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Real talk: Does Stephen King ever sleep? The dude continues to crank out hundreds of pages of fiction a year at the spry age of 74. He's an absolute machine of literary prowess and speed.
His most recent novel, Billy Summers, barely hit stands five months ago and he's already got another book shooting down the pipeline for an early fall publication. First announced by Entertainment Weekly, which also has an exclusive excerpt, the project is officially titled Fairy Tale (on sale this September), the premise of which sounds as though King is subtly winking at the Locke & Key comic book series co-created by his son, Joe Hill. Think Locke & Key meets 11.22.63.
The story revolves around Charlie Reade, a young high schooler forced to grow up before his time when a hit-and-run accident kills his mother and drives his father to alcoholism. Seven years later, Charlie, who has learned to look out for himself and his dad, starts working for an aged and eccentric recluse by the name of Howard Bowditch. The man lives in a crumbling old house perched atop a hill and sometimes, strange noises can be heard coming from inside it. When the old man kicks the bucket, he leaves Charlie his faithful dog, Radar, a set of keys that unlock a door to a parallel dimension where good and evil are at war with one another. Is this perhaps a portal to the world of The Dark Tower or even the realm of Delain (the fantasy setting of The Eyes of the Dragon)?
"What could you write that would make you happy?" King said in a statement provided to EW. "As if my imagination had been waiting for the question to be asked, I saw a vast deserted city — deserted but alive. I saw the empty streets, the haunted buildings, a gargoyle head lying overturned in the street. I saw smashed statues (of what I didn't know, but I eventually found out). I saw a huge, sprawling palace with glass towers so high their tips pierced the clouds. Those images released the story I wanted to tell."
The excerpt gets right to the good stuff, providing readers with a tease of Charlie's journey to the parallel dimension, which is simply described as "the Other." King writes of towering structures made of green glass that recall the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz.
Check out the cover below:
Fairy Tale goes on sale from Simon & Schuster Tuesday, Sep. 6. Click here to pre-order.