Wednesday, June 25, 2008

new book! (and nerd alert)

The Terror, by Dan Simmons. Some months back I happened to catch an utterly fascinating episode of Nova about British Royal Navy officer John Franklin and his ill-fated expedition to map a treacherous portion of the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic. The expedition consisted of two ships, the HMS Erebus and the titular HMS Terror, which departed from England in 1845. It wasn't until 1846 though that trouble arose when presumably the two ships became stuck in the ice, forcing the crewmembers to disembark and begin a trek across the unforgiving landscape. Tragically, but not surprisingly, no one survived the expedition, with evidence pointing to tuberculosis and lead poisoning from tin cans as probable causes to early demise aside from the obvious exposure to conditions. There were, however, tool marks on the remains of several men that suggested episodes of cannibalism. All in all a rather grisly tale on its own, but Simmons has apparently upped the ante here by adding one more threat: to quote the cover flap, "an unseen predator stalking their ship, a monstrous terror constantly clawing to get in." Historical fiction with a dash of the supernatural - I am SO there!

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