“Life is a wheel, and it always comes back around to where it started.”
In his novel Revival, Stephen King explores addiction, faith, science, the afterlife and the very existence of God. The book, which was first published in November 2014, is a tale that makes more than passing nod to some of the greatest writers of horror, including Mary Shelly, Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.
The story spans five decades and begins with the arrival of a new minister in town, Charles Jacobs. One of the first of the townsfolk to meet Jacobs is a young boy, young Jamie Morton.
Jacobs transforms the local church and the locals adore the preacher and his beautiful wife, but when tragedy strikes, and Mrs Jacobs and her young baby die in a car accident, Jacobs gives a heartfelt and impassioned sermon to his congregation denouncing God and religion.
Following his outburst, the minister is banished from the town and he finds a new career as a carnival hustler and then as a faith healer, making use of what he has learned from his secret lifelong experimentation with electricity. The young boy Jamie goes on to become a musician, travelling the length and breadth of the land, playing in numerous different bands, and, at the same time, becoming a heroin addict.
It seems, though, that the lives of the young boy and the preacher are somehow interlinked. When Charles Jacobs and Jamie meet again some time later, the ex-minister uses his “secret-electricity” healing on the young musician to cure him of his addiction. It’s not too long before Jamie begins to experience some disturbing side effects. When he looks deeper into the history of some of the other people that Jacobs has cured of their various ailments, Jamie finds that others have experienced similar side effects, and some have experienced far worse.
The story takes on a decidedly “Frankenstein” twist when Jacobs reveals his plans to use his “secret-electricity” in one last experiment. Aided by Jamie, Jacobs takes a terminally ill woman to his laboratory with the intention of discovering what became of his wife and child and to find out the truth about what lies beyond death. What he finds is not at all what he expected and it’s terrifying.
In Stephen King’s the book Revival; the author does a wonderful job of luring you into a place that seems warm and safe and then slowly exposing the cold dark truth. He asks questions about things that some may not want questioned, like faith, religion, and the afterlife and, in his usual way, he shows us just how thin the line between ordinary life and horror can be.
Video: Stephen King Talks about Revival
Stephen King’s Revival received generally positive reviews from the critics. Danielle Trussoni of the New York Times said that “reading Revival is experiencing a master storyteller having the time of his life." And “…you fall deeper and deeper under the story’s spell, almost believing that Jamie’s nightmarish experiences actually happened”.
There is possibly a movie adaptation of Revival on the way too. In February 2016 it was announced that Josh Boone, who wrote a screenplay for The Stand, had also written a screenplay for Revival. The script is said to be with Universal Pictures for their consideration, but at the time of writing, there have been no further developments.
Stephen King’s Revival is rich and disturbing it probably has the scariest conclusion that you will ever read. It’s another King masterpiece.