable book, especially if you are already a bit of an Everest junkie (I read Into Thin Air by John Krakauer a few years ago and have been devouring everything I can related to the subject.) Some maps would have been very nice, I am much more mentally familiar with the geography of the southern route up Everest from reading more about Sir Edmund Hillary and later exped ...more
Bondama
I have been looking forward to this book for some time. I even pre-ordered it. I read the book, waiting for the excitement to start. And waiting. And waiting. Finally, in the last few paragraphs appear, man conquers environment (and a few stray Germans and Yetis -- who don't do anything but die at the hand of our inveterate explorers.)

I am supremely disappointed in Simmons now. He can write so damn well, but apparently needs a few creative writing courses. One doesn't name a book "The Abominable
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Christopher H.
I really enjoyed this novel. As a former mountain climber, and a lover of all things mountaineering in the Himalayas, I really found this fascinating. I grew up with the story of Mallory and Irvine's last climb near the summit of Mt. Everest and Simmons' novel bring this epic climb to life. While the plot twist may seem a bit farfetched, it actually works pretty well and ends up making the book quite entertaining. If you like attention to historical detail and interesting and complicated charact ...more
Tim
Novel of the year for me; not that I have managed much reading this year. This might manage to make it on to my all-time favourite list, there are already a few Dan Simmons novels there.

I hate heights. The highest I have ever managed to make it was up 7000ft on Whistler - on my trip to Canada earlier this year - that was scary. So bearing that in mind, it would be fair to say I have little more than a passing interest in mountain climbing; the main ingredient in this novel. But what Dan Simmons
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Kristine
I have to say, when Dan Simmons is good, he is VERY VERY GOOD, but when he is bad, slogging through one of his tomes can be slow torture. Think frog-boiling. The man should really not be allowed to follow his own obsessions that far down the rabbit hole, unchecked by a vigilant and probably underappreciated editor.

The Abominable COULD have been an exciting, terrifying, beautiful exploration of courage and loyalty, in the classic "man-against-nature" vein. It COULD have been both edifying and thr
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Chris
I want murderous Yetis or something! Anything but this is what we did before we climb Everest.
Truthfully though, you are better reading Wade Davis then this fictionalized account which is over-populated with Marty Sues and a Mary Sue. Honestly, I would be calling Simmons out if he were a woman too; the character of Reggie is just too perfect.
If you liked the Terror – this is NOT a good follow up.
Read Wade Davis instead.


Crossposted at Booklikes.
Kimberly
Personally, I feel that this is more of a thriller-tale, than horror. Simmons has a wonderful way with words, and the scenes he paints with them remain vivid in your mind, even as the scenes change. This story will not be to everyone's liking, I realize. It's VERY slow to start, and the "action" doesn't really pick up until after the first half of the book, in my opinion. I think that many will be turned off by that fact alone. However, as far as gripping novels go, I found myself thoroughly eng ...more
Elizabeth A
This has been our read-aloud book at home for the past several months, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.

This story of friendship, mountain climbing, and human endurance reads like a fast paced thriller, and kept me guessing at the twists and turns. Much of the action takes place on Mt. Everest, and if you are fan of climbing stories you gotta read this one. If however you are not a fan, the technical, equipment and scientific details might be too much for you, but I'd advise you to s
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11811 (Eleven)
This has a wealth of low ratings with the main complaint seeming to be the ridiculously slow pacing. It is a valid complaint. All my clothes went out of style over the course of this novel.

I'm going five stars anyway. It think this was Simmons at his best regarding impeccable research, historical accuracy, characters that come to life, and all that other happy horseshit. The pacing was irrelevant to me personally.

If you enjoyed The Terror then you should enjoy this. Was this as good as The Terro
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Hilary
Um ... good? kinda?

If I hadn't already read at least two books about Everest and a few others about mountain-climbing in the Himalayas, I probably would have found this insufferably boring. It was filled with technical details that a non-enthusiast would have found mind-numbing. Given my recent background, however, I did find those parts sort of interesting.

Besides the mountaineering stuff, this was also very political, and I thought that aspect was very strong. The novel was set after the Grea
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Rebecca Huston
This one I picked up mostly for the fact that I had enjoyed the previous novels of Dan Simmons, and besides, tales of mountains and climbing them have always interested me. This one is set in 1924 and three skilled mountaineers discover that George Mallory and Sandy Irvine have vanished on Mount Everest, an event that would shock the world. These three, The Deacon, Jean-Claud, and the narrator Jake Perry, decide to try for Everest themselves, and so follows about six hundred pages of climbing, m ...more
T. Edmund
In The Abominable Simmons creates an almost believable tale of a young climber Jake Perry. A gentlemen who Simmons claims to have received a manuscript of his adventures and simply 'tidied' it up a little. Of course while the physical and photographic evidence was misplaced, the story itself is intact...

And what a story.

Certainly not for the impatience, Abominable is an extremely slow build. More like classic literature with lengthy descriptions and gradual attachment to the characters, this boo
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Megan
This was certainly not at all what I had expected. I admit to hoping, perhaps naively, for more of the on-the-edge-of-your-seat reading that was present in The Terror but was a bit underwhelmed by the suspense of this story. Almost half the book was spent in preparation for the group's trip to Everest, and they didn't get there until about 47% of the way in. By that point I was somewhere around 300 pages in, and felt the story hadn't even started yet. I was exhausted! He's usually much better at ...more
Heidi Ward

First thoughts: Why would anyone ever want to climb Everest? (The famous rejoinder "Because it's there" really doesn't clear it up for me.)

This one will be short and semi-sweet, as I see my feelings are pretty much echoed in all the long, thoughtful reviews below. I'm a long-time Dan Simmons fan, and have read and enjoyed the majority of his novels, both horror and sci-fi (though I have not read the Joe Kurtz books). I was really excited when my pre-order of The Abominable showed up on my birthd
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Nancy Oakes
I hate giving subjective star ratings as much as I hated giving grades when I taught, but I'll give a 3.8.

I'm not quite sure where I got the idea that The Abominable was going to be a horror novel, because as it turns out, it's much more of an old-fashioned adventure tale. The basic story is pretty good when all is said and done in that escape-fiction sort of way, complete with a group of climbers who find their way to Mt. Everest, a missing man last seen on the mountain, a beautiful young hero
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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, ...more
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