Every kid has dreamed of getting notice that he or she has been recruited to join an elite, secret school for the unexpectedly powerful.
But in Stephen King’s new novel The Institute, it sure as hell isn’t Hogwarts.
The author’s website announced the new title, due in stores Sept. 10, by invoking two of his classic novels: Firestarter and It.
Firestarter was the story of a little girl with the power to ignite blazes with her mind, but she was all alone as she fled The Shop — a government organization that collected and weaponized the odd and supernatural.
It, of course, was about a team of outcasts dubbed The Losers, who unite to fight back against a shapeshifting evil that lurks beneath their small town, feeding on the misery and fear of its inhabitants. They are strong because they are not alone.
The Institute sounds like Charlie McGee from Firestarter, if she found herself some powerful friends.
Here’s the synopsis:
“In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’ parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes.
“Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents — telekinesis and telepathy — who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and 10-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half. ‘Like the roach motel,’ Kalisha says. ‘You check in, but you don’t check out.’
“In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here.
“If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from The Institute.”
The description concludes, “The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.”
If they’re lucky, they’ll just get to stay good.