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ProductsMore About Revival by Stephen KingOverviewIn a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobsincluding Jamies mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.
Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of 13, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his familys horrific loss. In his mid-thirtiesaddicted to heroin, stranded, desperate Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil's devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.
This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. Its a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe.
A sinister pact
Stephen King is really good at acknowledging the human grief that underlies so much horror, and how that grief can twist a person into something monstrous—Pet Sematary, anyone? This is one of the themes of his new hair-raiser, Revival.
King brings the dread early. The novel begins with the shadow of a man falling over a little boy playing with his toy soldiers in 1962. The little boy is Jamie Morton; the man is the new preacher in his town, Charles Jacobs. The way King describes the meeting makes you want to stop reading right there because you know something ghastly is going to happen.
The only thing is, it doesn’t.
The new reverend is very young, but he’s a delightful man who befriends Jamie and his perfectly normal, loving family. He has a beautiful wife and an adorable little boy. He’s a bit obsessed with electricity, but hey, everyone has a hobby.
Then, something horrifying does happen. It’s in no way supernatural and no, it doesn’t involve the good reverend interfering with little Jamie. But it is horrific, unforeseen and nobody’s fault. The repercussions will affect thousands of people and persist for decades—at the end Jamie is middle-aged and Jacobs is elderly and ailing.
Between the tragedy and where it leads, life stumbles on with its big and little crises. The reader may wonder at some points if this is a novel where a character has to cope with gruesome but ordinary misfortune, à la Dolores Claiborne. But no, underneath it all, behind it all, nothing is remotely ordinary.
Don’t do what this reviewer did and read the last pages of Revival in the middle of the night in a house way out in the woods. Once again, King proves that he’s not a squillionaire best-selling horror author for nothing.