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The Talisman | [Stephen King, Peter Straub]

The Talisman

On a brisk autumn day, a 13-year-old boy stands on the shores of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra. The past has driven Jack Sawyer here: His father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back across America - and into another realm. One of the most influential and heralded works of fantasy ever written, The Talisman is an extraordinary novel of loyalty, awakening, terror, and mystery.
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Publisher's Summary

On a brisk autumn day, a 13-year-old boy stands on the shores of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra. The past has driven Jack Sawyer here: His father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back across America - and into another realm.

One of the most influential and heralded works of fantasy ever written, The Talisman is an extraordinary novel of loyalty, awakening, terror, and mystery. Jack Sawyer, on a desperate quest to save his mother's life, must search for a prize across an epic landscape of innocents and monsters, of incredible dangers and even more incredible truths. The prize is essential, but the journey means even more. Let the quest begin....

©2001 Stephen King and Peter Straub; (P)2001 Simon & Schuster Inc., Recorded with the Permission of The Ballantine Publishing Group, a Division of Random House, Inc.; AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

What the Critics Say

Audie Award Winner, Fiction (unabridged), 2002

"A classic...rare and dazzling...a journey to rival the greatest adventure stories ever told." (New York Daily News)

"Extraordinary...makes your hair stand on end." (The Washington Post)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (3945 )
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4.3 (1981 )
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4.3 (1968 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Michael Marietta, GA, USA 09-10-04
    Michael Marietta, GA, USA 09-10-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "An Adventure"

    I will agree with two comments that others have made:

    1) The book is probably a little longer than it has to be. Nevertheless the book kept my interest and I did not find myself tuning out.

    2) The reader's style is very distracting at first. The way he would draw out the last word of almost every sentence nearly drove me crazy. A couple of times I almost gave up on the book for that very reason. But, I noticed that after about 180 minutes in to the book I got used to the sound of his voice and, in fact, the rhythm of his style became very pleasing.

    If you like stories of adventure and you don't mind a dose of fantasy thrown in, you will enjoy this book.

    20 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy 02-15-14
    Cindy 02-15-14 Member Since 2014

    alwaysreading1

    HELPFUL VOTES
    51
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    Performance
    Story
    "Stands the test of time"

    I read this book when it came out in the 80s (and I was much younger) and really enjoyed it then. This is a great alternate reality adventure and it is so easy to be there with the characters and see and hear the surroundings. In addition to the main character the authors bring in some outstanding supporting characters.

    This is not a typical Stephen King horror story, it is not a horror story at all. I would classify it as an adventure/fantasy story.

    The narration is quite good and rather than just "listening to an audio book" I could relax and feel that someone was reading me a story, a good story. I would listen when you are not terribly distracted and want to relax.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Derek B. A strange midwestern city, United States 11-02-12
    Derek B. A strange midwestern city, United States 11-02-12 Member Since 2014

    It's simple really, I am just a guy looking to enjoy the writing and reading talents of others while raising my family the best I can, just Like most everyone else!!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "What a story!"

    This story is entertaining from the start to the end! I know little of Straub and only bought it because of King but this book has me wanting to know more about him. I would love to tell you about the story but it would be unfair as it would likely rob the book of vital moments, so I will just say that in my opinion this book will be LOVED by any fan of King and Muller. Not only loved but read again and again in due time. I know, it's alot of hours to pledge to a book but as always King never wastes our time and always rewards us for the lost sleep. What a story!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Castaic, CA, USA 08-03-03
    Michael Castaic, CA, USA 08-03-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    2
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    "NICELY DONE"

    Although you can hear the change of authors' voices in this work, the adventure itself runs in overdrive, and is worth the trip. There are some Stephen King cliches in here, but it is easy to relate to his "child in danger" hero. Wonderful descriptive text and magical insights on subjects ranging from illegal child labor to the mentality of good werewolves keeps the story's characterizations alive despite a somehwat expected ending. The bad guys are over the top bad, and the good ones almost saintly in common virtue, so there's no fuzzy morality or anti-heroic types here. Pure fun, well read, and worth the 24 discs I had to burn it on to make my commute entertaining!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan CA, United States 06-01-13
    Ryan CA, United States 06-01-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    279
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    "A Narnia-esque tale with Stephen King approach"

    What I really enjoyed about this book was the author's approach to the Narnia-type tale. I say Narnia because that's the first thing that spring's to mind, but many stories have navigated those same waters, from 'Alice in Wonderland' to the film 'Labyrinth'. King takes that literary trope and paints an alternate world setting that makes for a great adventure.

    I give this book 4 out of 5 stars only because Stephen King's style and outlook don't quite resonate with me. That's not unique to this novel though. I've read many of this other works while I think he's quite talented, I don't get that resonance I feel with my favorite authors.

    That's just a matter of preference however. I admire Stephen King; he is so prolific and consistently produces quality craftsmanship.

    If you're a fan of Stephen King and the kind of story I've described, you'll no doubt give this 5 stars. If, like me, you're a fair-weather Stephen King reader and like the premise of this book, I' still recommend it even though you may like it a shade less than folks with that King connection.

    In either case, you're in for something nice, and the 28 hour length makes it well worth a credit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Ravert 08-27-09 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Masterpiece"

    This audio production of The Talisman is a work of art. The book is excellent in it's own right and Frank Muller did a masterful job of narrating. He doesn't read it, he performs it!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    April L. Hamilton 12-30-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic Narrator, But Too Long..."

    This is a terrific story and the narrator is incredible---he makes every voice unique and believeable.

    However, this is one case where I wish there'd been an abridged version available because there are MANY repetitive passages. Too frequently, characters mentally re-live scenes and conversations, or mentally revisit/re-analyze bits of information and objects. I think at least 50pp---maybe an hour of my time---could've been shaved from this book by editing out all that unnecessary deja vu.

    Apart from that, I highly recommend it and in fact, I'm now listening to the sequel, Black House, by the same authors and narrator. So far, it's much less repetitive.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Issaquah, WA, USA 09-21-07
    Chris Issaquah, WA, USA 09-21-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "One author would have been good enough"

    This book had its humorous and gripping passages, but they were folded into alot of empty space that it dragged the finale down. I had to get past Frank's breathy exclamation at the end of every sentence to begin to enjoy the book. Was enjoyable for the most part, but felt obligated to finish the second half. If you are trucking cross-country it's a worthy endeavor, but one author would have been adequate...

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Austin, TX, United States 08-26-08
    Joseph Austin, TX, United States 08-26-08 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyable, but maddening at times."

    I've listened to three King novels recently, and in those three I can identify certain writing techniques and character portrayals that he just can't get away from. Some of these techniques work in some King novels and not in others. This one got formulaic a little too often, making me wonder at times if maybe the co-writer was trying to imitate King, rather than King himself writing it.

    But overall, the story and plot were good. It's another "coming of age in a fantasy scenario while trying to save the world" kind of story, with some poignant commentary on our world thrown in. A good enough listen, if you like King, or if want a good fantasy novel with a unique view on the old "alternate universe" device.

    It's not a kid's story, though the hero is 12. It's not Harry Potter. Scenes are vivid and disturbing. Probably wouldn't bother all kids, but some it might. Definitely written for an adult audience.

    On the narrator: he was too melodramatic when the scene seemed to want something else. At times I felt I was fighting him to hear the story King wrote. Sometimes he was good, but at times I turned it off because he got on my nerves so badly.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Lm Los Angeles, CA, USA 02-11-05
    David Lm Los Angeles, CA, USA 02-11-05 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    "Can't hear the book through the narration"

    Okay, I know Frank Muller is much acclaimed. The New York Times calls him a genius and Stephen King seems to love him. But I had serious difficulty listening to this book through his monotoous phrasing and rasping, breathy voice. Every sentence ends with the same hissed exhalation, sounding like Jack Nicholson doing his imitation of Jack Palance. This would be fun, were it not used to inflect EVERY sentence. I mean literally. The reader seems to have no sense of which ideas or events should carry more weight than others, and so everything is ominous and heavy.

    It is a testament to the story and the writing itself that I was able to make it all the way through. I strongly recommend the book, but also hope they stop Frank Muller from doing Stephen King's work.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
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