Stephen King has done almost everything in his 40-year career: mystery, science fiction, crime, psychological thrillers, epic fantasy, and of course horror. But with the obvious exception of his Dark Tower series — and Bleak House, the follow-up to The Talisman, which he co-authored with Peter Straub — he has avoided sequels.
That’s about to change with the arrival of Doctor Sleep, the sequel to one of his earliest books, and one of the most famous horror novels of the 20th Century: The Shining. Five-year-old Danny Torrance, the child hero of The Shining, is now middle-aged Dan Torrance, whose encounter with twelve-year-old Abra Stone — who possesses the brightest shining ever seen — leads him into deadly conflict with a tribe of murderous paranormals.
On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival.
I always look forward to a new Stephen King book, but I’ll be looking for this one with very special interest. Doctor Sleep will be published on September 24, 2013 by Scribner. It is 544 pages in hardcover, priced at $30 ($14.99 for the digital version).