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. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.
King's return to supernatural horror is uncomfortably bulky, formidably complex and irresistibly compelling. When the smalltown of Chester's Mill, Maine, is surrounded by an invisible force field, the people inside must exert themselves to survive. The situation deteriorates rapidly due to the dome's ecological effects and the machinations of Big Jim Rennie, an obscenely sanctimonious local politician and drug lord who likes the idea of having an isolated populace to dominate. Opposing him are footloose Iraq veteran Dale "Barbie" Barbara, newspaper editor Julia Shumway, a gaggle of teen skateboarders and others who want to solve the riddle of the dome. King handles the huge cast of characters masterfully but ruthlessly, forcing them to live (or not) with the consequences of hasty decisions. Readers will recognize themes and images from King's earlier fiction, and while this novel doesn't have the moral weight of, say, The Stand, nevertheless, it's a nonstop thrill ride as well as a disturbing, moving meditation on our capacity for good and evil.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A good page turner with a strong end
Some of King's best books like The Stand and It are among his longest. While just slightly below these books, Under the Dome is a solid work full of rich characters and a compelling story.
The premise is simple: a small town in Maine is shut off from the rest of the world by a dome. The town is run by Big Jim, a shady used car salesman who becomes ever more despotic as the town begins to suffocate under the dome. The hero of the story (Dale Barbara aka Barbie) is a relatively new to town, a former Army officer turned short order cook. The President calls Barbie back to service, appointing him as the officer in charge. Naturally, Big Jim does not like his control over the town being usurped, especially not by Barbie (who in the backstory had an altercation with Big Jim's son),
That's just the start. The beauty of the book is in the uncovering the complexities and the secrets of the town and its inhabitants. It also has a strong ending.
I am a die hard SK fan. I have been since finding my first book by this wonderful man (A Buick 8). I have read SK's books for all my short little life and am proud to say that I have finished the "The Dark Tower" twice now. This book held me for three solid days and was the cause of munch neglected work. I found myself ((just like now)) up beyond two in the morning, neglected of sleep because I continued to tell myself I'd stop at the next chapter (80 pages away) and found myself saying "well I can't stop with that, let's see what happens next" I found myself sniffling at a few points and more then once wishing i was standing right there with my own barreta, but I can say that at 2:40am, with this book finally on it's last pages, a smirk on my face and a few tears of triumph staining my cheeks, I'm reminded once more why I read Stephen King, and I give this novel a solid five. Enjoy future readers!
This book had such potential. The last 200 pages sucked the life out of the book. It was as If the author didn't know how to end the book.