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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 Simon & Schuster; 2001 Stephen King and Peter Straub

Critic Reviews

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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,936
  • 4 Stars
    2,164
  • 3 Stars
    922
  • 2 Stars
    300
  • 1 Stars
    230

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,189
  • 4 Stars
    1,248
  • 3 Stars
    476
  • 2 Stars
    146
  • 1 Stars
    181

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,845
  • 4 Stars
    1,458
  • 3 Stars
    620
  • 2 Stars
    203
  • 1 Stars
    103
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nate_D
  • Payson, Utah USA
  • 03-26-14

Had no idea.....

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.

25 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Still Good

I read this book when it first came out in the 80s. This was before the sci-fi world took the theme of multi-dimensionality to it ad-nauseumal limit. (I know, not a word.) Even so, it's still an excellent story by these two excellent authors.

I love the fact that when you read these reviews you get both ends of the spectrum and everything in-between. One compared this to Beyond the Dome which I thought doesn't even come close to The Talisman.

I also suggest Audible listeners get used to Frank Muller. He's all over this place and you're going to miss out on a lot of great books if you try to avoid him. His style always puts me off at first, but it always ends up growing on me.

93 of 97 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Peggy
  • Baltimore, MD, United States
  • 02-14-04

This is The Greatest Adventure Story Ever

Looking for Adventure?...need suspense?...want to have fun?...need a vacation?..Well this is the book for you. It is long but the action and the different adventures inside one. You will find the strange and the funny so charming that you will not want to miss a thing. The beginning sets up the story and you may want to skip ahead. Don't do it this book builds you up to the task. You will need to hold on to your seat at times and remember some of the early charpters to get the full impact of some events. You will want the story not to end! It does end but... At that time get the book "Black House" to go on yet another adventure with Jack out hero.

85 of 90 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Derek B.
  • A strange midwestern city, United States
  • 11-02-12

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!

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Simply a classic

This story has it all: evil men, magic, adventure, a boy and his mother who are linked to another world and a dying queen, creatures of wonder as well as horror, and the best and worst of humankind. All of these headed across the continent on a collision course to the California coast.

33 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

On a mission.

This is the first Steven King novel I have read and I plan to read many more. I couldn't stop listening. The book was not what I expected. There is a connoisseur like after taste that is liberating. From the reviews of others it bothered the politically correct crowd; however, theirs is not the last word. What an adventure Jack Sawyer had compared to his name sake of Tom. If you liked Tom Sawyer and his adventures you will find this listen intriguing. Just like Tom Sawyer disturbed the people of his day, Steven King's Talisman makes the same impact. I love it and want more of it.

57 of 63 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • Amesbury, MA, USA
  • 12-27-03

Wonderful...


Disgard the few bad reviews -- this book is wonderful, and Frank Muller was one of the greatest readers of all time...This isn't your "typical" King book, but if you loved the Dark Tower books, you will love this (and vice versa). I have forced over a dozen people to read this book, and have given away 4 tape copies over the years. I'm buying it on Audible so I won't lose it again ;-)

38 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Taffy
  • Tyler, TX, USA
  • 12-14-09

Awesome!

Awesome! I read this book when I was 16 and I loved it then... so now I'm 40 and listened to the Audiobook and still loved it!

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Megan
  • Branford, CT, USA
  • 05-09-03

I have read this book, and listened to it.

This story is my all time favorite, I have read the book a few times and could not wait to listen to some one read it to me. This was my first audiostory ever and I would recommend it to anyone.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rich
  • MILLINGTON, MI, United States
  • 01-31-10

Great

I don't know what some people are complaining about; Frank Muller is one of the best narrators I've listened to, and he doesn't let us down in this great novel.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Tim
  • 04-21-09

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!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Stuart
  • 12-28-07

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • steven
  • 03-16-18

Terrible narrator.

I just couldnt handle the dragging out of every last word of a senteeeence.
lasted about 15 minuuuutes

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 03-24-10

Too long

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Lorna
  • 01-12-09

Disappointing fantasy

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Keith
  • 07-12-07

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • John L.
  • 09-16-17

A good tale, a little on the long side though.

I enjoyed it, but wish I had downloaded the abridged version. Possibly be better if it was a split into a two-part series.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • MarthaAnne
  • 10-12-16

loved it!

I read this book as a teenager, loved it then and now as a woman who is considerably older, it still holds magic

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Russell Carr
  • 04-17-09

Worth persevering

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tom
  • 03-19-09

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.