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The Terror
(Dan Simmons)

The Terror by Dan Simmons is a mix of history and monster mystery. In 1845, Sir John Franklin led an expedition to the Artic consisting of ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror and 128 men, to try to discover a route through the ice in the north, the Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The story of Franklin, his crew and their early voyage is documented history, with names, ages and duties. Where the fictional part of this story comes in, is from the fact that no one ever heard from Franklin?s expedition again once they reached the artic area. The Terror gives one man?s idea of what may have happened to the 100+ men never found, mixing in an unknown polar bear/yeti type creature whose mission seems to be killing, violently, the men, especially the officers, of the Franklin expedition.In history, no one has yet to discover how the leader, Sir John, actually died; we just know he did as some later explorers found a note stating that Sir John died in 1947. In Simmons?s book, Sir John is mauled by the creature and drowned below the ice, his body never recovered.Captain Crozier, the man next in charge after Franklin (true), must find a way to keep the remaining members of the crew alive, even while running out of food (true), battling scurvy and other illnesses (true) and keeping the creature away, which isn?t easy as their bullets can?t kill the monster, and it is so huge it can jump up onto their ships when ever it desires and snatch men away to their deaths. Eventually, after 2 years beset by ice with no animals around to shoot for food and ice too thick to dig a hole to fish, and the ships slowly being crushed by the ice pack, Crozier decides they must take as much as they can and leave the ships, hopefully to find food and salvation. The men leave the Terror, the Erebus having already been destroyed by ice, in 1948 and move to nearby King William Land and build a base camp they call Terror Camp. They trudge along the ice, these emaciated and sickly men, carrying food, boats, personal items and men weakened by disease, knowing the creature is trailing behind them. Who will survive? Will anyone survive to be rescued? Simmons has written a fascinating mix of truth and fiction that most readers will enjoy.

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