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The Abominable

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  3,499 Ratings  ·  704 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
Hardcover, 663 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2013)
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Mark I think Simmons himself understood the thrash he had written at this point and the 'switch' was simply an attemp to actually finish this book due to…moreI think Simmons himself understood the thrash he had written at this point and the 'switch' was simply an attemp to actually finish this book due to contractual obligations. Throw this book away and find something worth reading.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 07, 2013 karen rated it liked it
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
This book certainly isn’t abominable, but it doesn’t exactly soar to the height of the peak of Mount Everest either.

In 1925 young Jake Perry is an American mountain climber who has been knocking around the Alps with his new friends, Richard Davis Deacon and Jean-Claude Clairoux. Deacon is a veteran English climber who had been on a previous expedition to scale Mount Everest. After the men hear about the deaths of several people attempting to summit Everest, Deacon comes up with a plan to get fun
Oct 31, 2013 Matt rated it did not like it
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
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
Nov 06, 2013 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
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
Timothy Pecoraro
Oct 26, 2013 Timothy Pecoraro rated it did not like it
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
Goran Skrobonja
Aug 20, 2015 Goran Skrobonja rated it liked it
OK, I've got a peculiar love/hate relationship with Dan's writing. From the role of his avid fan since the early Nineties (I've done my best to popularize Dan's SF endeavors in Serbia and I'd had certain amount of success with it - several publishers had published my translations of his Song of Kali, The Hollow Man, the whole Hyperion saga, Lovedeath...) I somehow took up the mantle of a hair-splitting critic, ever since The Crook Factory, a novel I found subpar, irrelevant and at some moments, ...more
This book was not what I expected and I'm glad for that. I'm sure that many readers will find this book frustrating and even boring at times. I certainly did, at least during parts of the first half of the book. HOWEVER... it all paid off in the end. The Abominable is a fantastic, beautifully written story of what humans are capable of -- both good and bad. There's mystery, drama, intrigue, suspense, and a lot of emotion, too. I can't say exactly how the book is different from my expectations be ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

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.

Chris Bauer
Nov 16, 2013 Chris Bauer rated it it was ok
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
Jon Recluse
Aug 29, 2013 Jon Recluse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
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.
Sep 24, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it
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
May 13, 2013 Nicole~ rated it liked it
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 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
Sep 02, 2013 Liviu rated it really liked it
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
Reese Copeland
Nov 23, 2016 Reese Copeland rated it liked it
This is an insanely long book. Having some experience with Simmons, I know his work to be incredibly detailed and wordy. Nearly to the point of nausea. It felt like it took forever for the book to get started and then for anything to really happen. Once the story really got going for me, seriously a little over half way through the book, it was good. Very slow in progression, but good. Good plot twist towards the end, but you really have to be tolerant and work your way to it. I'd recommend it, ...more
Jan 28, 2017 William rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thrillers
I was wary approaching ABOMINABLE. I liked his other recent works, DROOD, and THE FIFTH HEART but felt both were bogged down somewhat by too much detail. And judging from the reviews I'd seen, ABOMINABLE was getting tarred with the same brush.

But I needn't have worried. There is indeed plenty of detail here, especially of climbing gear and clothing, and the acts of climbing itself, but it serves the story better than in the other books, and where DROOD especially felt somewhat claustrophobic and
11811 (Eleven)
Aug 29, 2013 11811 (Eleven) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Sarah Anne
Apr 02, 2016 Sarah Anne rated it it was ok
Phew. I survived. This is not a horror book - it is, in fact, a historical fiction novel with bits of suspense. And it is one MASSIVE info dump. At first I was kind of excited because mountain climbing is of interest to me. I also really love history. But holy crap, this was 663 pages long and I think the equivalent of 600 of that was the info dump.

Jake Perry, who is telling the story, is telling the story.... Umm... apparently the monotony of the story wore off on me. Let's try that again. Jak
Jul 01, 2014 Nick rated it it was ok
I ought to make the point up front that I am a big Dan Simmons fan. I loved the "Hyperion" books, "The Terror" and "Drood". However he does have some faults as a writer, and "The Abominable" showcases these to unfortunate effect. I've decided to review the book in its own faux-diary style (just for the hell of it). The review contains spoilers, but on the plus side reading the spoilers might mean that you don't have to read the book itself, which probably isn't a bad thing.

July 1st, 2014
I held t
Guy Haley
Sep 09, 2013 Guy Haley rated it really liked it
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
Nov 21, 2013 Nick rated it it was ok
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
Oct 28, 2013 Hudson rated it really liked it
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
Mar 21, 2017 Ints rated it it was amazing
Shelves: march-2017
Šo autora grāmatu es biju kaut kā palaidis garām, šķita, ka viņas iznākšana būs kaut kad šogad. Vienu vārdu sakot, biju nokļūdījies par četriem gadiem. Tā kā autors man kotējās visnotaļ augstu, tad apjēdzis savu nolaidību, grāmatu iegādājos un sāku lasīt uzreiz.

1924, gadā cīņa par Everesta iekarošana prasīja upurus, uzkāpšanas mēģinājumā pazuda Džordžs Malrojs un Sandijs Irvains. 1925. gadā uz Everestu dodas Pirmā pasaules kara veterāns un dzejnieks Ričards Dīkons, Šamoni gids Žans Klods Kleruā
Jan 11, 2014 Kristine rated it it was ok
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
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-
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
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
Bob L.
Mar 13, 2017 Bob L. rated it liked it
I'm giving this book 3 stars overall- 2 stars for the first 2/3 of the book, which was drawn out and plodding, and 4 stars for the last third of the book, which is when the story took off. I think the book really could've benefited from better editing, a couple hundred pages could've been trimmed without losing anything essential to the story. Ultimately it was an enjoyable read, with actual historical events playing a part in the plot of the story.
Matthew Witemyre
Nov 01, 2013 Matthew Witemyre rated it really liked it
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
Oct 31, 2013 Bondama rated it it was ok
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
Mark Tallen
Oct 12, 2013 Mark Tallen rated it liked it
I have enjoyed this novel by Dan Simmons. This is only the third book that I've read that he has penned but I can say with confidence that he is one of my favourite authors. He is an extremely talented writer and after reading his novel 'Drood', (a hefty tome, just like The Abominable is) I found myself looking up his other books and purchased some. The Abominable is one that enjoyed but I don't rate it as highly as Drood. I don't want to give anything away (spoilers) about the book but I will s ...more
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Dan Simmons 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 Master
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“Mountaineers know that all mountains are in a constant state of collapse—their verticality being inescapably and inevitably worn down every moment by wind, water, weather, and gravity—but” 1 likes
“The Matterhorn’s summit ridge is not quite what excited journalists like to call “a knife-edge ridge.” Our boot prints in the snow along the actual ridge prove this. Had it been a knife-edge ridge, with snow, our boot prints would have been on both sides, since the smart way to traverse a true knife edge is to hobble slowly along like a ruptured duck, one leg on the west side of the narrow summit ridge, one on the east. A slip then will lead to bruised testicles but not—God and fate willing—a 4,000-foot fall.” 0 likes
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