The beginning chapters of Desperation might seem to be an exploration in past successes. Stephen King has take a young, gifted child (as in The Shining
), a writer afraid of losing his artistic worth (Misery
, The Dark Half
), a psychotic cop (The Dead Zone
, Rose Madder
), and a small town in which everthing's suddenly gone wrong (‘Salem’s Lot
, among many others), and thrown them all together to see what would happen. Readers may sense that King's newest is just a rehash of the old.
But those readers would be wrong. Desperation is unlike any novel King has ever written, and is perhaps one of his most ambitious achievements.
The novel concerns the small desert mining town of Desperation, Nevada (a long cry from the New England in which he usually dwells). The town should be booming: the mining corporation in Desperation has recently discovered a new way to drudge copper from old mines, creating dozens of new jobs and boosting the local economy. But the town is far from booming. The town is completely dead. Well, maybe not completely. But as the travellers who accidentally veer into the path of Desperation discover, a ghost town would have been a million times better. The small group trapped in Desperation gradually learn that a recent mining expedition has uncovered something sinister: an old well which has for over a hundred years been the prison of an evil force known as Tak, a type of dicorperal demon that feeds off the living energy of humans. Now Tak is free, and seeks to inhabit the bodies of the surviving residents, causing mayhem and mass destruction wherever it chooses. But one of the prisoners of Desperation is David Carver, an eleven year old boy who has a special relationship with God. And God, like Tak, must work through people to do His will, no matter how cruel it might seem. It is through David that all hope of escape relies, and it is with God that all the sins of Desperation must be resolved. A remarkable and entirely unique novel, Desperation is Stephen King at his strongest. His down-and-out scariest novel since The Dark Half
, he literally packs the novel with ominous armies of coyotes, spiders, and scorpions. Though terrifying, here King is reliant more on the Bible than Lovecraft or Poe, and he rises to the task with ease. A tale of hope and horror, of revulsion and revelation, King's latest will leave you desperate for more.