The Stand Author:Stephen King Book club edition - 1978 — The story begins with the death of most of the human population of North America (and, presumably, the world) following the escape and spread of a man-made biological weapon (a superflu virus) known formally as "Project Blue" and colloquially as "Captain Trips". 99.4 percent of people are susceptible to Trips, and the d... more »isease has a mortality rate of 100 percent. This first section of the novel takes place over 19 days and charts the total breakdown and destruction of society in some very graphic scenes.
The novel continues, in part two, with the intertwining cross-country odysseys of the small number of survivors, including a pregnant college student (Frances Goldsmith), a laid-off factory worker from Texas (Stuart Redman), a high school outcast (Harold Lauder), a deaf-mute wanderer (Nick Andros), a dissatisfied pop musician (Larry Underwood), and a pessimistic sociology professor (Glen Bateman). They are drawn together by their shared dreams of an elderly psychic woman whom they see as a refuge. This woman, Abagail Freemantle (known as 'Mother Abagail'), becomes the spiritual leader of this group of survivors, who begin to attempt to re-establish a democratic society in the Colorado town of Boulder. Meanwhile, another group of survivors including a common thief, an arsonist (Trashcan Man), and the ex-chief of the Santa Monica PD are drawn to Las Vegas, Nevada by another entity, an evil being with supernatural powers known as Randall Flagg, the "dark man," or the "walkin' dude." Flagg's rule is tyrannical and brutal yet effective.
In part three, the stage is set for the final confrontation as the two camps become aware of one another, and each recognizes the other as a threat to its survival, leading to 'the stand' of the good against the evil and involving a salvaged nuclear weapon.« less