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Date [ 2014-01-15, 05:35 ]

Another frightening novel by the master of horror movies.


(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress) by Azmi Annuar = This novel by Stephen King, is a sequel to his earlier book, called The Shining and which came out in 1922. Doctor Sleep made its debut last year.

The idea for the book first evolved in 2009.  But it was only two years later that the author's official website confirmed the project. Here he described it as "a return to balls-to-the-wall, keep-the-lights-on horror".  The book reached the first position on the New York Times Best Seller Lists for print and ebook fiction (combined), hardcover fiction, and ebook fiction soon after its release.

 King had the story follow a character from the original novel, Danny Torrance, now in his 40s, and living in New Hampshire where he works as an orderly at a hospice. Here he helps terminally ill patients pass away with the aid of some extraordinary powers.

A background to the book reveals that King asked his readers to vote on whether he should write on Doctor Sleep or on werewolfs? Voting ended on December 31, 2009, and it had Doctor Sleep receiving 5,861 votes, while The Wind Through the Keyhole received 5,812. That was a close call indeed.

“The story was partly inspired by Oscar, a therapy cat who is able to predict the deaths of terminally ill patients,” revealed King early on, "I thought to myself: ‘I want to write a story about that.’ And then I made the connection with Danny Torrance as an adult, working in a hospice. I thought: ‘That’s it. I’m gonna write this book.' The cat had to be there. It always takes two things for me to get going. It’s like the cat was the transmission and Danny was the motor."

Stephen King was not happy with the first draft of the novel and felt it needed a lot of editing. Later a publication date of September 24, 2013 was announced.

The novel follows the events of The Shining, with Danny remaining psychologically traumatized, while Wendy, his mother, slowly recovers from her injuries. Angry ghosts from The Overlook Hotel eventually find Danny, including the woman from Room 217. Chef Hallorann eventually teaches Danny how to imprison the ghosts in locker boxes inside his mind.

Danny reprises his father's legacy of anger and alcoholism and for a long time drifts around aimlessly.  Eventually he finds an AA community and gives up drinking. He settles in a New Hampshire town and works in a nursing home, where his remnant psychic abilities provide comfort to the dying. With the aid of a cat that can foresee the future, Danny becomes known as "Doctor Sleep".

In the mean time, Abra, a toddler girl with psychic powers greater than Dan's, slowly and unintentionally establishes a telepathic bond with him. As she grows, the contact becomes more conscious and voluntary. One night, Abra psychically witnesses a ritual torture and murder of a boy by the True Knot, a group of seemingly immortals who wander across America and periodically feed on "steam", a psychic essence that children with "the shining" produce when they are tortured to death.

Horrified, Abra telepathically reaches out for Danny and Abra are unable to do anything for the boy. At the same time, the True Knot's leader, Rose the Hat, is also aware of Abra's existence as a potential major source of sustenance.

Soon, the True Knot starts to die off from an infectious disease. In desperation, they send people to kidnap Abra, believing that her steam can cure them. Abra asks for Danny's help. He then reveals his connection with Abra to David, her father, and John Dalton, their family doctor. Angry and skeptical at first, David starts to believe him and go along with the plan to save his daughter. With the help of Billy, one of Danny's friends, they kill off the first team of kidnappers but soon realize that Rose the Hat will not stop her vendetta against Abra.

Danny visits Abra's great-grandmother, who is dying of cancer. He then telepathically learns from the dying woman that he and Abra's mother, Lucy, share the same father. As Abra's great-grandmother dies, Danny retrieves her diseased steam.

Abra baits Rose the Hat into confronting her at the location where the Overlook Hotel once stood. Danny and Billy show up in her place while Abra helps them using her astral projection. Danny releases the steam collected from Abra's dying great-grandmother to the group of True Knot lying in wait. Already weak from disease, they inadvertently inhale the steam and die.

Danny and Abra fight Rose the Hat in a long psychic struggle, and with the help from Billy and the ghost of Danny's father, manage to push Rose the Hat down from the overlook to her death.

Years later, on Abra's fifteenth birthday, Danny cautions Abra not to repeat the same mistake as him by starting to drink or submitting to rage. Abra agrees that she will behave, but before they can finish the conversation, Danny is called back to his hospice. He sits there and comforts a dying colleague who was once his enemy. Doctor Sleep is at work again.

abc@koreanpress.net

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