• Under the Dome

  • A Novel
  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Raul Esparza
  • Length: 34 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (26,310 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when - or if - it will go away.

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens - town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing - even murder - to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.

©2009 Stephen King (P)2009 Simon & Schuster

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What listeners say about Under the Dome

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Yanked From The Yarn

Shut up Barbara and just sing; This quote about Barbara Streisand is very appropriate for Stephen King's Under the Dome. The Book is well written with characters of all types, colorful, pitiful, evil, heroic, smart and dumb. The Story line and plot are very well put together. So what is the problem? Well just about every 5 to 10 minutes there is some oblique or direct derogatory comment against Republicans, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin or Christian Fundamentalists. When this happens I find myself distracted from the story and start thinking about Mr. King's Politics and the various things he has said in the last year or two for instance. "I don't want to sound like an ad, a public service ad on TV, but the fact is if you can read, you can walk into a job later on. If you don't, then you've got, the Army, Iraq". I was not a George Bush Fan either but I find these types of remarks in a novel are just a cheap shot at a political point of view or personality the author disagrees with. Further they feel contrived and distract from the natural flow of the tale. For me it clearly Yanks me from the Yarn. Mr. King Like Barbara S is a huge talent but his political voice is small and angry and using his celebrity and works to spread a biased political viewpoint does not serve his image as great story teller.

105 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Glad I Listened to 11-22-63 First

The first twenty one hours of this book had lots of moments that felt like listeners torture. It would have been deleted unfinished if I hadn't been so awed by 11-22-63. Fortunately, "Under the Dome" got a lot better in the final twelve hours.

Stephen King in his talk after the book finished (a great feature in both books) indicated that the book originally was larger and was shortened with input from a helper. Thank heavens for that --- because a longer version may have done me in.

More pages isn't always better. This book could have been shortened by about fifteen hours and become a very impressive story.

98 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Best Stephen King I've Heard

Don't pass this great story up just due to some complaining in the narration department. That criticism is far overblown. The women sound like most men narrating women. A FEW minor characters rang false briefly.

The New England setting is PURELY for the color of the tree changes in fall. (For visual plot reasons, otherwise ANY small town in the south would do (see below).

So why do the "bad guys" have southern accents? I suppose our stereotypes & popular culture (our "zeitgeist")leads us to associate small minded or bizarre religious thinking to our "Bible Belt" (No offense intended, I know more of you are raised to be better mannered & more polite, and have fine religion beliefs than many "average" Americans.) But apparently the drawl is intentional, to creep you out and it does. Yes, very few people are religious fanatics but given the "dome" people's behaviors would indeed change.

One criticism is that the characters do act very in very bizarre ways - some explained by heavy drug use. I really didn't like how the book excessively glamorized some very dangerous and addictive substances but it was all needed for the plot and I didn't buy this book for moral guidance.

The plot works. The science fiction angle automatically adds enough verisimilitude (It's a big universe.) It is a well told story with decently drawn characters of sufficient depth.

Onto the story, it grabs you at once, in the first minute or two. Things start happening and the pace doesn't let up until a mighty climax.
I became quite fond of the heroes and hated the bad guys. That makes it a good book.

It's no masterpiece but it is one heck of an enthralling story. Just the concept of a dome is on Earth is original.

It kept me far more glued to the ears than many others books I've downloaded in months.

68 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Awful. On so many levels.

This book downloaded incorrectly, so I missed first 7 hours of the book. It was still too long and painful. At first, I didn't notice, and when I finished, I couldn't bring myself to go back and listen.
It was a mess on several levels:
1. It felt like no one bothered to edit this book. I could see where it was going hours before it got there.
2. Characters were generic cardboard cutouts. I completely expected the bad guy to stroke his mustache and laugh as he tied someone to the railroad tracks.
3. There was a lot of focus on rape. Now I understand that that would be a problem in a lawless town, so I don't expect him to ignore it, but geez. It would come up out of nowhere as a plot device to show who the bad guys were and to add tension.
4. The concept in itself is interesting, but the writing around it was soap opera-esque. It felt like one VERY long episode of Passions.
5. The narrator is TERRIBLE with accents. Some of the townspeople have passable New England accents, others have non-accents, while others still have southern accents (including the bad guy, who has a tendency to say things like "cotton pickers" and "can I get an Amen?"). The worst is the guy who, as it turns out, is French (or French-Canadian). I spent the first half of the book thinking he was Jamaican.
6. EVERYONE in this book, save one or two people, is a moron. Honestly - even people who are set up to seem intelligent (the physician's assistant, the police chief's wife) then turn around and do out-of-character, beyond stupid things for the sake of a plot turn. I slapped myself in the forehead so many times during this book, I almost had a welt.

In conclusion, this book is an overly long and ridiculous hot mess. Don't waste your time.

67 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

No Stand

"Under the Dome" is being compared to King's earlier and greater work, "The Stand." "Dome" is entertaining, and I give it 3 points mostly for King-isms such as "Nothing runs like a Deere." (Of course the narrator deserves some credit for the delivery too.)

It's no "Stand," however. The big difference is that King devotes the entire work of the "Dome" to the subject covered in about 1/6 of "The Stand" - that is, the destruction of the world he's writing about. "The Stand" deals with that and then moves swiftly on to the part which I personally found more interesting; would it be possible to reconstruct society after the loss of so many people? That King had to use the hand-wavium of supernatural events to pull the protagonists together into one location shows that Stewart's "Earth Abides" describes the likelier outcome of such a catastrophe, but in "The Stand," King manages to pull off a fairly exciting work on the subject. In "Dome," however, King becomes one of those kids burning ants under a magnifying lens that he talks about in the book; he creates characters - some really evil bad guys and some weak and ineffectual good guys - then he spends the rest of the book watching them jump through hoops while everything goes crashing down around them.

If you thought the best part of "The Stand" was part 1, you'll enjoy "Under the Dome." If you're a hard core SF buff and would like a more character-driven and more scientifically interesting look at this notion of what would happen if you were cut off from the rest of the universe, I highly recommend Robert Charles Wilson's "Spin" instead.

64 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Under the Democrats

This book would be MUCH better if the author had kept is political sniping to himself. I'm only through the first two segments and find this horribly distracting from the story. Unnecessary jabs, not providing value, author obviously using his fame to express a viewpoint. Wrong forum.

58 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great writing!

This audio moves from the start and does not slow down. It kept me captivated because there was always something happening. I could not stop listening to it because there was never a slow minute. The Stand was always my favorite Stephen King book but this one has now replaced it. You will not be disappointed.

49 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A Good Listen, Though the Ending Disappoints

While having almost all the bad guys being rock-ribbed Republicans and fundamentalist Christians got tedious after 500 pages, King still provides gripping prose and engaging dialog, and I was hooked, until the end, which was anemic. Raul Esparza did a passable job at the narration, but it made me long for William Hurt and his nuanced, brilliant narration of Hearts in Atlantis. Still, if you don't mind a hefty does of King's leftwing politics and some strange vocal characterizations (especially for several of the women and most of the children), then this is well worth your time.

48 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

I tried to finish it

I really enjoy listening to audio books and I especially like Stephen King. But let me warn you, the narrator of The Dome is bad beyond description. The characters sound like half surfer dude and half Georgia chain gang boss. One of the main female characters sounds like the Queen of England. Its too much - I'll opt to read the book someday. I can't believe the author would have approved this reading. I only gave it two stars because I'm sure the story itself is good.

47 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Horrible Narration

I love most books by King, and have listened to 4 in audio format. This may be a great book that I will likely read, but will not finish in audio. The narration is mono-toned to the extreme, narrator is the worst I have heard yet at doing vocies. I have no idea, why so many others think the narration is good. The production comes off like it was done by a 17 year old kid using his home computer, or as a first read by narrator that has not learned that listeners don't what to feel like they are listening to college professor read. What a shame to have a potentially great book destroyed by such horrible narration. Oh how I long for the likes of Frank Muller, by far the best narrator I have listened to .

45 people found this helpful