Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Terror” as Want to Read:
The Terror
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Terror

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  48,208 ratings  ·  4,840 reviews
The men on board HMS Terror have every expectation of triumph. As part of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, the first steam-powered vessels ever to search for the legendary Northwest Passage, they are as scientifically supported an enterprise as has ever set forth. As they enter a second summer in the Arctic Circle without a thaw, though, they are stranded in a nightmarish lan ...more
Hardcover, 769 pages
Published January 8th 2007 by Little, Brown and Company
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Terror, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Benjamin Atkinson I believe, IMHO, that Mr. Simmons was referring to the lack of humility that Western Society has displayed (see Titanic) and many other examples. The …moreI believe, IMHO, that Mr. Simmons was referring to the lack of humility that Western Society has displayed (see Titanic) and many other examples. The terror in this novel is many things it is the physical, visceral hell those men lived through, it is the terror of the unknown. But ultimately, I believe, the overarching terror is that the men leading this incredible expedition brought everything with them except a true knowledge of how the indigenous peoples survived cold climates with minimal technology. Same problem seen in America's approach to Vietnam; we did not understand the situation on the ground before we attacked. Iraq, Afghanistan, ad infinitum. Thank you for your question. Do you have any great book recommendations for me. I love hard sci-fiction and anything to do with survival and the psychology of isolation(less)
Arlem Llahsram Historically they were never found. Neither was Crozier or the Terror. Erebus was located a few years ago sunk and by way of sonar, Terror has not sho…moreHistorically they were never found. Neither was Crozier or the Terror. Erebus was located a few years ago sunk and by way of sonar, Terror has not shown up. Not many bodies were recovered. Many crew are still missing.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  48,208 ratings  ·  4,840 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Terror
mark monday
To: Mr. Dan Simmons
From: Associated Publishing Industries Unlimited, Ltd.
Subject: Your Recent Submission The Terror

Thank you for your recent submission. Unfortunately, at this time, we do not see a fit between your product and our company's goals.

Although our senior staff appreciated your technical ability, we noted several serious issues with your submission that need to be resolved prior to your product finding placement. These include, but are not limited to:

1. Extensive and Excessive Length
Mar 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
**lo! i have made a readalike list for this book over on riffle!**

oh my god, let me never get scurvy.

i am glad i am such a grad-school overachiever. for both the horror/sci-fi and mystery portions of my readers' advisory class, i have read one extra title from the selection list, and both times, i have liked the extra title best. (i did not choose to read an extra romance title, so we will never know how that would have turned out, alas)

this book is a rar
Sep 09, 2009 rated it did not like it
September 7, 2010: I don't want to talk about it right now. It's too soon and the pain is still too fresh. I shall review on another day.

September 17, 2010: It's been well over a week since my encounter with The Terror and the thought of writing a review still exhausts me, but here it goes.

I have read many glowing reviews of The Terror. That is, in fact, why I bought it. I mean, check out this kick ass plot:

Two British ships, the Terror and the Erebus, are frozen in the polar sea for years, wa
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
UPDATE: $2.99 on kindle US 7-27-17

People, just turn around and go home!

I probably shouldn't have went and read some facts about the history of this book because I might mess this review up. It's just so freaking interesting and I want to read about it. The author left a lot of resources for books at the end and there is one I'm going to try to get for sure.

The fact that Dan Simmons added an horror element to a historic novel is pretty awesome. And there are so many characters that I liked in th
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I guess I've read this book at least 5 times.
It's the only book that I've ever finished and then turned back to page one, and started again.
This story is the one that sent me on my year's long search for what I never knew I was missing. I read all sorts of Arctic explorers now. I wish I'd never known.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, buddy-read
Whew! I finished it. Wowza!
This is such a long book!!!!!!!

Don’t go into this one unless you enjoy big books, having the patience to let the story evolve and knowing that the pace can be slow at times.

I stuck in there from the beginning and the ending was well worth it! I was struggling in the beginning because the first 10 or so chapters in this book alternate between the present and the past when the Franklin expedition was started.
It also has different POV chapters with characters so also know
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1845 Sir John Franklin lead an exhibition of two big ships and crews in search of the Arctic's fabled North West Passage - this splendidly created and surprisingly subversively horrific book is Dan Simmons' very detailed, and very believable, fictionalised version of what happened to the 129 men of this expedition; and it's a doozy of a story, another epic Simmons' piece of work. The killer thing is though, if you read about what has since been found from the Arctic and the wrecks, nearly all ...more
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is so good!!!!!!!! What took me so long to read this?????

The men aboard the HHS Terror believe they will be the ones to successfully search for the Northwest Passage. The year is 1845 and the Franklin Expedition is steam-powered and after spending another a second summer in the arctic circle, their rations begin to dwindle, men's spirits begin to plummet and there is no end to the ice, cold and darkness. As the men begin to show signs of scurvy, they also are confronted by poisonous food, c
Michael Fierce
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction and oldschool books by Poe, Kipling, Algernon Blackwood & Ambrose Bierce

The Terror is a fictional tale based on the real life experience of the notoriously doomed John Franklin Expedition.

These brave men journeyed hundreds of miles by sea voyage in the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, part of the British Naval fleet sent to the Arctic to force the Northwest Passage in 1845–1848, and then travelled the rest on foot into the desolate, below-freezing temperatures of the Arctic wasteland.

All died or were never seen or heard from ever again.


Dan Simmons imaginative story ex
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Why am I reading so many books about the cold? Maybe because it's freezing here in Chicago!

This is a buddy read with Cristina, and I'll review as I go.

The first couple of hundred pages were surprisingly slow-going. There was very little propulsion about the plot--just occasional glimpses of the "terror" along with long passages of backstory that I didn't really find compelling. I don't know why I reacted like that. Maybe it was because I'd just read Crime and Punishment, another (and very differ
Bentley ★
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
See this review and more like it at!

I'm late to the party with this read, I know, but The Terror just came onto my radar when I realized that AMC was turning it into a television show. I'm a book-over-movie/tv adaptation purist. So many details end up falling to the wayside in an adaptation - for example, I've watched one episode of the show, and already spotted a major difference from the book. I knew I'd want to experience this story as Dan Simmons originally told it
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dan Simmons is an author's author.

Every time I read something by him that is either A: not quite in my interest zone, or B: reads workmanlike but nothing particularly brilliant, he SQUASHES my expectations.

HMS Terror and Erebus are out to find the Northwest Passage. In the meantime, I am tricked into caring about every one of the men on the ships. This is not a Darwin Award I'm reading, even though a few characters WERE on the Beagle.

This is a harrowing and perfectly period descent into an icy
Rachel Bea

I absolutely loved this book.

Don't let the page length stop you from reading it! Despite its length, the story moves quickly and there's incredible tension throughout. There are a ton of characters to keep you interested (but not too many that you lose track) and who you'll want to scream at for doing the wrong thing or an incredibly awful thing. Some parts were breathtakingly tense and some parts were frightening. Don't think of this as a horror book with a monster... This is so much mo
Wil Wheaton
May 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, 2010-project
Without getting into any spoilers: this is a fictionalized account of the doomed Franklin expedition to find the Northwest Passage in 1845. It is about hubris, greed, strength during unspeakable adversity, and possibly redemption.

Oh, there's also a terrifying monster that they call The Thing on The Ice which is slowly killing everyone aboard the two ships.

It's Dan Simmons, so he takes his time getting into the meat of the story (my dad said that he was telling three stories when he could have to
WOW! This historic tale of a doomed arctic expedition set in 1845 aboard the HMS TERROR is based on true events and one horrific adventure complete with unbelievably brutal sub-zero temperatures, and a terrifying monster from hell. Loaded with great characters including the mysterious 'Lady Silence' and a unique and surprising ending to say the least. While sometimes descriptively gruesome, an engaging story and thrilling read! ...more
Edward Lorn
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started out 2016 with a plan in mind. I wanted to read more doorstops and more books by non-American authors. I spent the majority of 2015 rereading Stephen King's entire catalogue and wanted this year to open new doors. So far in 2016, (ignore all those Koontz rereads, please and thank you) I've spent a considerable amount of time seeking out and reading authors who were not born or do not live in America and snowshoeing my way through massive tomes the likes of which Dan Simmons is known to ...more
Johann (jobis89)
“We are all eaters of souls.”

You know those books that you absolutely love, yet wouldn’t blindly recommend them to everyone? That’s me with The Terror. Absolutely LOVED it, but I don’t think it’s suited to every reader.

Incase you didn’t know, The Terror is based on the Franklin Expedition, when two steam-powered vessels set out in 1845 on a mission to traverse the Northwest Passage. So think big ships and lots of snow and ice. But of course, Simmons puts his own spin on it and also throws in ano
Stephen Robert Collins
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A perfect book for the hot weather as it's -50 set in Antarctica circle near Baffin Island & on King William Land in 1845-1848 in locked ships The Terror & The Erebus this has been made into AMC TV series From Sir Ridley Scott of Alien fame .
Set in between 1843-48 this book about two ships locked in the ice & it's also about man's fight with the cold but worse still there is something in the dark hunting them, something from old times pure evil.
What makes this so good is the descriptions 'His pa
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just re-read this deeply atmospheric gem of a novel and loved it just as much as the first time I read it! Probably even more since I have been thinking about this book for more than a year and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it again. I am absolutely gobsmacked by this riveting blend of historical fiction, adventure, horror and the folklore/myths of the Inuit people of the arctic circle. This was especially interesting to me since the long lost Northwest Passage expedition ship The Terror was ...more
Is the Terror a mythical beast in the Arctic? The Tuunbaq?
Is the Terror Her Majesty’s Ship of the same name?
Is the Terror nights that never end?
Is the Terror a Ripper style murderer and his penchant for mutilation?
Is the Terror knowledge?
Is the Terror sodomy?
Is the Terror a silent Esqimaux?
Is the Terror scurvy?
Is the Terror unrelenting ice floes?
Is the Terror belief?
Is the Terror remembrance?
Is the Terror dreams?
Is the Terror the past?
Is the Terror cannibalism?
Is the Terror doubt?
Is the Terror h
aPriL does feral sometimes
‘The Terror’can be shelved under several genres: historical fiction, horror, adventure. Wherever it is shelved, it is a fantastic read. However, it is long, with horrifying and graphic descriptions of illnesses, injuries and violent attacks. Since it is a fictionalized story about people who really existed (it is based on a real English explorer, Captain Franklin, and his last voyage to the Arctic), it has a lot of interesting details about what it was like to be a ship-based explorer in the mid ...more
The words that immediately come to mind in regards to Dan Simmons' The Terror are "Horrendously overrated" and "Incredibly repetitive". Unfortunately, this book for me is the equivalent to how I feel about aubergines, and for the majority of this reading experience, I was willing for it to come to an end, and as a prior warning fellow readers, I'm definitely not going to hold back here.

After reading SO many positive reviews about this, I was expecting to be completely bowled over. (That doesn't
Dan Simmons' The Terror may be one of the few novels I've read that makes me grateful to live in Texas. This imaginative re-telling of the doomed Franklin expedition of 1845 to find the Northwest Passage is overwhelming in its details of life and death in the Arctic north. The cold is constant, the dark is depressing, and the wind, snow, ice, fog, and (when it appears) water are life-threatening. These are things Texans don't have to worry about. I must remember this book when I want to complain ...more
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
“Why does our species always have to take our full measure of God-given misery and terror and mortality and then make it worse?”

The Terror. What to say about it?

It's long. It's well-researched. It's inventive. It's creepy. It's brutal. It makes you feel the cold.

If it weren't for the end, I may have gone with 4. It's not easy to rate. So much of it is worth 5 star, a few pushes it back, I'll be uncertain again and settle with 4.5

Embarrassingly, I had no idea this was based on a true story unti
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since this book tells of an Arctic expedition and ships trapped in the ice, it was the perfect read for a frosty December. Sadly, it hasn't gotten frosty here yet. But the book made me feel the cold these sailors had to endure, that's for sure.

The author takes the story of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, two British polar exploration ships that actually sailed into the Arctic to find the Northwest Passage in 1845, and gives it a little twist.
HMS Terror used to be a specialized bomb ship that saw a nu
Joe Valdez
Dec 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Dan Simmons has a multitude of strengths -- undeniable attention to detail, dialogue that sings with clarity, set pieces that can haunt for days -- but most notable might be restraint from barreling down any one genre: ghost story, alien story, survival story. The Terror has elements of each but trusts the reader's imagination to give the novel shape and texture.

This epic is a fictionalized account of the final voyage of Captain John Franklin, who set off for the Arctic Ocean in 1845 to locate t
Apr 21, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: hardcore Simmons fans only
I'm a big Dan Simmons fan, but at several points during this book, I found myself thinking, "will someone get this man an editor?"

There's a great horror tale in here. Unfortunately it's buried under layers of fat. Ironic, since lengthy descriptions of starvation and scurvy take up so much space in the book.


On May 1845 two ships, HMS Terror led by captain Crozier and flagship HMS Erebus commanded by captain Fitzjames, set sail on the expedition to find legendary Northwest Passage. Leader of the enterprise which was to get England fame and glory but also establish it primacy on the field of Arctic exploration was sir John Franklin. The whole expedition counted 129 people in total. And no one of them ever returned from the voyage. Both people and ships get lost in the vastness of ice.

The whole undert
Metodi Markov
Review on English, followed by the Bulgarian one. Ревюто на английски е първо, следва това на български.

I don't know if you will ever read this but anyway - thank you for the great book Mr. Simmons!!!

What a novel -simply epic!

With a smooth, almost somnolent start, a surprise rise of the tension to the finish that far exceeded my expectations!

Simmons is familiar to us mainly with his science fiction books, but this is pure adventurous novel with unheard-of scope, at least for me.

The atmosphere an
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Holly Torres
Recommended to Dustin by: Bondama
"A brilliant, massive combination of history and supernatural horror. Being marooned in arctic ice with nothing to eat but your shoes (or — gulp — a helping of shipmate stew) is bad enough; the unseen white monster stalking the nights is worse. Put a log — or, better yet, two — on the fire while you read this one."

Long before I became aware of Stephen King's high regard for Dan Simmons' The Terror, (as evidenced in the above blurb,) I'd come to love his work, via Carrion Comfort, a few ye
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Horror Aficionados : The Terror on AMC 43 184 Oct 02, 2020 04:46PM  
Vampires, Weres a...: Horror: The Terror 15 14 Aug 11, 2020 04:46AM  
Pessimist Book Club: The Terror 3 20 Sep 23, 2019 08:18PM  
a outra mafalda [...: O Terror de Dan Simmons (Maio) 13 19 Jul 04, 2019 02:21AM  
Play Book Tag: The Terror by Dan Simmons - four stars 1 10 Mar 12, 2019 03:34AM  
Lady Silence ... book vs. AMC? 3 55 Jan 15, 2019 06:04PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Ruins
  • The Fisherman
  • Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition
  • The Troop
  • The Hunger
  • The Deep
  • Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition
  • The Only Good Indians
  • The Ritual
  • Ghost Story
  • Erebus: The Story of a Ship
  • A Head Full of Ghosts
  • Я бачу, вас цікавить пітьма
  • Later
  • Hell House
  • Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre
  • The Strain (The Strain Trilogy, #1)
  • Dark Matter
See similar books…
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

Articles featuring this book

It's no secret that television is getting in on the book adaptation game. With so many channels—along with Netflix, Hulu,...
80 likes · 18 comments
“Luckily, even as a young man not yet become himself, John Bridgens had two things besides indecision that kept him from self-destruction - books and a sense of irony.” 39 likes
“We are all eaters of souls.” 34 likes
More quotes…