Deemed “the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written”— Revival certainly packs its own signature punch.
Actually, Revival could be considered one of the most terrifying novel King has written to date. Skeptical? It’s understandable. With over 50 novels published over the course of a 40-year career, Stephen King has frightened readers with books like The Shining, It and Cujo.
After a near-fatal accident in June 1999, King announced his retirement. Since then, Stephen King has published 19 novels, all of them bestsellers. Considering works like From A Buick 8, Lisey’s Story and 11/22/63, some fans, while appreciative, have wondered “Where’s the horror?”
The new novel, Revival, answers “Here.” King cues a sinister vibe before the story even begins, quoting H.P Lovecraft in the epigraph. “That is not dead which can eternal lie/ And with strange aeons, even death may die.”
Revival begins in the 1960s in the fictional town of Harlow, Maine. Jamie Morton, the novel’s narrator, recollects an incident when he was six years old, the youngest of five in a religious household. He’s outside playing with his toy soldiers when a stranger appears.
The man is named Charles Jacobs, the town’s new Methodist minister, married happily, with a young wife and toddler. He first invites the Morton’s to attend the church, then invites Jamie over to his garage to see the toys he’s been tinkering with. The Reverend loves electricity, and shows Jamie some of the
gadgets he’s been working on.
The Reverend then starts conducting miracle cures, daring to even claim that “Electricity is more powerful than God.” After he experiences a perilous tragedy, Jacobs takes to the podium to deliver a brutally- honest sermon, desecrating young Jamie’s own faith in God. As a result, Jacobs loses his
job as minister. Years go by. Jamie becomes a teenager in love, a musician and a drug addict. He recalls his first sexual experience and how electricity played a role in it. King keeps the entity of Jacobs in Jamie’s mind during his adulthood.
When the two paths cross again, it’s the 1990s and Jacobs is a traveling flimflam man at state fairs, conning audiences with electricity-based magic tricks. Jamie is forever in debt to Jacobs after he cures his heroin addiction. Yet again, the two run into each other when Jamie finds Jacobs touring the country during the 2000s, performing “Revival shows,” where he cures people’s ailments using his “secret electricity.” These miracle cures, in some cases, have grim side-effects. Jamie finds himself drawn to the man and his dangerous quest to find lies on the other side of life.
evival is a fantastic novel, standing out boldly over most of King’s other works. With the new novel, Stephen King moves away from dreads in the physical world into realms of the metaphysical world and universal terror. A captivating novel about addiction, faith, and the afterlife, Revival delivers on a whole new level.