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Under the Dome Hardcover – 10 Nov 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 886 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; First Edition edition (10 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340992565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340992562
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 5.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (649 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are the Dark Tower novels, Cell, From a Buick 8, Everything's Eventual, Hearts in Atlantis, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and Bag of Bones. His acclaimed nonfiction book, On Writing, was also a bestseller. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

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Amazon Review

The achievement of Stephen King is unlike that of any writer. He has taken a genre which was somewhat moribund when he came to it -- the horror novel -- and transformed it into one of the most phenomenally successful areas for quality popular writing -- what's more, his unprecedented sales success has inspired hundreds of imitators, and while few can match his inspiration (or, for that matter, his jawdropping productivity), there is no question that he has rejuvenated the horror field. Not that King confined himself to the strict parameters one might associate with the genre; several of his books -- such as this latest one, The Dome, stray into science fiction territory). But King’s achievement doesn't end there -- such is his influence over other genres (notably the crime and thriller field) that writers in those genres have been obliged to up the ante in terms of gruesome compulsiveness (Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter books, for instance, owe much to the King transformation of the popular literature field). And as for that loaded world – ‘literature’ -- isn't Stephen King reputed to be the author who has brought quality writing into a field not noted for such things? (Not, that is, since the halcyon days of Edgar Allen Poe in a previous century). Is that claim true of the new book?

So... The Dome. This massive novel, 25 years in the writing (if Stephen King is to be believed), is quite his most ambitious project, and brings to mind earlier blockbuster novels which aficionados considered to be among the writer's best work. Something like the basic premise here may be found in a classic piece of British science fiction, John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos (filmed as Village of the Damned). In that book, a village is isolated by an invisible force field -- and in the King novel, the residents can no more get out than the outside world can enter. John Wyndham's narrative involved the insemination of the women in the town by unseen alien presences, but Stephen King in The Dome has chosen to work in a different area. When the small New England town of Chester's Mill is cut off from the outside world by a mysterious force, all the laws of physics seem to be up for grabs; cars leaving town come up against invisible barriers, and there is death and mutilation for whatever was caught in the boundaries of an invisible field. Inside the dome, the inhabitants of the town deal with the catastrophe in a surprising (and often alarming) variety of ways: ex-military hero Dale Barbara has already come up against the antisocial elements of the town, and has been trying to get out. But the self-styled boss of the town, the demagogue Big Jim Rennie, soon establishes a Machiavellian control (another echo of the books of John Wyndham, in which catastrophe always throw up vicious, fascist-style leaders who capitalise on the disaster).

As ever, King develops his massive dramatis personae with great assurance, and demonstrates once again that his imagination in terms of plotting is as strong as ever. Those, however, who have made a case for King as a quality writer rather than a great popular entertainer will not find much ammunition for their arguments here, but this great sprawling canvas affords many pleasures. --Barry Forshaw


'Spooky, mysterious, gripping and satisfyingly scary' (Daily Telegraph on JUST AFTER SUNSET)

'King has the ability to capture the reader's imagination from the first page' (Sun on JUST AFTER SUNSET)

His most accomplished work: 13 beautifully turned tales, no two of which are alike (Daily Express on JUST AFTER SUNSET)

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4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Horatio Bannister on 3 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
Under The Dome is a book of 900 pages and an effective measure of Stephen King's development since his last doorstopper 31 years ago. Where the writing in The Stand was patchy and baggy, Under The Dome is consistent and lean. The cast of characters, major and minor, is handled much more skilfully. For Stephen King fans, Under The Dome will deliver the usual rewards: we are held, compelled, and propelled.

Are the usual rewards enough after 40 odd novels? We've been under Stephen King's dome for 35 years and every blade of grass is familiar to us, perhaps over familiar. The town in this story is a Maine small town filled with characters who are the usual stock and trade of a King novel: the small-town-punk-bully; his easily led friends; the settled-for-too-little-brainy-liberal; the fat-ageing-honest-policeman; the malevolent-town-big-shot; the nice-guy-hero-outsider. The punk-bully and his friends deliver the same after closing time beating to our new hero as they did to Nick Andros 31 years before in The Stand. His story is repeating itself.

The characters are not very complex; they're either good or they're bad and that's about it. So wholesome and dull are the good people of the little town that one would soon be driven to desperate acts were one confined with them. Like many a Stephen King hero, Dale Barbara is colourless, but good. As usual, only the bad guys have any real nuance or character development, principally "Big Jim" Rennie who's "feelin' it" moments are a fine insight into the puffed up village Napoleon. Other black hat characters have nice turns too.

We have the oft-repeated struggle between good and evil within the dome, with an added element: the dome itself. The dome is the most interesting character in the book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bunty on 26 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a really good read, I have throughly enjoyed the whole thing. Menacing and edgy, makes you wonder what you would do in the same sort of situation. Stephen King can write a story about people, doing things either they didn't know they were capable of, or hoped they weren't capable of. Give it a try. Watching it on TV at the moment, and it bears hardly any resemblance to the book, and is pretty dire. If I had seen the TV show first, I probably wouldn't have bought the book, so don't let it put you off, the book is much much better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keiran Lee Foord on 30 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
For those who have seen the CBS TV show of Under The Dome and are about to read this here is a little warning:
The books is nothing like the TV show, apart from the characters names. But I don't mean that it is a terrible book, on the contrary, I found it more enjoyable reading the book than I did watching the TV show. But yeah, I also loved the TV show.
In my opinion if you have seen the show and are going to read the book (Like I did), go in with a new mind and you will love it.

Under The Dome is brough to us by the amazing mind of Mr. Stephen King, and tells of Chester's Mill a town in Maine (Where almost all of his books are based in) how one day an invisible dome crashes around their town sealing them off from the rest of the world. The story takes place in a couple of days (In the tv shpw, it takes place in 2 or 3 weeks) So with the population of CM under the dome, and put under preassure of wanting to get out alive, people start to show their true colour.

I loved this book 100% and finishing it in under 5 days. My opinion, if you LOVE Stephen King as much as I do, then Under The Dome is a must read!
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93 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. S. Coward on 24 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read this brick of a book in a matter of days which is saying something as I have a full-time job and not an awful lot of time on my hands... all the same I literally couldn't help myself. Stephen King is nothing if not a bloody good read!

The premise is great, well-written and spooky and there are some brilliant characters. Also for the first half of the book a kind of supernatural whodunnit is played out (Who made the dome, was it aliens, the army, something/someone else?) which I found really enjoyable. All in all I really do feel it does stand up to scrutiny when compared to his previous classics; like IT and the Tommyknockers which I feel it owes a lot. Then again (unlike some reviewers) I am not a hater of modern king, I really loved Duma Key for example.

I have but two qualms, one is the children. Now I really really feel that before Mr King next puts pen to paper (or finger to laptop) he should go out and have a talk to a real 12-18 year old of today. I say this because Kings writing of modern day children and teenagers in Under the Dome is sometimes stilted, occasionally cloying and once or twice plain bad. At it's worse King sounds similar to a middle-aged politician using 'catch-phrases' and 'hip anecdotes' and references 'things that young people like' in an embarrassing attempt to be 'down with the kids'. Maybe if King just tried less hard to use 'youth lingo' with his young characters they'd feel more natural. That aside... I did like the three main young characters even if I had to wince at their dialogue a couple of times.

Secondly, the payoff was a little disappointing. I think the idea was pretty good and the final sequence was actually pretty well written but I guess I was hoping for one final injection of fear...
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