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.
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)
I think this by far one of Stephen King's greatest books. Teamed with Peter Straub,Stepen King wrote a story that grabbed at the begining and never let you go.I was sorry to see it end!The hero of the story was couragous,likeable,andwell rounded.The villians were hatefull and their descriptions were fanstatic. I reccommend this book to everyone!
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.
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.
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!!!
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!
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!
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!
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...
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.
This was one of my favorite books as a teenager, and so I was very happy to see that there was a spoken-word version available. I am surprised to see some negative reviews here. I don't think that the review calling the book full of stereotypes is accurate at all. If this book offends you, I'd hate to see how you'd react to some of the harder-edged fiction out there. And please, don't give a book a 1 star review after only listening to the first few hours! I also don't understand the criticism of the narrator, Frank Muller. I've listened to a lot of audio books, and he is one of my favorite readers. It is true that he tends to be a bit more of an "actor" than many reader (he has distinctive voices for all the main characters) but he does them all very well, in my opinion.
As for the book itself, it is an exciting adventure that is not to be missed. It's not quite as dark as much of Stephen King's works (perhaps the influence of his collaborator Peter Straub) but it's well written and fun to read, despite its considerable length. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy.
Love my family....along with guitars, cameras, and a good book!
I consider myself a Stephen King fan...a Constant Reader, if you will. However, I had never read this novel and was quite excited to begin this endeavor. I won't say that The Talisman is my favorite King story, but it would definitely merit an honorable mention in that discussion! This was a great book. I loved how different this story is ... the unbelievable creativity that went into the prose of this novel. I have never really read Straub, but will be looking him up as well, due to this great story.
I loved the Jack and the Wolf characters. I have always been a sucker for the humble hero... The unwilling hero. Jack takes on this quest because he really has no other choice. Wolf is sucked into the narrative in much the same way, but they both are true and faithful to the light and integrity that is needed to reach their goal.
Frank Muller is simply the best narrator I have ever heard. Especially for this type of novel...you simply cannot get anyone better. His characterization is amazingly consistent, and spot on with each and every character. No one has ever committed to narration like Mr. Muller. I often buy books simply because he is the narrator. He will be missed over and over again.
I like Stephen King, but not this book at least in this version. Far too long, large swathes of uninteresting drivel. The story at times borders on the ludicrous; but at others in typical King style it fascinates.
"can't stand the narration........."
I love Sephen King and have enjoyed some terrific audiobooks of his books from Audible, BUT I just could not cope with this narrator's ponderous delivery - almost every sentence ending in a breathy whisper. I note the reviews of the book itself and may try listening again at some future point, but this time I couldn't stand it and gave up after the 1st half hour of gritted teeth!!
I'd previously downloaded Cell and Lisey's Story, my first introduction to the Stephen King oeuvre, and was looking forward to listening to this. If you enjoy Lord of the Rings type fantasy, this might suit you, but I found it very juvenile (maybe I was missing the point and this was a kid's book, in which case apologies). Also, a minor point but an irritating one - the reader finishes most sentences on a drawn-out sigh, so even the most banal of statements sound ludicrously melodramatic: "he ran himself a hot baaaaaaath". Thumbs down generally.
"Could have been about 10 hours shorter"
Stephen King manages to incorporate some novel ideas into the age old battle of good versus evil. However The Talisman is overly long and detailed. I found myself wishing he could have moved it on just a little bit quicker. Though it is written in a fantasy style it is not suitable for children due to bad language and horror elements.
This book is really bloated on detail that can make you want to skip ahead to move the story on. There was countless times I found my concentration drift but the idea that there was more good stuff to come kept me interested. Which I?m glad to say does come eventually.
I found the narrator very annoying at first as every sentence ended in flair that gave the impression of over exaggeration.
However, after persevering I noticed that when this flair was not present ( and you notice less as the story goes on ), the narrator is very gifted.
The story builds to an excellent climax and always leaves you wanting to know more about Jason the history about him and the territories. I just hope the Black House is a good sequel.
"A great story and BRILLIANT narration"
I have never read any of Stephen King's books before so this was a first for me. What a tremendous storyteller he is! The structure of the book is half "quest", half "road movie", as it were, and it takes a lot of skill to maintain the pace and the tension throughout such a long book. Generally the authors succeed very well, though at times the pace is a little slow. If the book has a weakness it is over-reliance on the hero always to carry the plot; that said, he is an attractive character - a kind of American Harry Potter with attitude, perhaps. A plus point is that the baddies are REALLY bad, and be aware there is a lot of gore and violence, all carried off I should say with great verve.
What makes to book is the narration - an absolute tour de force in my view. Frank Muller's style is so perfectly matched to the authors' that it is almost that the book was written for him to read. Great stuff indeed.
There is a sequel, also available from Audible - "Black House" which is a much better book, which I've reviewed separately. Both are highly recommended.
"Will your nervous system stand this book"
This was a roller coaster of thrills and emotions right from the start. Stephen king does string your nerves out on a tight wire of excitement, deliberately drawing out lurid and frightening descriptions while you are screaming inside for the action to continue. Very clever man this King. I sometimes hate him whilst reading but realise that this is part of the fun.
Buy this and the sequel 'black house' if you like a good long gut wrenching ride.
"Good but bloated"
A good and interesting story spoilt by a labourious and over detailed narration. Despite which is enjoyable.
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