Within Stephen King’s story collection, Nightmare and Dreamscapes, there was a story by the name of The Ten o’ Clock People. In the story, smokers had the ability to see behind the human façade of demons who walked amongst humans.
Taking place in Derry, Maine – the location of King’s previous novel, It – we find that the concept of Stephen King’s is somewhat the same. Suffering from insomnia, seventy-year-old Ralph Roberts discovers that his lack of sleep gives him the ability to see things that others around him can’t. Namely, entities that Ralph refers to as “Little Bald Doctors” and those auras of light that many new-agers swear by.
It is with the help of his friend, Lois Chasse, that Ralph begins to truly understand the purpose behind the Little Bald Doctors. In short, the Little Bald Doctors act as the givers of death, which, as morbid as it may sound, is actually a very natural process. At least within the covers of Insomnia, that is.
The Little Bald Doctors soon become known as Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, a nod to the fates of Greek Mythology. Through the request of Clotho and Lachesis, Ralph and Lois embark on a quest to infiltrate a pro-choice demonstration, though why, they’re not quite sure at first.
It’s within the task that we discover that Insomnia, like so many of King’s other novels, directly connects to the Dark Tower itself as The Crimson King, who later makes an appearance in both Black House (which is also connected to the series) and the Dark Tower novels themselves. In Insomnia, The Crimson King comes in the form of an entity that takes hold of Ed Deepnau, a man suffering from advanced dementia. Under the influence of The Crimson King, Ed attempts to steer an explosive laden plane into the pro-choice demonstration which Ralph and Lois have been asked to infiltrate. The novel concludes with a bang as Ralph must fight both the supernatural beings who would stop him and the very real threat of Ed Deepnau.
While is a great volume within the Stephen King bibliography, it tends to be a bit long and, at first, seems a bit difficult to dive into. However, readers who stick with the novel will be justly rewarded with an explosive ending that is all King.
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