Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wayback Wednesday

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Publish Date:  1984
Pages:  768

Stephen King and Peter Straub are two of my favorite authors.  To see them write together was amazing.  I read this book as a teen and have re-read it multiple times as an adult.  It never gets old.  If you look at YA books coming out now...a lot of the things in THE TALISMAN are in the current books.  We've got: an alternate universe, a kid saving the world...all the goodies.

Jack Sawyer is a 12 year old boy.  His father is dead and his mother is dying of cancer.  She takes him off to an almost deserted hotel while she lays dying.  As Jack wanders the hotel and grounds, he starts to realize that he could possibly save his mother.  His father and his father's best friend had discovered an alternate world - one called "The Territories".  The people that live there are Twinners (parallel individuals) whose major life events mirror ours.  You can 'flip' into the Territories and inhabit the body of your Twinner.  But some people, like Jack, are 'singles'.  He has to learn to flip back and forth by himself.  He has no other body to inhabit.

My favorite group in The Territories are Wolfs.  They are similar to Werewolves, but not as we know them.  They are herdsman and bodyguards.  Jack quickly becomes friends with one of them, whom he simply calls "Wolf".  Wolf sees Jack as his flock, his responsibility, and cares for him and tries to keep him safe throughout his travels. 

Jack's father's best friend is trying to steal their business from Jack's mother.  In The Territories, the Queen lay dying - she is Jack's mother's Twinner.  Jack needs to find the Talisman to save both of them and save their worlds from going swiftly downhill.

This is a really long book (as most Stephen King books are) but it is well worth reading.  I still have my battered paperback copy from years ago and was overjoyed when BLACK HOUSE came out in 2000.  That is the story of Jack Sawyer as an adult and involves The Territories again.  There are, ofcourse, connections to the Dark Tower books also.

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