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Under The Dome

by Stephen King
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publishing date: 10/11/2009
  • Language: Français
  • ISBN-13: 9781439148501
  • ISBN: 1439148503


Amazon Exclusive: Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan Reviews Under the Dome

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan share their enthusiasm for Stephen King's thriller, Under the Dome. This pair of reviewers knows a thing or two about the art of crafting a great thriller. Del Toro is the Oscar-nominated director of international blockbuster films, including Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy. Hogan is the author of several acclaimed novels, including The Standoff and Prince of Thieves, which won the International Association of Crime Writer's Dashiell Hammett Award in 2005. The two recently collaborated to write the bestselling horror novel, The Strain, the first of a proposed trilogy. Read their exclusive Amazon guest review of Under the Dome:

The first thing readers might find scary about Stephen King's Under The Dome is its length. The second is the elaborate town map and list of characters at the front of the book (including "Dogs of Note"), which sometimes portends, you know, heavy lifting. Don't you believe it. Breathless pacing and effortless characterization are the hallmarks of King's best books, and here the writing is immersive, the suspense unrelenting. The pages turn so fast that your hand--or Kindle-clicking thumb--will barely be able to keep up.

You Are Here.

Nobody yarns a “What if?” like Stephen King. Nobody. The implausibility of a dome sealing off an entire city--a motif seen before in pulp magazines and on comic book covers--is given the most elaborate real-life alibi by crafting details, observations, and insights that make us nod silently while we read. Promotional materials reference The Stand in comparison, but we liken Under The Dome more to King's excellent novella, The Mist: another locked-door situation on an epic scale, a tour-de-force in which external stressors bake off the civility of a small town full of dark secrets, exposing souls both very good...and very, very bad.

Yes, "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street," but there is so much more this time. The expansion of King’s diorama does not simply take a one-street fable and turn it into a town, but finds new life for old archetypes, making them morally complex and attuned to our world today. It makes them relevant and affecting once again. And the beauty of it all is that the final lesson, the great insight that is gained at the end of this draining journey, is not a righteous 1950’s sermon but an incredibly moving and simple truth. A nugget of wisdom you'll be using as soon as you turn the last page.

This Is Now.

Along the way, you get bravura writing, especially featuring the town kids, and a delicious death aria involving one of the most nefarious characters--who dies alone, but not really--as well as a few laugh-out-loud moments, and a cameo (of sorts) by none other than Jack Reacher. Indeed--whether during a much-needed comfort break, or a therapeutic hand-flexing--you may find yourself wondering, "Is this a horror novel? Or is it a thriller?" The answer, of course, is: Yes, yes, yes.

"...the blood hits the wall like it always hits the wall."

It seems impossible that, as he enters his sixth decade of publishing, the dean of dark fiction could add to his vast readership. But that is precisely what will happen...when the Dome drops.

Now Go Read It. --Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

The Story Behind the Cover
Click on image to enlarge

The jacket concept for Under the Dome originated as an ambitious idea from the mind of Stephen King. The artwork is a combination of photographs, illustration and 3-D rendering. This is a departure from the direction of King's most recent illustrated covers.

In order to achieve the arresting image for this jacket, Scribner art director Rex Bonomelli had to seek out artists who could do a convincing job of creating a realistic portrayal of the town of Chester's Mill, the setting of the novel. Bonomelli found the perfect team of digital artists, based in South America and New York, whose cutting edge work had previously been devoted to advertisement campaigns. This was their first book jacket and an exciting venture for them. "They are used to working with the demands of corporate clients," says Bonomelli. "We gave them freedom and are thrilled with what they came up with."

The CGI (computer generated imagery) enhanced image looks more like something made for the big screen than for the page and is sure to make a lasting impact on King fans.

Meet the Characters

Dale Barbara
Barbie, a drifter, ex-army, walks with a burden of guilt from the time he spent in Iraq. Working as a short-order cook at Sweetbriar Rose is the closest thing he’s had to a family life. When his old commander, Colonel Cox, calls from outside, Barbie's burden becomes the town itself.

Julia Shumway
The attractive Editor and Publisher of the local town newspaper, The Chester's Mill Democrat, Julia is self-assured and Republican to the core, but she is drawn to Barbie and discovers, when it matters most, that her most vulnerable moment might be her most liberating.

Jim Rennie, Sr.
"Big Jim." A used car dealer with a fierce smile and no warmth, he'd given his heart to Jesus at age sixteen and had little left for his customers, his neighbors, or his dying wife and deteriorating son. The town's Second Selectman, he’s used to having things his way. He walks like a man who has spent his life kicking ass.

Joseph McClatchey
Scarecrow Joe, a 13-year-old also known as "King of the Geeks" and "Skeletor, a bona fide brain whose backpack bears the legend "fight the powers that be." He’s smarter than anyone, and proves it in a crisis.

Chester's Mill, Maine (click on image to enlarge)

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  • No one develops a cast of characters like Stephen King
    From Amazon

    I should start by saying I have read every King/Bachman book/story he's written so I am certainly a fan. As the headline says, Stephen King does an outstanding job of developing backgrounds, histories, and events of many characters in all of his books. Nothing different here. What is a bit different is that this isn't a typical horror book - but rather shows the horror of people when facing unknown and overwhelming experiences. A good book - the only reason I gave it 4 out of 5 and not 5 is because I compare all his books to the best ones he's done like: The Stand, The Shining, and Shawshank Redemption. Also, the ending is a bit abrupt - hard to say that with a book with 1,000+ pages but there you have it. Enjoy.

  • I tried......hard, but this story left me very disappointed and tired.
    From Amazon

    I have been such a big fan of Steven King ever since I read 'The Stand'. I've even suffered through some of the poorly adapted to film versions of his great works because I liked the stories enough to suffer through their re-interpretations. I was in love with the Gunslinger and followed his main character Roland through all 7 books until the end and was very satisfied with the whole series.'Gerald's Game', 'It', 'Desperation'= all wonderful tales that I recall being riveting throughout their entire telling. This story, 'Under the Dome' was very, very hard to get through. I have never wanted to put a book down so badly. The premise is terrific and I was immediately pulled in by the first 100 or so pages, but then he loses the reader. There are too many characters that he felt the need to embellish that are not essential to the developing plot and final outcome. I understand weaving an intricate universe of townspeople and small town relationships but I think he went too far and became too engrossed in the specifics that really de-rail the pace of the novel. I finished this book because I wanted to see what happens, but I kept feeling like "I wish this would end" because it is really, really, boring. The villains, that he takes his precious time to develop and describe are built into this evil machine that he seems to just cast away at the very end instead of resolving their plights with literary justice or even taking that same energy that he used to think them up, to put them down. The novel is very long, 400 pages too long if you ask me and I never feel that way about a good story. It could be 3000 pages and I will relish every page if the story warrants it. This book is a tremendous letdown from such a wonderful story teller. I recommend you skip it and go back and read some of his classic works, for they are why we know this man's name. I'm not sad I read this, but will be much more picky in my future choices of his new works, especially if they resemble this recent effort.

  • one of the best readers ever!
    From Amazon

    Great reader (my new favorite I will be buying everything his name is on) Great Story end... meh Still it is a great ride and extremely enjoyable

  • Under the Dome
    From Amazon

    Another excellent book by Stephen King. We started listening to the book on the way to our sons in Milwaukee, WI and finished on our way back from our daughter's in Greeley, CO. The time flies when listening to a good book on a road trip, especially since we normally drive the 10 hours straight to Wisconsin and the 17 hours to Colorado. And Stephen King has never failed to keep us alert for plot twists and the road turns. A great listen or read.

  • The Blood Hits The Wall Like It Always Does
    From Amazon

    It certainly does not stand up to "The Stand" but it certainly carries around its 1000+ weight. I think King may be one of the most underappreciated writers when it comes to what literary scholars claim as "literary fiction." What seems more evident throughout this novel is a political sense of isolation and a moral sense of the human possibility of sinister action behind every nobel person, and a modernization of "Lord of the Flies" told from an adult perspective. There is obvious political connections to the Bush administration and it comes to no surprise that King is himself a staunch Democrat and critic of the Iraq war. What is most important is that the Dome represents an extended metaphor about our planet as a unique Dome of inexplicable and intangible proportions and that we are subject to the same political and sinister motivations as those under Chester's Mill. We are "ants" and we are "leatherheads" strung together together as some murky, sometimes faceless, entity. King has been criticised for his inability to leave the supernatural and his inability to create a proper ending that does not always rely on the eerie, horror element. But what would King bring to us if not the gift of an extraordinary imagination, carefully wrapped together in what only a seasoned writer can so incredibly display?

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