The Abominable

The Abominable

3.7 22
by Dan Simmons

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ALA Reading List Award for History, Short List

A thrilling tale of high-altitude death and survival set on the snowy summits of Mount Everest, from the bestselling author of The Terror

It's 1924 and the race to summit the world's highest mountain has been brought to a terrified pause by the shocking disappearance of George


ALA Reading List Award for History, Short List

A thrilling tale of high-altitude death and survival set on the snowy summits of Mount Everest, from the bestselling author of The Terror

It's 1924 and the race to summit the world's highest mountain has been brought to a terrified pause by the shocking disappearance of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine high on the shoulder of Mt. Everest. By the following year, three climbers — a British poet and veteran of the Great War, a young French Chamonix guide, and an idealistic young American — find a way to take their shot at the top. They arrange funding from the grieving Lady Bromley, whose son also disappeared on Mt. Everest in 1924. Young Bromley must be dead, but his mother refuses to believe it and pays the trio to bring him home.

Deep in Tibet and high on Everest, the three climbers — joined by the missing boy's female cousin — find themselves being pursued through the night by someone . . . or something. This nightmare becomes a matter of life and death at 28,000 feet - but what is pursuing them? And what is the truth behind the 1924 disappearances on Everest? As they fight their way to the top of the world, the friends uncover a secret far more abominable than any mythical creature could ever be. A pulse-pounding story of adventure and suspense, The Abominable is Dan Simmons at his spine-chilling best.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Even Jake Perry, the fictional travelogue author Dan Simmons “meets” in his latest novel, jokes that his reader may not make it through this “endless stack of notebooks.” But lovers of Simmons’s blend of alternate history, mystery, and myth will appreciate this three-act thriller set in the interwar years. Young American alpine climber Jake is invited on a “recovery” mission to find Percival Bromley, a British lord who vanished on Mt. Everest. Much of the novel is devoted to the strategies and techniques of mountain climbing as it was developing in the 1920s, and Jake, his friend Jean-Claude, and team leader Deacon spend a lot of time rubbing elbows and comparing gear with real alpinists of the era. But amid the wash of detail, Simmons plants crucial facts and conjectures about early-20th-century Europe that won’t pay off until Jake and his party are nearing the top of the world. Can murder and carnage be fully explained by the evil of men? Is a supernatural threat looming over the expedition? As usual, Simmons doesn’t answer all the questions he’s raised when the mysteries surrounding the loss of Percy Bromley are resolved, but his fans, like Jake, are sure to enjoy the journey. Agent: Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Associates. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"It has taken a great American writer to tell the most extraordinary story about Everest that I have ever read."—Nives Meroi"

I am in awe of Dan Simmons."—Stephen King"

Dan Simmons is a giant among novelists."—Lincoln Child

Nives Meroi
"It has taken a great American writer to tell the most extraordinary story about Everest that I have ever read."
Stephen King
"I am in awe of Dan Simmons."
Lincoln Child
"Dan Simmons is a giant among novelists."
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-10-01
A yeti? Jawohl! Simmons (The Terror, 2007, etc.) never met an opportunity for allusive terror that he didn't like, and though his latest is set mostly in the Himalayas, he pays quiet tribute to Poe's Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and perhaps Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, with a dash of Raiders of the Lost Ark for leavening. The last, after all, introduced us to the possibility of an Asian mountain range swarming with operatives of the budding Third Reich--but of that, lest spoilers result, let us speak no more. The premise is lovely: A memoirist, years after the fact, turns his manuscript over to a published writer for--well, not fame and fortune, but to find the one, just the one, ideal reader. He is one of three climbers who, having heard of the death of Mallory while having lunch after a hard climb of the Matterhorn, decide to head to Everest and find out what happened to their fallen idol. Weird possibilities ensue, including the apparent prospect that Mallory was felled, as were other climbers, by abominable (whence the title) snowmen eager to protect their mountain fastness. But perhaps not, given, as the Allied team (an American, a Briton and a Frenchman) find themselves in the cross hairs of eight-millimeter firearms "[p]opular with the Austrians and Hungarians in pistols designed before the War by Karel Krnka and Georg Roth...later produced by Germans for infantry officers." A bummer to discover such things in the midst of howling spin drifts five miles above the sea, but what's a becramponed fellow to do? Simmons never once blinks in the face of the improbable, and he serves up a lively, eminently entertaining adventure that would do Edgar Allan Poe--and even Rudyard Kipling--proud.
Library Journal
In his latest historical thriller, Simmons returns to the icy climes that made The Terror so brilliantly harrowing, only this time aiming a little higher: Mount Everest. It's 1924, and the international alpine community is reeling from the disappearance of George Mallory atop the as-yet-unscaled peak. Galvanized by the tragedy, young Jake Perry and his two climbing companions vow to make it to Earth's highest point. After securing the patronage of Lady Bromley, the grieving mother of a man who also disappeared during the Mallory expedition, they join forces with the missing man's cousin to scour the mountain and belay their way to the summit. As they ascend, the expedition takes on a terrifying significance when the climbers discover why Bromley went missing and what they must do to survive. While the ultimate reveal is somewhat anticlimactic, it's the long journey that matters, and Simmons doesn't skimp on any of the gory details. The techniques, equipment, and ascent are described with painstaking historical accuracy, which makes the actual expeditions of the early 20th century seem all the more incredible. VERDICT Simmons proves his versatility once again with this dizzying adventure. Historical fiction and thriller fans will find plenty to like. [AMC is currently developing a series adaptation of The Terror.—Ed.]—Liza Oldham, Beverly, MA

Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.80(d)
1250L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

Dan Simmons is the award-winning author of several novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Olympos and The Terror. He lives in Colorado.

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The Abominable 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Eric_J_Guignard More than 1 year ago
REVIEWED: The Abominable WRITTEN BY: Dan Simmons PUBLISHED: October, 2013 I find that one of the greatest indications of talent in authors is the ability to write in entirely different styles and voices, and this Dan Simmons possesses in excess. He has the ability to weave tight narrative, to fill dialogue with humor and insight and fear, has the ability to create worlds set in the future, present, or past. Quite simply, he outputs vast diversity amongst his many stories. The downside of this talent is that the reader doesn’t know what to expect when beginning one of his new works. Perhaps my mind just had expectations of heart-pounding action or of supernatural mayhem, but reading ‘The Abominable’ was somewhat boring. I love historic genre fiction, and I think Simmons is one of the absolute best in this field. His prose is beautiful and carefully crafted to convey the spirit of the era he’s writing in. Simmons knows every detail of every manufacturer, every geographic element, every slang in vernacular that his characters encounter. But in this latest book, he simply takes it too far. Tens of pages go into the detailed explanation of climbing shoes and chapters of description explain the ins-and-outs of scaling every type of ice, differences in toeholds, variations of granite, distribution practices of pack suppliers, etc. The author has done his research and he seems to want to cram every footnote of those studies upon you. The story itself is a well-crafted drama, written in memoir fashion, but Simmons could have cut out half of it and the novel would have succeeded twice as well. Overall, it’s a rich and magnificent book, but entirely too slow-moving for my subjective taste. Four out of Five stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. I've never climbed mountains and never will, but I feel I got a true taste of the experience. Incredible, far-reaching story, across time, nations, and, of course, mountains. Nothing was easy here, and certainly not the core of the story, which took place during Hitler's time. Wonderful complexity and insight, all taking place in a precarious world,... locally in the mountains, and with global repercussions. I'm grateful to the author for the experience. The hero, Jake Perry was both a simple and remarkable man, and his story will stay with me.
TimothyRook More than 1 year ago
As a writer you are taught a few things right off the bat. Things that publishers and editors will never deal with. Things such as too much exposition and a plot that moves too slowly to engage the reader. Also, you are taught that if you promise the reader something you had better make good on your promise. It is the idea of Chekov’s gun, “If you put a gun on the mantle piece in act 1, you better fire it at some point.” I would like to submit to you, my fine reader; that Dan Simmons has actually made every single one of these mistakes as well as a few more in Abominable. An aptly titled work, not for the story but for the quality of it. I will begin by telling you that under no circumstances would I recommend reading this book and I was not furnished with it by the publisher. So I’m $12 in the hole here. I’m hoping to make sure you aren’t. There will be SPOILERS and I try not to do this but in this case it is necessary so. If you don’t want to be spoiled, then STOP READING THIS REVIEW NOW! But if you are going to follow my advice and not read the book or you don’t care about spoilers please continue. The first problem I have with this book is simple. It is TERRIBLY BORINGLY LONG! The book wears out it’s welcome while talking about Alpine style mountain climbing circa 1925 for the first 400 pages! Yes, you get to read about how they did it in old days for 400 glorious pages. Thanks Mr.Simmons, but no thanks. This I might have been able to muster if the work then, around 429 didn’t tantalize you with stories about yetis only to drop the subject completely only a couple of pages later. Obviously trying to foreshadow future events… But not really… Second, the author decides that the characters in it are so interesting and exciting that every time we learn some new fact about one particular character named, Deacon. The entire conversation and paragraph should stop as if to say, “Dun, dun, dun…” There is an entire section near the end of the book where there are people hunting our four main characters and we find out that Deacon is a Buddhist and the entire book stops while he talks about why and how he became one. Making us think this is somehow important or interesting. I could have left Deacon completely alone considering how poorly characterized he was and he certainly fails in his mentorship of Jake Perry our main character so I’m not entirely sure why as a reader we should have cared one iota about Deacon. But Dan Simmons obviously loved him to death. Third, the entire book is told in limited 3rd person until we reach Part 3 which is around 500 pages in and then the author switches to first person. The problem is that the author’s conceit about the book is that it’s a found journal. I’ve never known anyone to write a journal in third person and the author even highlights this himself in the introduction to part 3 by trying to explain why 2/3 of the book was written that way. It was sloppy and the book’s story up until that point was so unnecessary that it could have and probably should have started with Part 3 Fourth, the book breaks a fundamental promise to the reader. This book is a horror book where there will be yetis. Many reviews have talked about the reader feeling as if, for some reason this should have been a horror book and it wasn’t. That’s because the author basically plays a Scooby Doo on the reader. Except that in Scooby Doo you are EXPECTING the monsters not to be real. It is supposed to be a mystery. This book’s lead up was framed in such a way that it made the mystery be the excuse for the story not the reason for it. Unfortunately, the author was actually trying to make you believe that the mystery was the book. He acknowledges this many times in Part 3. And the worst part about this is that the reader never sees this coming. Part 3 begins on page 444 of a 663 page book. Which means that by the time the reader realizes that he/she has been duped they figure they might as well read through the rest of the book. Finally, I would like to say that this book is the most unimaginative drivel that I’ve ever had to waste 663 pages of reading on. It was like watching a bad made for TV movie, where there wasn’t the budget for monsters so they had to make them imaginary. And better still, in made for TV movie style the villains were Nazis. The actual text and plot of this book don’t even pertain to the subject of this blog but I was reviewing it because other publications had the book in their best of October 2013 features. It isn’t horror, science fiction, or fantasy. It’s historical adventure fiction and horrible adventure fiction at that. I’ve read worse books this year, but none from award winning authors and none that were so terribly long!
JamesS More than 1 year ago
To quote the cover blurb this is "...the most extraordinary story about Everest that I have ever read."  The book reads like the journal (which it perports to be) of one who actually climbed Everest in the 20's and is based on the life of a real person, Jake Perry.  Fascinating reading about the development of Jumar ascenders, 12 pt crampons, and ice tools.  Th e real life story of George Mallory and Sandy Irwin was nicely integrated into this adventure also.  The "Abominable" wasn't introduced into the story until about 500 pages in but it was a monster of epic proportions.  I thoroughly enjoyed every minute I spent with this book and was sorry it ended.  
Rynigma More than 1 year ago
The plot twist was unoriginal and boring
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story will resonate with me for years to come. I was so moved by this book I bought one as soon as I finished the wonderful audiobook @ my public library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Impossible to put dow, this brilliant, epic, macabre adventure has a bit of everything, and Simmons blends it all together perfectly. Don't miss!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I spent $40 on the book on cd. I quit listening on the 10th of 24 cds. The narrator was awesome. He kept things interesting but the story was a lost cause. The technical information started wearing me out and the there was no build up happening. I don't recommend this book at all.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. Well written and very interesting for amateur mountaineers who follow Mt Everest expeditions. Believeable and likeable characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Long but fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book about climbing and the early Everest attempts in the 20s. Heavy reading but very exciting and challenging.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First, I say save your money and time and go for the vastly superior "The Yeti" by Mike Miller, which is a great page-turner about treasure-hunters battling this monster in non-stop action. I found it at his site and is much better than this book. While I'm a big fan of "The Terror," and both stories are extremely similar - epic historical adventure/suspense stories in frozen climates with supernatural creatures - this one just falls flat. It's almost 700 pages long, and takes over 200 pages before they even start the climbing. Simmons has alotta neat details and history about mountain-climbing technology and the Himalayan region, but I'd rather read a travelogue for that stuff. The back ending finally picks up with the excitement, but then ends with one his typically obtuse finales. While I tolerated the one in "The Terror," I couldn't stand the conclusion of the "The Abominable." Perhaps if I read them in the other order or had more patience for scientific exposition, I would've liked "The Abominable" more, but the whole book was a weak retread of his previous work. This is only recommended for his diehard completist fans, and for those who enjoy insufferably long passages about the history, science and culture of the early 20th-century. Again, you should really read Mike Miller's "The Yeti" instead for a "'King Solomon's Mines' meets HP Lovecraft" adventure/horror book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Just did not like the certain climax. Ended well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of Simmons, but come on! A monster that does not appear for over half the book? Read "The Terror" instead. You won't be disappointed.
Cthulhu99 More than 1 year ago
I think the Terror is his best book,but this one is his second best book