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Peggy Farooqi
Mum of 3 (1994, 1995, 1998)- born in East Germany --lived in UK/ Kent since 1993 -- studied criminology -- love reading / writing / travelling / needlecraft 
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18 June 2014

The Stand
Stephen King
Publication Date
Apocalyptic / Post-Apocalyptic Fiction


This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.

And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides -- or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail -- and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.

My review

The Stand divides the King community - well, apparently you either love it or hate it. Now, that's easy for me. In that case, I can wholeheartedly say I love it. This is a true Stephen King story. Epic, good against evil, an apocalyptic catastrophe, strongly drawn characters who journey through the country to eventually fight evil.

A virus escapes from a military testing facility and within a few days, almost all of earths population is dead. A few are unaffected and are seeing in their dreams  the 108 year old Mother Abigail who is asking them to come to her and they set all off to see mother Abigail in a journey across the country to gather with her. Others are seeing a man called Randall Flagg who calls his followers to Las Vegas. It eventually becomes clear that Mother Abigail represents the good and Randall Flagg evil, both set against each other. (Fans of King will known Randall Flagg from the Dark Tower series). The fight against the virus is not paramount here, but rather what is symbolises - the decay of the world who now has to be re-arranged, and only one side can win. 

My favourite part is the first part of the book, when all the characters come together and travel to either mother Abigail or Randall Flagg. It is almost road-movie style while we, the reader, still trying to figure out what is actually going on. 

Initially, a shorter version of the book was published - it was believed that the original version with over 1000 pages would be difficult to sell. But it did, and eventually, in 1990, the uncut version was published to the delight of us King fans. Despite the length of the book, I was never bored. Yes, some of King's books can have the tendency to waffle on a bit at the beginning, but curiously so, in this, is longest book, this was never the case. King is often advertised as the King of horror, and even though this is post-apocalyptic, there are no zombies or strange creatures taking over the world but as so often with his work, it's the common people who have the main starring role. 

This is my favourite King book (and yes, I am a fan) and I would regard it as a must read not just for fans but for any book lover.