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The Talisman cover art

The Talisman

Written by: Stephen King,Peter Straub
Narrated by: Frank Muller
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Publisher's Summary

On a brisk autumn day, a 13-year-old boy stands on the shores of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra. The past has driven Jack Sawyer here: His father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back across America - and into another realm.

One of the most influential and heralded works of fantasy ever written, The Talisman is an extraordinary novel of loyalty, awakening, terror, and mystery. Jack Sawyer, on a desperate quest to save his mother's life, must search for a prize across an epic landscape of innocents and monsters, of incredible dangers and even more incredible truths. The prize is essential, but the journey means even more. Let the quest begin....

©2001 Simon & Schuster; 2001 Stephen King and Peter Straub

What the critics say

Audie Award Winner, Fiction (unabridged), 2002
"A classic...rare and dazzling...a journey to rival the greatest adventure stories ever told." ( New York Daily News)
"Extraordinary...makes your hair stand on end." ( The Washington Post)

What listeners say about The Talisman

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous book and excellent narration.

I read this many years ago, and loved it. After losing my eyesight, the world of books were closed to me for awhile, until I found Audible. I’ve been listening to many of Stephen Kings book, and have thoroughly enjoyed them ,but this one stands out for the incredible narrative skills of the narrator. He became Wolf(who I named my first German Shepherd for) and he became Speedy, Morgan, all the characters had their own voices and he thoroughly brought this book alive to me again. I have sat with rapt attention for the last 3 days, listening to this wonderful book and this incredible narrator. Buy it. You will love it like I do!

13 people found this helpful

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Don't Listen to this one at Night

I use Audible to lull my brain to sleep. This book was incredibly exciting, tension filled and addictive. The reader had a great voice and his characters were all individual, recognizable, and very believable. This is a King/Straub tour de force. I was immediately caught up in the story. The protagonist is easy to like and I found myself empathising with him and his travails. I can recommend this audio book whole heartedly, Just dont listen at night. I kept waking up when the Sleep timer turned it off and resetting for another hour.. I was exhausted, in that great way that you cannot wait to get back to the story. #Audible1

5 people found this helpful

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Terrible Narrator

Terrible narrator. Story is interesting but story teller killed it. Too bad. Will watch for further readings by Frank Muller.

3 people found this helpful

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Best credit I ever spent

This book was amazing! I laughed, I cried, I was spooked. This is definitely the best Stephen King book I've ever read/listened to and this is coming from an avid King fan. Now to listen to some more of Peter Straub's work! Frank Muller does a fantastic job bringing each character to life and I found myself wishing the story would never end. I will recommend this to all my friends and family. Many thanks to all involved!

3 people found this helpful

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One of my all time faves now.

I loved this book so much that I was terribly disappointed when it ended. Just the weirdest story ever, but with an edgy gruesomeness that just kept me wanting more.

1 person found this helpful

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Weak characters

Are you tired of listening to characters getting beat up, abused and mangled for hours on end? Then this book is not for you. Despite having seemingly special powers and abilities that are hinted at during the story, our main character is one helluva punching bag with zero spunk at all in him. It's as if though he's a passive observer to his own misfortune, without any agency to do anything about it. And although he meets many interesting characters along his journey, many of whom possess extraordinary skills and physical strength, he utilizes none of them to his advantage. This boy is a glutton for getting punishment. And he's utterly helpless to do anything at all to change his fate or improve his situation . I can't say I enjoy this, because it goes on for the vast majority of this story, and it gets rather tiresome. There's nothing smart or cunning, no wit or schemes, just literally rolling with the punches.

Whatever there is to the overarching plot or story gets lost in the abuse that goes on for hours and hours. You wouldn't know what jack was trying to do if you picked up the story after an hour or so. I'm rather disappointed, considering King gave us such epic and grand tales like The Gunslinger.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

worst book l ever downloaded.

listened to 22 chapters and decided not to finish. it was the worst book l ever down loaded..

1 person found this helpful

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Talisman is a Classic Tale

A blast from the past I had read when I was a teen. So engaging. The bad guys are really bad, and so few good guys. It was a great stroll down memory lane with classic lines like Fushing Feef, Bad Smells Jackie, It's Axiomatic, A Manner O' Things Will Be Well, and more. It makes you wonder, which is a hall mark of any great novel, about the territories, worlds within worlds, the multiverse as it has been come to be known. I could not put it down when I was a youngling, and I tore through it voraciously in the Audiobook format. I love it, and always will.

1 person found this helpful

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Wow

This is one of my favorite books EVER and will now start listing to Black House to conti i.e. this amazing journey!

1 person found this helpful

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I binge listened to this one

Magnificent,,,, I had read this book, "twice", ages ago. One of my favorite offerings, out of the King library.. And my fav, from Peter Strubb. Such amazing characters they created,, Wolf was the one I remembered, (and loved), the best.
Five stars seems hardly adequate praise of this strory

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Bill S.
  • 2010-03-24

Still Good

I read this book when it first came out in the 80s. This was before the sci-fi world took the theme of multi-dimensionality to it ad-nauseumal limit. (I know, not a word.) Even so, it's still an excellent story by these two excellent authors.

I love the fact that when you read these reviews you get both ends of the spectrum and everything in-between. One compared this to Beyond the Dome which I thought doesn't even come close to The Talisman.

I also suggest Audible listeners get used to Frank Muller. He's all over this place and you're going to miss out on a lot of great books if you try to avoid him. His style always puts me off at first, but it always ends up growing on me.

166 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Peggy
  • 2004-02-14

This is The Greatest Adventure Story Ever

Looking for Adventure?...need suspense?...want to have fun?...need a vacation?..Well this is the book for you. It is long but the action and the different adventures inside one. You will find the strange and the funny so charming that you will not want to miss a thing. The beginning sets up the story and you may want to skip ahead. Don't do it this book builds you up to the task. You will need to hold on to your seat at times and remember some of the early charpters to get the full impact of some events. You will want the story not to end! It does end but... At that time get the book "Black House" to go on yet another adventure with Jack out hero.

107 people found this helpful

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  • Nate_D
  • 2014-03-26

Had no idea.....

I consider myself a Stephen King fan...a Constant Reader, if you will. However, I had never read this novel and was quite excited to begin this endeavor. I won't say that The Talisman is my favorite King story, but it would definitely merit an honorable mention in that discussion! This was a great book. I loved how different this story is ... the unbelievable creativity that went into the prose of this novel. I have never really read Straub, but will be looking him up as well, due to this great story.

I loved the Jack and the Wolf characters. I have always been a sucker for the humble hero... The unwilling hero. Jack takes on this quest because he really has no other choice. Wolf is sucked into the narrative in much the same way, but they both are true and faithful to the light and integrity that is needed to reach their goal.

Frank Muller is simply the best narrator I have ever heard. Especially for this type of novel...you simply cannot get anyone better. His characterization is amazingly consistent, and spot on with each and every character. No one has ever committed to narration like Mr. Muller. I often buy books simply because he is the narrator. He will be missed over and over again.

101 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel DeBlock
  • 2003-04-10

On a mission.

This is the first Steven King novel I have read and I plan to read many more. I couldn't stop listening. The book was not what I expected. There is a connoisseur like after taste that is liberating. From the reviews of others it bothered the politically correct crowd; however, theirs is not the last word. What an adventure Jack Sawyer had compared to his name sake of Tom. If you liked Tom Sawyer and his adventures you will find this listen intriguing. Just like Tom Sawyer disturbed the people of his day, Steven King's Talisman makes the same impact. I love it and want more of it.

61 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Erik N
  • 2004-09-26

There was a little girl...

This book is like the little girl from the nursery rhyme: When she was good, she was very very good, but when she was bad she was horrid. Slow to start, it starts to get good just before you might think of giving up. Quite exciting for long sections, but with just plain dull sections stuck in for good measure. Imaginative in places, quite flat in others.

Many characters are stock King (and possibly stock Straub, though I haven't read as much of his work). Old black people are wise and somewhat mystical (see also The Shining and The Stand). Folks in small rural towns are ignorant and racist (see most anything). Large slow witted people are good and loyal friends (see also The Stand).

And the book is long. Much too long. Filled with characters saying the same things over and over again in a long string (literally: see the main villains "what does it gain you to win the world" inner and interminable monologue and Jack's "I am the herd" stuff). Characters talk in irritating ways (Speedy's old bluesman patois gets old quickly, and Wolf's need to say "right here and now" and "wolf" in the middle of sentences gets old very very very quickly."

Finally, there's the narration. Good in places, but sometimes the narrator sounds like he's trying out for a Clint Eastwood role, with breathy drawn out sibilants at the end of sentences. But overall good.

51 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael Rowan (mtr@cutaway.com)
  • 2003-12-27

Wonderful...


Disgard the few bad reviews -- this book is wonderful, and Frank Muller was one of the greatest readers of all time...This isn't your "typical" King book, but if you loved the Dark Tower books, you will love this (and vice versa). I have forced over a dozen people to read this book, and have given away 4 tape copies over the years. I'm buying it on Audible so I won't lose it again ;-)

43 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennie
  • 2003-04-25

Simply a classic

This story has it all: evil men, magic, adventure, a boy and his mother who are linked to another world and a dying queen, creatures of wonder as well as horror, and the best and worst of humankind. All of these headed across the continent on a collision course to the California coast.

43 people found this helpful

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  • Mano Perez
  • 2018-11-01

Horrible Narrator

I love this book but the narrator is atrocious! Whispering the end of every sentence.

38 people found this helpful

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  • Derek B.
  • 2012-11-02

What a story!

This story is entertaining from the start to the end! I know little of Straub and only bought it because of King but this book has me wanting to know more about him. I would love to tell you about the story but it would be unfair as it would likely rob the book of vital moments, so I will just say that in my opinion this book will be LOVED by any fan of King and Muller. Not only loved but read again and again in due time. I know, it's alot of hours to pledge to a book but as always King never wastes our time and always rewards us for the lost sleep. What a story!

33 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rich
  • 2010-01-31

Great

I don't know what some people are complaining about; Frank Muller is one of the best narrators I've listened to, and he doesn't let us down in this great novel.

29 people found this helpful

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  • CK
  • 2019-07-07

horrible narrator

I could not bear more than 5 mn this horrible narration. Sounds like this "actor" reads a horror story to some little kids, trying to be suspenseful and scary at every end of sentense, finishing every single one of them with a dramatic, hissing sound, totally ridiculous and unbearable to listen.
This version is a waste of money.