In 1845, two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror under the command of Captain John Franklin, left England in search of a northern water passage between Europe and China. The expedition never returned.
In The Terror, a fictional imagining of the disastrous voyage, the crew is subjected to outbreaks of disease, a spoiled food supply, debilitating cold, and bouts of scurvy. Oh yeah. There’s also a giant supernatural snow monster stalking them across the tundra. If the cold doesn’t kill them, the creature probably will. If it doesn’t get them, then their own colonialist hubris and refusal to see the salvation offered by the “savage” Inuit natives.
It’s a fairly bleak book. After all, we know the entire real life crew perished. But Simmon’s well-researched, Victorian writing keeps the story moving. Despite its starkly horrific scenarios, the book is hard to put down.