Terror by Dan Simmons

Dan Simmons takes a historical piece of our past and places his own spin on things in his novel “Terror”.  Published in 2007, Terror is both riveting, original and well worth a read.  Many of you may know about the mysterious Franklin Expedition of 1845 where two ships set out to gather data concerning the arctic and be the first to cross the famous Northwest Passage.  However, sometime in the course of their mission, the two ships in the expedition, the Terror and the Exodus, disappear and have never been heard from again.  While John Franklin is the expedition leader, Simmons’ novel centers on the captain of Terror, Francis Crozier and his leadership and devotion to the mission.  While everything about the navigation appears positive at first, there are soon a series of unfortunate accidents, that defy explanation, and natural catastrophes that set the mission in grave danger.  In addition, there is a coincidence between the setbacks and the addition of new passenger.  As the men navigate the more dangerous sections of the ice, they find a lone wanderer, who later is revealed to be an Eskimo woman, walking along the ice.  As they rescue the mute woman and bring her with them on their voyage, mysterious and savage deaths begin to take place and the two boats appear to be being stalked by an unknown predator.  As Crozier realizes that not all is what is seems and there is definitely something or someone deliberately killing his men, it might be too late.  While there are moments in the novel where the pacing is rather slow, Simmons does a fantastic job creating an original fictional story based on a non-fictional event in history.  Taking a detailed and descriptive approach, Simmons tells a story that flows from beginning to end and I also loved how the suspense continually climbed throughout the novel, right to the pinnacle.  After reading this novel, I had to find anything else Dan Simmons wrote.  I’ll write an article in the future about the Dan Simmons novel “Drood”, it is just as good as Terror. Word Up!

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