An extremely dangerous virus is set free by accident from a secret laboratory, the consequences being disastrous. The country becomes depopulated.
The most popular and discussed novel by Stephen E
dwin King, an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction, is a peculiar scenario of the end of the world as a result of the biological war. The blazing evildoer, great number of diverse vivid characters who unify their effort trying to survive, the society out of control and the plot will not let you put the book off. This novel is considered by many to be the best post-apocalypses story ever written: bright, vivid emotional picture of the destruction of our civilization.
I first came across The Stand in 1990. I was excited at the idea of another long King book coming out (the additional 400 pages sounded too good to be true) having read It the previous year. As I started reading I was convinced that I had found King's masterpiece. Now, as a huge King fan and a person with a pretty die hard rule of finishing every book I start, I am pretty embarrassed to admit that I did not finish The Stand all those years ago. I was in the middle of completing some major English studies at the time and had a mountain of reading to get through and had to put any recreational reading aside to get through exams. Weeks turned into years and I never got back to The Stand. In fact, I became scared of it. I'd read a lot of other King in the interim and the 'post-apocalypse' genre had taken root in that time and I just became flat out scared that it would not live to what I had built it up to be.
I don't really know what prompted me to finally dive back into it now but I did and I am more than a little bit happy to say, having finished it just a half hour ago, that it was everything I had hoped it would be all those years ago. In the interim, I had read Justin Cronin's Passage trilogy and thought that to be pretty much pitch perfect. This has in no way taken away from The Stand in any way in my view. Ironically, I found Cronin's trilogy to be much more horror focused, while King's tome was much more a study of human nature and the structures we build - of course, The Stand still manages to send a chill down the spine like only the master of terror can do.
The other interesting thing that caught me off guard, was how differently I approached the book with some 27 more years of life under my belt. I appreciated the characters in a wholly different way and again found that one of the great treats of King's writing is the manner in which he develops his characters - even minor ones that may only get passing attention in another author's hands. The more I read of King, the more I am convinced that half of the ability to convey the fear, or horror, is tied up in this very character development. These characters are not just fodder for a serial killer to take out their demented work on, they are real people we care about and fear for.
The Stand, weighing in at around 1400 pages, is a big commitment but one that definitely pays off. I recommend this to any King fan that has not already made time for it as it truly is the master at the top of his game.