We start off by meeting Tim Jamieson. An ex cop led awry from his normal life by a hunch that took him down a path through deep wood South Carolina. Whether by chance or by fate he came upon a town too intriguing to pass by.
Cut to Luke Ellis. 12 year old boy genius on the fast track for fall admittance to MIT and Emerson College. He is snatched away in the middle of the night only to awaken in his own room, which was not really his room at all. A missing window and other subtle differences alert him to the fact that he may not be in Kansas anymore Toto. Through his (not his) bedroom door a group of children, not unlike himself, were waiting.
It seems like the perfect setup. Impossibly tall fences, terrifying, sadistic guards and a reward system for obedience that leaves the children submissive and compliant. The creators of The Institute have thought of everything to keep these kids in line and keep their work a secret. That is, until they made the foolish decision of kidnapping such a brilliant kid as Luke. One by one, children are brought in and one by one they disappear out the other side. Forced to endure horrifying medical procedures, shots for dots and even violent physical abuse at the hands of their captors. When Luke finally concocts a plan to escape, the roller coaster that follows had my face glued to the pages.
***Warning*** The following may contain spoilers.
Our escapee Luke, hops on a train and ends up in deep wood South Carolina where an unlikely group of individuals come together for a conspiracy takedown like no other. My own personal hero in the story is Orphan Annie. Conspiracy theorists are always ready when crazy shit hits the fan, and she don’t back down for nothin’. When the final showdown takes place I was left in tears. Such a pure and loving sacrifice cripples the organization and leaves the victims to watch over their shoulders for the rest of their lives.
This book is definitely one of the best books I’ve read in a while. King just has a way of making you believe you are right in there with them. Plus who else but King could casually throw in a potato fight and make it work? Go read this book right now.
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