Russell T.Davies picks Stephen King’s Under the Dome in the Guardian’s Books of the Year 2010. It strange that his choice only appears on the Guardian iPhone app and not the website. Perhaps the paper don’t want to fully endorse such a commercial author. Or Russell T.Davies.
I’ve only read a few hundred pages of Under the Dome, a novel which ranks as one of King’s longest. And most ambitious – he claims to have delayed writing it for years until he matured sufficiently as a writer. It’s easy to understand his caution. A deceptively simple premise (an American town is encased by an invisible yet inpenetrable force field) is handled with great skill to unravel a complex story with a huge cast of characters. The opening chapters, dealing with the consequences from the day when the dome falls, are brilliantly handled and a lesser writer would have failed in setting up the book so brilliantly.
Once King’s outstanding opener has passed the book settles down into character study, carefully sketching out who’s who as the horror of the situation begins to sink in. I’m going to be in for a long ride, although Davies reckons that the last 100 pages of The Dome are the best that King has written, so the journey should be worth it.