This is a great book in my opinion and shows Stephen King at the peak of his powers.
I remember trying to read this book when i was quite young and i never really enjoyed it.It sat in my collection until a couple of years ago and then i read it at a rate of knots!
The basic plot, is that a super-virus is accidentally unleashed on the public.Nearly all of the population is wiped out, and the few remaining survivors are drawn to two people they dream about.Flagg is one.Mother Abigail is the other.The story shows how people survived the outbreak, then begin to reform society and then decide how to fight against the evil Flagg.
That is it in a nutshell - without spoiling anything too much.
There are characters in here aplenty.Ones that you identify with, ones you dislike; but all of them grip you.The way King writes about these characters is excellent - you HAVE to know what is going to happen to them.And they are so well developed that you almost know what they are going to do before they do it! My own personal favourite character is Larry.He changes throughout the book and is the one who you really feel has an internal struggle about what he is doing - he constantly questions his own worth and morality and it is really insightful of Stephen King to do this.
The plot is excellent, and moves well.It does lull in the middle a bit, but this is the is the quiet before the storm, as the final section of the book moves on at a rip-roaring pace.Considering ths book is so long it is amazing how it holds your attention all the way to the last page.
This book is about good and evil and mixes the morality up well, by not making every decision so black and white.People do make mistakes, and people do deserve a second chance and you get to see quite a few sub-plots where these possibilities are played out.And you do get the voice in your head saying ' If only 'x' had done this, then they would have been okay......'.The book really involves you in so many ways, that most books don't.It has depth and it has meaning on one level.And on another it has a cracking plot!
Some people who have reviewed this book didn't enjoy it for various reasons.The two main reasons for this were a/ the length and b/ the ending.
In my view the length is just about right.The topics and characters the book covers justify the length.I don't read this book and think that Stephen King could have editted it down much more, without missing out some important sequences and developments.Second is the ending.And i can understand why people are disappointed by this.My challenge to someone reading this book would be to come up with a better one - I dare you!Alternative endings to the one Stephen King has written do feel cliched!
I would recommend this book to almost everyone.It has everything a good book should have - great plot, great characters, great development and great pacing.Another great aspect of this book is that you are left wanting more!
I would put this in my top 5 Stephen King books, and this is the book that most of his readers vote as their favourite.Why not try this and see for yourself ?