Monday, March 26, 2007

The Terror by Dan Simmons

It took me awhile but I finally finished THE TERROR. At 784 pages, it's pretty meaty. I was attracted to this book because of the starred Publisher's Weekly review that I saw. And the writing does not disappoint. When I first saw the book, I thought it would be a "guy's" book similar of the Patrick O'Brien ilk. But it ended up being much more than that.
The book offers a fictionalized account of the ill-fated Franklin expedition of the early 1800's to find the elusive Northwest Passage. Franklin brings two ships, the Erebus and the Terror, to find the Northwest Passage but both ships end up getting trapped off course in the ice. The men face freezing temperatures, dwindling rations and even a supernatural creature that stalks them. Each chapter is told from the point of view of different members of the expedition. The story really draws you in and makes you feel as if you are trapped alongside those men in the ice.
The last 200 pages were difficult to get through. I started to feel a bit fatigued with the whole thing. And the ending was a bit preposterous. But, overall, the book is well-written and really reveals how difficult sea expeditions of the 19th century truly were.

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