talisman_largeStephen King / Peter Straub
Doubleday
1984

Jack Sawyer is a 12-year-old boy whose mother, a former B-movie queen, is dying of cancer. While holed up in a New England hotel hiding from Jack’s evil-minded “uncle”, Jack meets a kindly but strange man who shows him the way to cure not only his mother, but also a real queen that dwells in the very real parallel lands called The Territories, where almost everyone has a version of themselves and werewolves exist not as monsters, but as benevolent friends and guardians to humans. Jack must now travel across our America and The Territories version in search of the Talisman, all the while trying to outrun the evil forces that are trying to stop him in his quest…

While I’m pretty sure this book wasn’t meant as a tie-in to King’s more popular Dark Tower series, there are certainly a lot of parallels to the two. Either way you look at it, The Talisman is a rather engaging dark fantasy opus that draws on fantastic and horrific imagery as well as a pace that slows down maybe once or twice (especially near the end), but always keeps you turning the pages to see what will happen next. Recommended…

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