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Under the dome : a novel /

The small town of Chester's Mill, Maine, is faced with a big dilemma when it is mysteriously sealed off by an invisible and completely impenetrable force field. With cars and airplanes exploding on contact, the force field has completely isolated the townspeople from the outside world. Now, Iraq war...

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Main Author: King, Stephen, 1947-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Scribner, 2009
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed.
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Review by Booklist Review

On an October Friday night during what would be Obama's second term, a clutch of local toughs, unfortunately led by the son of the town boss, gang up on Iraq War vet Dale Barbara, lately short-order cook at the Sweetbriar Rose. So he's hoofing it out of town the next bright morning. An old groundhog galumphs along the highway, and a small plane buzzes overhead. Suddenly, the animal's in two bleeding pieces, and the Seneca V's explosively colliding with nothing Barbie (as friends call him) can see. A barrier, initially invisible, has fallen precisely on the boundaries of Chester's Mill, Maine, and penetrated deep into the ground. It keeps all but wisps of air and trickles of water out, but everyone and everything in. The week accounted for by the succeeding 1,000-plus pages doesn't go well at all. Indeed, it culminates in an actual holocaust because of the machinations of the aforementioned town boss pious, covert sociopath Big Jim Rennie, who sees in Chester's Mill's involuntary quarantine an opening for covering the tracks of his meth-making business and blaming any attendant violence on Barbie. King keeps a huge cast very busy in his third-biggest novel ever, but most of its members are flimsily realized. However, his explanation for the dome has a prestigious pedigree (Shakespeare's King Lear), and his way with mayhem remains nonpareil.--Olson, Ray Copyright 2009 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Maine. Check. Strange doings. Check. Alien/demon presence. Check. Unlikely heroes. Check. An early scene in King's latest (Just After Sunset, 2008, etc.) takes us past Shawshank Prison, if only in the mind of a characterand there are dozens of characters, large and small, whose minds we enter. One of them, a leading citizen in the quiet town of Chester's Mill, is crooked, conniving wheeler-dealer Big Jim Rennie, whose son, a specialist in taking wrong forks in the road, is the local terror but has apparently surrendered his power to awe to larger forcesin this case, the ones who have very gradually sealed off Chester's Mill from the rest of the world. Why? It's the kind of hamlet where a big night of fun involves driving with a six-pack and a shotgun, hardly the sort of place where the overlords seem likely to land. But these overlords, they're a strange bunch: They walk among us, and they might even be us. King runs riot with players, including a newshound who numbers among his ordinary worries "the inexplicable decay of the town's sewer system and waste treatment plant"; a curious chap named Sea Dogs; some weekend warriors; and the lyrically named Romeo Burpee, who "survived a childhood of merciless tauntsto become the richest man in town." Evil is omnipresent here, but organized religion is suspect, useful only for those who would bleat, "The Dome is God's will." The woods are full of malevolent possibilities. Civic and military leaders are usually incompetent. And it's the brave loner who has bothered to do a little research who saves everyone's bacon. Or not. It hardly matters that, after 1,000-plus pages, the yarn doesn't quite add up. It's vintage King: wonderfully written, good, creepy, old-school fun. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.