The bestselling author of Ilium transforms the story of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition into a devastating historical adventure that will chill you to your core.
DAN SIMMONS is a recipient of a Hugo Award and the author of acclaimed suspense and science fiction novels, including Darwin's Blade, Hyperion, Ilium and Olympos. He lives in Colorado. His website is www.dansimmons.com.
Simmons's lumbering seafaring adventure-cum-ghost story is solidly manned by Vance, who invests his reading with a vinegary tang perfectly suitable for the nautical setting. Vance derives special pleasure from the opportunity to dive into the book's mixture of King's English, Cockney, Scottish and Irish accents, delivering each with brio and panache. Working with characters who express themselves lustily, Vance avails himself of the opportunity to chew the scenery and makes the most of it. Simmons's novel mingles genres, alternating between horror and maritime action, and Vance uses tone and pitch to indicate the story's joints and digressions. Vance enjoys declaiming Simmons's characters' speeches in booming voices, as would be appropriate for the book's setting, but those listeners residing in apartments, or with babies, would be advised to keep the sound turned firmly down to avoid any potential noise complaints. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 6). (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Though Simmons is best known for his convoluted sf novels Hyperion, Ilium, and Olympos, his new work shows that he's also capable of writing a direct and compelling narrative. For the most part, it's a straightforward sea story following the difficulties of the dwindling remains of Sir John Franklin's failed 1840s mission to find the Northwest Passage. However, in addition to scurvy, frostbite, botulism, snow-blindness, and threats of mutiny, the crews of HMS Terror and HMS Erebus are harried by some enormous Thing out on the ice. The story is told from the viewpoints of several members of the ships' crews, with emphasis on Terror captain Francis Crozier and Erebus surgeon Harry Goodsir. The effects of malnutrition and climate on the men are related in grisly detail, while the predations of the Thing are often left vague. As several characters remark, the real monsters in this tale are their own shipmates and the North itself. It's clear that Simmons devoted a lot of time to researching the history of the Franklin Expedition. Highly recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/06.]-Karl G. Siewert, Hardesty Regional Lib., Tulsa Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Simmons has created a chilling supernatural novel... the horrific
trials of their impending icy deaths are vividly brought to life" *
DAILY EXPRESS *
"One of the most remarkable things I've read... nothing short of a masterpiece. It is a bona fide tour de force" * SFREVU *
"I am in awe of Dan Simmons" -- STEPHEN KING
"Go out and buy this book... a fantastic achievement. Gripping, well-observed, and at times genuinely frightening" * SFX *
"A revelation. Dan Simmons is a giant among novelists" -- LINCOLN CHILD