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The Road Of Trials by Stephen King

1/04/2011. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy The Road Of Trials in the USA - or Buy The Road Of Trials in the UK

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The Talisman: Volume 1: The Road Of Trials by Stephen King & Peter Straub adapted by Robin Furth & Tony Shasteen. pub: Titan Books. 160 page graphic novel. Price: GBP 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84856-877-8.

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A young boy loses his father in tragic circumstances. His mother is ill and the boy discovers he must travel to a different world called the Territories to try to save her. The only problem is that there are bad men here and there that might like to kill him. Some people in our world have twinners in the Territories and are able to travel between the dimensions. Jack’s father, Phil Sawyer, was one such and his twinner was Prince Phillip, who ruled over the Territories. As a young child, Jack travels without realising it but when Jack is six, both his father and his twinner are murdered by his uncle, Morgan Sloat, who Phil had taught to travel. To save his mother, Jack must find the Talisman. He does not know what it looks like and the other problem is that the Talisman is hidden in a dark and dangerous place on the other side of both the Territories and America.

‘The Talisman’ was written by Stephen King and Peter Straub and I can remember finding this book both thrilling and disturbing when it first came out. It was a definite page-turner and a bulky read at 900 pages. It is intriguing to see how it has been cut and shaped to fit in with the requirements of the graphic medium.

I like the format of the graphic novel which is set out well with some good artwork. The plot is well explained in a prologue and five chapters follow making up this volume one of the adventures of Jack Sawyer.

The book is ideal material to be split into episodes and this has previously been released as single comics. For me, it failed to capture the excitement of the original and this is probably because of the format or possibly my now advanced age. When most of the pictures are inside your head, it is hard to get into a book where everything is shown. There is no getting away with this and the book must offer a whole lot more if it is to be rendered in this manner. I found myself interested but not in the page-turning way that the original gripped me.

There are some things to look out for such as artistic impressions of the authors King and Straub and lots of hints about future episodes. Every time I pick it up for reference, I notice some more details and if you are already a fan you will probably want to continue with it. I’m not sure it would draw in new readers for Straub and King.

Sue Davies

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