I finished this book last night. It's a fictionalized account of Sir John Franklin's ill-fated quest to find the Northwest Passage in the 1800s where the ships HMS Terror and Erebus were never found. Simmons uses this story as the basis for the book's content, which starts with the sailors and passengers in their 3rd year with their ships frozen in the ice. Not only are they in danger of running out of supplies, but there is "the thing" on the ice that is slowly but surely killing off the crew in very nasty, vicious ways. The crew eventually decides to abandon their ships in hopes of finding other ways out of the frozen wasteland.
Overall, this is a great book. I've read a lot of Simmons' work when I was in college (nearly 15 years ago) and I liked his style. This book shows that he's grown even more as an author. The book is big (well over 700 pages) and it took a while to draw me in, but that slow build pays off halfway through the book. At that point, I didn't want to put it down, and that's always a good sign that the story is engaging. The mystical/horror elements left something to be desired, but I think Simmons does a good job explaining what "the thing" is and how it's relevant to Crozier as well.
I enjoyed reading this book. It's a long story but it was well-worth the time I invested in reading it.
* Posted at 11.24.2009 11:18:06 AM CST | Link *