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Under the Dome [With Collector's Cards and 4-Color Endpapers]
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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. (Nov.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

The frequent accusation that King writes too long is sometimes deserved. However, when he works in an epic mode, depicting dozens of characters and all their interrelationships, he can produce great work. He did it with The Stand and with It, and he has done it again here. A small Maine town is enclosed one October morning by an impermeable bell jar of unknown origin. Within this pressure cooker, the petty differences and power struggles of village life are magnified and accelerated. Opposing camps develop, one headed by Big Jim Rennie, the Second Selectman, and the other by Dale Barbara, a drifting Iraq vet who was nearly out of town when the Dome fell. The characters are well rounded and interesting while retaining the familiar appeal that has drawn and kept King fans for decades. Verdict Regular King readers will rejoice at his return to his strengths. Some will balk at the page count, but a fast pace and compelling narrative make the reader's time fly. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/09.]-Karl G. Siewert, Tulsa City-Cty. Lib., OK Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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