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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2009 Stephen King (P)2009 Simon & Schuster

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kim
  • Spokane, WA, United States
  • 12-02-12

Kaptivating King

Tons of characters and story lines that weave together perfectly with dialogue - this is what Stephen King does best and this book is another great example of his mastery. The dome puts a microscope on real people with everyday problems then it starts to fold them in on top of each other until everything collides. The only minor criticism I have is that the final scenes in the story take several hours to describe - it's like a football game with 2 minutes on the clock and both teams have all of their timeouts left - it takes 30 minutes to actually watch it. I guess skipping over parts would have garnered criticism as well though, so the detailed descriptions really are necessary to paint the complete picture. A really great listen overall - Raul Esparza is superb - I really hope he continues narrating.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Scott
  • Roseville, CA, United States
  • 02-10-10

Best Stephen King I've Heard

Don't pass this great story up just due to some complaining in the narration department. That criticism is far overblown. The women sound like most men narrating women. A FEW minor characters rang false briefly.

The New England setting is PURELY for the color of the tree changes in fall. (For visual plot reasons, otherwise ANY small town in the south would do (see below).

So why do the "bad guys" have southern accents? I suppose our stereotypes & popular culture (our "zeitgeist")leads us to associate small minded or bizarre religious thinking to our "Bible Belt" (No offense intended, I know more of you are raised to be better mannered & more polite, and have fine religion beliefs than many "average" Americans.) But apparently the drawl is intentional, to creep you out and it does. Yes, very few people are religious fanatics but given the "dome" people's behaviors would indeed change.

One criticism is that the characters do act very in very bizarre ways - some explained by heavy drug use. I really didn't like how the book excessively glamorized some very dangerous and addictive substances but it was all needed for the plot and I didn't buy this book for moral guidance.

The plot works. The science fiction angle automatically adds enough verisimilitude (It's a big universe.) It is a well told story with decently drawn characters of sufficient depth.

Onto the story, it grabs you at once, in the first minute or two. Things start happening and the pace doesn't let up until a mighty climax.
I became quite fond of the heroes and hated the bad guys. That makes it a good book.

It's no masterpiece but it is one heck of an enthralling story. Just the concept of a dome is on Earth is original.

It kept me far more glued to the ears than many others books I've downloaded in months.

36 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JEFF
  • FT LAUDERDALE, FL, United States
  • 11-24-09

Great Stephen King!

34 hours and I didn't want it to end. Better than "The Stand".

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A Good Listen, Though the Ending Disappoints

While having almost all the bad guys being rock-ribbed Republicans and fundamentalist Christians got tedious after 500 pages, King still provides gripping prose and engaging dialog, and I was hooked, until the end, which was anemic. Raul Esparza did a passable job at the narration, but it made me long for William Hurt and his nuanced, brilliant narration of Hearts in Atlantis. Still, if you don't mind a hefty does of King's leftwing politics and some strange vocal characterizations (especially for several of the women and most of the children), then this is well worth your time.

42 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Russell
  • Keswick, ON, Canada
  • 02-09-12

Glad I Listened to 11-22-63 First

The first twenty one hours of this book had lots of moments that felt like listeners torture. It would have been deleted unfinished if I hadn't been so awed by 11-22-63. Fortunately, "Under the Dome" got a lot better in the final twelve hours.

Stephen King in his talk after the book finished (a great feature in both books) indicated that the book originally was larger and was shortened with input from a helper. Thank heavens for that --- because a longer version may have done me in.

More pages isn't always better. This book could have been shortened by about fifteen hours and become a very impressive story.

95 of 115 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Guillermo
  • Rochester Hills, MI, United States
  • 01-25-10

Unsophisticated Stephen King

Stephen King has written some smart, well written and interesting books, such as Duma Key and The Cell, and they were done well in audio.

But this book, Under the Dome, is one of SK's weak stories. I like books with smart villains, smart heroes and smart everyone, but in under the dome all the villains are idiots; and I can't sympathize with them at all.

I only barely made it through this book and sort of wish I had stopped when I knew it would be bad. But I don't really judge SK badly for having made this book. I heard him say he thought of this book in the 1970's and has wanted to write it since then. What he forgot, though, is that he's grown up as a writer; and he regressed with this story.

25 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kris
  • SPRING HILL, TN, United States
  • 02-07-10

I tried to finish it

I really enjoy listening to audio books and I especially like Stephen King. But let me warn you, the narrator of The Dome is bad beyond description. The characters sound like half surfer dude and half Georgia chain gang boss. One of the main female characters sounds like the Queen of England. Its too much - I'll opt to read the book someday. I can't believe the author would have approved this reading. I only gave it two stars because I'm sure the story itself is good.

35 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Angela
  • Knoxville, TN, USA
  • 07-09-10

No Stand

"Under the Dome" is being compared to King's earlier and greater work, "The Stand." "Dome" is entertaining, and I give it 3 points mostly for King-isms such as "Nothing runs like a Deere." (Of course the narrator deserves some credit for the delivery too.)

It's no "Stand," however. The big difference is that King devotes the entire work of the "Dome" to the subject covered in about 1/6 of "The Stand" - that is, the destruction of the world he's writing about. "The Stand" deals with that and then moves swiftly on to the part which I personally found more interesting; would it be possible to reconstruct society after the loss of so many people? That King had to use the hand-wavium of supernatural events to pull the protagonists together into one location shows that Stewart's "Earth Abides" describes the likelier outcome of such a catastrophe, but in "The Stand," King manages to pull off a fairly exciting work on the subject. In "Dome," however, King becomes one of those kids burning ants under a magnifying lens that he talks about in the book; he creates characters - some really evil bad guys and some weak and ineffectual good guys - then he spends the rest of the book watching them jump through hoops while everything goes crashing down around them.

If you thought the best part of "The Stand" was part 1, you'll enjoy "Under the Dome." If you're a hard core SF buff and would like a more character-driven and more scientifically interesting look at this notion of what would happen if you were cut off from the rest of the universe, I highly recommend Robert Charles Wilson's "Spin" instead.

59 of 75 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Rob
  • LITHIA, FL, United States
  • 02-25-10

Boss Hog meets Lord of the Flies

I was curious when other reviewers commented that the book was good, but had a bad ending. Never having read or listened to SK, I wanted to try it. Compared to other audio books, I have to say this was one of the worst, both the book and the narrator. I have never critiqued a reader before, but I can see why people do now. Book- I'm not offended by language, graphic images, political or religious messages so that does not slant my view, but if you are sensitive to those things, this book is not for you. SK is skilled at describing people, places, and things with immense detail to create a picture in your head, but, like all good things, it can be overdone. This book was slow and boring and as I mention in the title of the review, it's an age old plot. Big fish in a little pond who's an opportunist ego-driven scumbag wants more power and control and uses the isolation of the dome to further that cause. Throw in a little Rambo for protagonist "Barby" and the plot is completely old and boring. You really just want to find out what the deal with the dome is, and yes, that is a pretty weak explanation that may have been better created while SK was still on drugs. SK's repetition of people voiding themselves when dying was rather odd. I've read many books where characters died, and as a clinician, understand the loss of bodily control when a person dies, I've just never had to experience it so many times in a book. Once or twice for effect, after that, just redundant.
Narrator- I don't envy the job and couldn't do it myself, but have listened to many audio books with fantastic narration, this was not one. Southern drawls in a Maine based story did not work for me, teenagers sounded like stoned surfers, women sounded like children, many characters sounded like they had either speech impediments or were developmentally delayed...what a mess!
Bad book, bad narration. "His best work"? Hope not. Going to try the old stuff.

26 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Venita
  • Glen Allen, VA, USA
  • 06-15-10

Lenghtly but good, ending was rushed

I really enjoyed this audiobook except where I feel the last segment (5 parts) was rushed and the ending was a bit disappointing. Not my typical Stephen King ending. The narrator is very good as he has the voice of many many characters. This is another thing you may need to know.. many many characters here. Overall a very interesting listen. Approximately 54 hours I believe. Well worth your money. It took me about 2 weeks to get the whole book through and with me taking every day to see what happens next. I took this week me to the pool and just sit and relaxed.

25 of 32 people found this review helpful