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The Terror

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  23,349 Ratings  ·  2,556 Reviews
The bestselling author of Ilium and Olympos transforms the true story of a legendary Arctic expedition into a thriller worthy of Stephen King or Patrick O'Brian.

Their captain's insane vision of a Northwest Passage has kept the crewmen of The Terror trapped in Arctic ice for two years without a thaw. But the real threat to their survival isn't the ever-shifting landscape o
Hardcover, 769 pages
Published January 8th 2007 by Little, Brown and Company
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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…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

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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 karen rated it really liked it

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 rare combination of to the lighthouse, and the thing, with hardy-esque occurrences of misunderstanding and som
Sep 09, 2009 Amanda 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 Lover ♥ Martin
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 the book and well. . . you know what
Michael Fierce
Aug 22, 2012 Michael Fierce 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 expla
Edward Lorn
Oct 16, 2014 Edward Lorn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paperbacks
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
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
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 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 undertak

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
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
Crystal Craig
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Wow! This book is quite the adventure - for the characters and the reader.

I'm writing my review having not completed the book; I'm 77% finished. I've held onto every single word; have had a hard time putting the book down - I don't want it to end, but it has too. We've lost many beloved characters along the way, and there's one evil doer who remains alive and I can't wait to see what his fate is. I know what he deserves, but we won't go into that ... spoilers and all. Also, what about this cre
Sep 28, 2007 Alex rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: anyone with brain damage
'The Terror' is the name of a ship. We join the ship in 1847 as it plows through chilly waters looking to chart new territory in the extreme North. It is rare that I go in for period pieces and I really can't abide the whole Master & Commander/we're-at-sea-in-days-gone-by literary movement that seems to have captured the hearts of so many old men. What I do go in for is man vs. nature set in extreme cold (child of the South- lover of mountains and winter -go figure). I thought once these fol ...more
Wil Wheaton
May 20, 2009 Wil Wheaton 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
Oct 21, 2011 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Terror is the ultimate tale of the human struggle for survival. Dan Simmon’s huge tome is based on Sir John Franklin’s failed 1845 exploration of the Northwest Passage. In real life the crew of the two ships, the Terror and Erebus, all perished. However, Simmons portrays a fictionalized account of this expedition by expanding this historical narrative into a horror story by dropping in a man eating ice monster to make everybody’s day just a little bit shittier.

My initial reaction was that t
Jul 26, 2008 Barney rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Olivier Delaye
Jun 09, 2012 Olivier Delaye rated it really liked it
This long (oh so long!) novel about Franklin’s 1848 lost expedition of the HMS Erebus & HMS Terror to the Arctic in hopes of finding a North-West passage was a bit of a mixed bag of highs and lows for me. First of all, I love historical novels with a touch of the fantastic like Kostova’s The Historian and in this regard Simmons hits a home run with The Terror, weaving to perfection authentic facts and Inuit legends and superstitions. Also, the descriptions and action scenes are masterfully w ...more
11811 (Eleven)
Jun 22, 2011 11811 (Eleven) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

Read 02/12 & 03/16

This is probably in my top ten for any book in any genre.

I'd volunteer for crucifixion before I volunteered for the Franklin Expedition. The supernatural element was unnecessary here; the reality of it alone was horrifying. Top notch storytelling, highly recommended.
May 30, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Thomas Strömquist
Mar 12, 2016 Thomas Strömquist rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A truly uniquely fantastic book. Simmons dramatizes a true historical event and makes a number of sailors' struggle towards an inevitable end over a course of seemingly way, way too many pages into a story that nothing short of mesmerizes! I've seen a few reviewers that has stated that the story could have been told in its entirety in a much shorter book but, while this is true, when the long result is this good, why would you wish for that?

There is not really much I can say about the story with
Apr 21, 2008 J.D. 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.

Jun 03, 2008 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
This is a very haunting and well written book. I finished this book in just a few days. Dan Simmons digs into the unanswered questions and writes what he thinks might have happened and does it brilliantly.

Don’t let the length of this book (almost 800 pages) intimidate you, otherwise you won’t know what you are missing!

The fate of Sir John Franklin's last expedition remains one of the great mysteries of Arctic exploration. What we know, more or less, is this: In the balmy days of May 1845, 129
Feb 16, 2008 Tim rated it it was amazing
If I read a better book than "The Terror" in 2008, I will be a very happy man. This harrowing, bleak, yet occasionally hopeful story of survival (or not) in the arctic is clearly the best of the four Dan Simmons novels I've read so far and, really, one of the 20 best books I've ever read.

"The Terror," a fictitious account of the ill-fated and mysterious Franklin Expedition that tried to find the Northwest Passage, shouldn't work as well as it does. A realistic, detailed account of the struggle t
"The Terror" really came close to that 5-star rating. However the last 75 pages or so were so out of character with the rest of the book, they really seemed like they didn't belong. "The Terror" is 90% historical fiction and 10% horror. The historical part is much more terrifying than the horror part. Simmons obviously did a lot of research on 19th century Arctic exploration in general and Franklin's Lost Expedition in particular. He fleshes out what little is known about the fate of the Erebus ...more
Orbi Alter
Jan 19, 2017 Orbi Alter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Ako postoji neki prosli zivot, vjerojatno sam bila kuhar koji pece nevjerojatnu kolicinu keksica za sav polusvijet na nekom jedrenjaku (iako bih voljela misliti da sam kartograf ili ice master-ali sam nazalost svjesna svojih mana, pa se ne mogu lagati):) Kako inace objasniti svoju gotovo opsjednutost s ekspedicijama, egzoticnim krajevima i skripecim jedrenjacima?

Sama prica o Franklinovoj ekspediciji o kojoj se u nase vrijeme sve vise saznaje (nedavno je pronadena i olupina Terrora) intrigirala
Jun 03, 2007 Trin rated it it was ok
This novel takes a historical event I am already very interested in—the doomed Franklin Expedition to find the Northwest Passage—and turns it into a horror story. A lot of what Simmons does is interesting: the character arcs of two of the main players, Captain Francis Crozier and Dr. Goodsir, are very well done, and there are some excellent set pieces—in particular a staging of Edgar Allen Poe's "Masque of the Red Death" amid the snow drifts and the polar ice. However, this was one of those boo ...more
Mar 21, 2010 Matt rated it liked it
I read this book during the worst breakup of my life. It was one of those break-ups that completely re-alter your perceptions, so that all sense of balance and scope is gone. It was a break-up like the one Kerouac wrote about at the beginning of On the Road, and it left me with the "feeling that everything was dead."

As I pushed through the unforgiving minutes of those days, I tried to find something to take my mind off the wearying and forlorn sense that I'd never care about anything again. The
Feb 24, 2017 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sweeter-reads
If I had to use one word to describe this book, it would be BRUTAL. From the weather to the sicknesses, from the terror on the ice to murder and cannibalism...this book was brutal! Not only are these men stranded in sub zero temperatures, they get frostbite on a regular basis, losing pieces of flesh, fingers and limbs. Add to this a terror on the ice that is stalking them and killing them. And if that isn't bad enough, add in some murder by knives, guns and poison and then a dash of cannabalism. ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
This book 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 and disappeared on a real life exploration of the arctic, it has a lot of interesting details about what it was like to be a ship-based explorer in the mid-1800's based on actual diaries and sto ...more
Jul 19, 2010 Marvin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Dan Simmons has written some very long and excellent novels but this may be the first in which every sentence is needed to tell this fictional account of Sir John Franklin's ill fated voyage to find the Northwest Passage. While the author included a supernatural element to the tale it does not extracted from the chilling account (no pun intended) of survival, or more precisely the lack of, in the cold Arctic of the 1840s. In fact the supernatural elements successfully resolve the story in ways t ...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
More about Dan Simmons...

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“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.” 24 likes
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