That quote is from the blurb of this 950+ page book. I'm very sorry to say, that this book is NOT a thriller worthy of Stephen King!! Mr. Simmons has been known to write extremely long books, and many of them are quite compelling - this is not one that is compelling.The bestselling author of Ilium and Olympos transforms the true story of a legendary Arctic expedition into a thriller worthy of Stephen King or Patrick O'Brian
He does a very good job in setting the tone of the story, and the desolation of being 'stranded' in a very hostile environment. I feel he lacks 'putting us there' in this book. I just did not 'feel' being there - which is probably very hard to do since this story takes place 150 years ago, and is in one of the coldest places on earth. I could not 'feel' the 100 degrees below zero that he mentions, even though sometimes it was close to (and under) zero degrees outside as I was reading.
I knew going in that this book would be slow, due to the length, and even being prepared for that I was very hopeful that the horror, and the thriller parts of this book would make up for it. They did not!! There was very little in the horror and even less in the thriller parts of the book. Yes, there is a 'scary monster' stalking the men of the two ships that are stuck in the ice. But, you never get a good picture of it. It sneaks up on the men, and they never really 'see' it. Out of the nearly 1,000 pages, I estimate the 'monster' is in about 20 of the pages.
The real 'monster' of the story is living in a stuck ship for three years, running very low on food, running very low on coal (used to heat the ships, and cook food), running very low on wine and running extremely low on able bodies to do the work required.
This is an overlong book, that I really feel could have been done in less than 500 pages, and would have been a much tighter story. The fact that this book is so long, it is very disappointing to realize that the characters in the story are 'mysteries'. They are not very well fleshed out.
I would not recommend this book to anybody, except those that really want to try to 'feel' the isolation and harsh environments of the North Pole. If you are looking for a good scare or a great thriller, look elsewhere.
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