Imagine living your life in a small, neighborly town and having that town suddenly shut off from the rest of the world. That is Stephen King’s premise in “Under the Dome” as he once again dissects human nature through the microscope of unusual circumstances.
The setting is Maine, one of King’s favorites, and the town is Chester's Mill. The 2,000 residents are going about their daily routines when out of nowhere a clear, impenetrable barrier blocks their path to the outside world. Some of the residents have the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time when this happens. The shocking results give notice to the locals that something odd is underway.
In a fast-paced series of events, the residents learn that the barrier is dome shaped and there is no way in or out. This could be an exciting sort of adventure filled with people working together but King is not about to allow his trapped citizens to follow such an easy path. A local short-order cook and Iraq war veteran, Dale Barbara, along with a few cohorts, become the symbol for good as they try to find a way to remove the dome and free the citizens trapped inside. In the meantime, a small town politician rounds up his murderous son and an assortment of young hoodlums to take over the running of the town for his own selfish purposes.
The story line becomes the classic battle of good over evil, all while trapped inside the confines of the dome. King draws on recent political characterizations to shape his bad guys. They were a bit unbelievable and unbelievably stupid at times. King writes colorful characters but sometimes he goes overboard to make the story work. The supposed good guys, the politician and the priest, turn out to be evil. It’s a twist that wears thin after awhile but if you don’t mind the over-dramatization of character, it works and without it there would be no story.
The dome itself is simply a catalyst to the power struggle going on within and the story revolves around that power struggle. The secrets to the dome itself were a bit of a let-down to me and seemed to be a simplistic way to write an unconventional story. Even so, the book has a whirlwind of characters and action which I thoroughly enjoyed. This is a book that makes the reader question human behavior and ask yourself – what would you do?
I purchased "Under the Dome" to read on my Kindle.