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Under the Dome [Hardcover]

Stephen King
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (515 customer reviews)

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Book Description

10 Nov 2009

Celebrated storyteller Stephen King returns to his roots in this tour de force featuring more than 100 characters - some heroic, some diabolical - and a supernatural element as baffling and chilling as any he's ever conjured.

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as 'the dome' comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. Dale Barbara, Iraq vet, teams up with a few intrepid citizens against the town's corrupt politician. But time, under the dome, is running out....

UNDER THE DOME is King at his epic best and will capture a brand new readership as well as thrilling his existing fans.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 886 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; First Edition edition (10 Nov 2009)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0340992565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340992562
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (515 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 65,444 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.

Product Description

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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, Stephen King of old! 26 Sep 2013
By Bunty
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon 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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87 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, not perfect, but still great 24 Nov 2009
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 7 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
As a long-time King fan I really enjoyed the pace, the dozens of well-drawn characters, and the 'rise of totalitarianism' allegory. But at the end they are all irrelevant (can't say why without making this into a spoiler). This book is like a long, intricate game of chess that finishes when someone kicks the board over.
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's more to King than meets the eye 19 Nov 2009
Format:Hardcover|Amazon Verified Purchase
As a long term Stephen King fan, I've been of the view for some time that his best work was behind him. However, with Cell and Duma Key, he seemed to be heading back to the King that I knew and loved when he was churning out books like The Stand, The Tommyknockers and It.

It was thus with some trepidation that I started to read Under the Dome. I'd desperately wanted to like the last 'old' novel that King had published, Blaze, but found that a terrible disappointment. And the early signs weren't good with Under the Dome. There's a very daunting list of 'dramatis personae' at the start of the book, and confusion reigned as seemingly hundreds of characters were introduced in the first fifty or so pages. Whereas King has handled large number of characters very successfully before, most notably in The Stand, that relied on reasonably long chapters to introduce each new group of people. In Under the Dome, there are seemingly dozens of new characters on every page at the start, and I can see readers being put off from carrying on unless they concentrate VERY hard on keeping track of who is who.

However, get through this, and the rewards are rich. When the dome comes down on Chester's Mill, Jim Rennie, the evil second selectman of the town, quickly seizes the reins of power, and the battle for power begins. On the one side is Rennie and his henchmen; on the other, a small group of townsfolk lead by Dale Barbara, a veteran of the Iraq war who, when the dome came down, was on the verge of leaving town. What follows demonstrates superbly the fact that the crimes of the few can bring suffering to the poor, as Rennie's tyranny takes root.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but still beats the devil 26 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
Under the Dome

The New England township of Chester Mills wakes one morning to discover that it's locked inside an impervious and mysterious barrier. Tensions begin to rise amongst the townspeople as local officials take control, and a series of grisly murders is unlikely to help matters.

This is not one of King's best, but I'll have to qualify that statement carefully. Under the Dome is typical King, an enormous, absorbing page-turner with a host of likeable (or likeably dislikeable), engaging and very American characters. I haven't sat up till the wee hours reading for a few years now but this and The Stand broke that drought comprehensively. If that were it, I'd be happy to give this a four star rating (I'm trying to ration my five star awards) without a moment's thought. But...

But, there's a couple of things something about UtD that grate a little. First off, I have always enjoyed and connected with the characters with which King peoples his novels and, as I've mentioned, UtD is peopled with the usual cast of personable characters. They are stock King-clones (farmers, librarians, university lecturers, small town police chiefs and so-on) to be sure and they are beginning to wear a little thin, but they are comforting and familiar for all that. The issue I have is with the main baddie: Big Jim Rennie, a larger than life villain, head of the town council, a used car salesman of ill repute, happy to trample friend and foe alike in day to day politicking and business and also content to take rather more murderous measures when the dome comes down. My problem is that he's just too bad.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Stephen King back on track
After a few dud novels, this one put the master back in the groove. In true king style, it started a bit flat, but climaxed in great style. Nice one. Second time I've read it now.
Published 2 days ago by Miff95
2.0 out of 5 stars Not his best work
I'm a die-hard fan so I'll read anything Mr. King writes. This one feels a little too forced. I didn't find the characters as believable as his characters usually are - they're... Read more
Published 8 days ago by S. Topzand
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent
This was brilliant it is a very good book and the delivery was brilliant, would definitely recommend it to my friends
Published 9 days ago by Wendy Masters
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Stared reading this because of the tv show however the book is brilliant could not put it down and the end did not disappoint
Published 10 days ago by LuckyDucky
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing
Stephen king at his best. Not since the dead zone and the stand have I read a book as good as this. I watched the 1st series of under the dome. Read more
Published 13 days ago by eastcoastdaveuk
5.0 out of 5 stars Under the Dome
Great book!!! It was my first Stephen King novel ( I do not read horror) and I loved it. I think that this book is the start of a new era. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant!!
Awesome book, long but worth every page - characters were fab, and there was no 'give aways' during the journey!

Looking forward to The Stand now :)
Published 20 days ago by Claire
5.0 out of 5 stars King at his best!
Because Stephen King is so great with words, he never writes a bad book. Some of his books are good, some are OK, but every now and then, he's great.

This book is great. Read more
Published 20 days ago by senna
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping and fascinating
a real study in small towns… brilliant characterisation and storytelling as always from stephen king… i want to know what happened next which is always a good thing!
Published 22 days ago by Sarah Crossland
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpeice
An epic Novel I'd grand proportions, not to be started lightly but to be read with relish and enjoyment to the very end.
Published 24 days ago by R ELLIOTT
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