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The Abominable

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  4,835 ratings  ·  872 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
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Rich Parker Like a painting, each viewer will interpret (even a historical) novel differently, that's part of the beauty. I do not disagree with your…moreLike a painting, each viewer will interpret (even a historical) novel differently, that's part of the beauty. I do not disagree with your interpretation, I can only tell you that I read "The Abominable" a few months ago and I so it has time to "simmer" and perhaps I missed something but I don't recall Mallory as being portrayed in a horrible light. Flawed, yes... especially in the sense that many upper class Brits in those times were very class conscious and/or arrogant to some degree. His bravery, concern for fellow climbers, and skill in mountain climbing are in no way questioned in this book, that I can recall. If you read "Drood" and "The Terror" you will see that Dan Simmons has done an immense amount of research on the ways of British nobility during the days when the sun never set on their Empire and I think it is historically accurate to portray some aristocratic snobbery in even the best of them. My opinion only, and I admit to being a big fan of his books.(less)
Mel
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

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3.57  · 
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karen
Oct 07, 2013 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
Matt
Oct 31, 2013 rated it did not like it

“Gradually, very gradually, we saw the great mountain sides and glaciers and aretes, now one fragment and now another through the floating rifts, until far higher in the sky than imagination had dared suggest the white summit of Everest appeared...”
- George Leigh Mallory

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 manu
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Kemper
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
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Bradley
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm a bit of a completionist at heart.

That means when I really love an author or at least a single one of their works, let alone several of their works, (or 8 novels that I simply adore,) then I just HAVE to work my way around all the OTHER novels that may or may not tickle my immediate fancy.

This is one of those novels.

I don't get thrilled about climbing novels. Yep, even one of those Tibetan hills. Sure, bits are pretty cool but I always had a bit of a hang-up about all the locals being treate
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Cheryl
Nov 06, 2013 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
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Nick T. Borrelli
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you go into this book thinking that it is about The Abominable Snowman or it is in some was a sequel to The Terror, you will absolutely hate it. If; however, you enjoy fiction set in frigid unforgiving harsh settings and adventure/action books, then this one will scratch that itch quite well. I think a lot of the negative reviews come from people who expected either one of the first two things that I mentioned. Taken by itself, I thought that Dan Simmons delivered a wonderful story and as alw ...more
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
William
Jan 28, 2017 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
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Rachel
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Thomas Strömquist
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-collection
My fingers seek holds, even the slightest wrinkle in the rock, but this is an obscenely wrinkle-free rock face. I keep moving to the left, held against the near-vertical cliff just by friction and speed. If you're fast enough, sometimes gravity doesn't immediately notice you.

The actual climbing scenes in this voluminous novel are truly riveting and I've found myself clinging on to them as to painful finger jams on a thousand feet overhang, the sheer exertion of it causing me to see stars - all
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Timothy Pecoraro
Oct 26, 2013 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
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Goran Skrobonja
Aug 20, 2015 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
Chris Bauer
Nov 16, 2013 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
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Mark
Sep 24, 2013 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
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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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11811 (Eleven)
Aug 29, 2013 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
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Nick
Jul 01, 2014 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
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Jon Recluse
Aug 29, 2013 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.
Reese Copeland
Nov 23, 2016 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
Nicole~
May 13, 2013 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 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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Sean Smart
Jun 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
Truly terrible - I wasted a week reading this long tedious story.
Liviu
Sep 02, 2013 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
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Sarah
Apr 02, 2016 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
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Kimberly
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Cathy
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
First things first: This is not a horror novel, regardless of what the book has been categorized as. It‘s a historical adventure yarn, heavy on mountain climbing, with thriller elements.

I went into this book with some hesitation. Ages ago I started reading Hyperion and abandoned it pretty quickly. It‘s been so long, I can‘t even remember, why I gave up. Earlier this year I read Ilium and Olympos. I gave Ilium 5 stars, although I struggled. The scope of the book was just so great and parts of it
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Kristine
Jan 11, 2014 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
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Nick
Nov 21, 2013 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
Guy Haley
Sep 09, 2013 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
Hudson
Oct 28, 2013 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
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Reading with E.: Reading with E. - March 2018: ABOMINABLE! 2 32 Mar 18, 2018 07:33AM  
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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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