The Institute

The Institute

Audio CD(Unabridged)

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King, the most riveting and unforgettable story of kids confronting evil since It.

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s 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 ten-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.

As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781508279068
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date: 09/10/2019
Edition description: Unabridged
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 31,769
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Institute, Elevation, The Outsider, Sleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), and the Bill Hodges trilogy: End of Watch, Finders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and an AT&T Audience Network original television series). His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark Tower and It are the basis for major motion pictures, with It now the highest grossing horror film of all time. He is the recipient of the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.


Bangor, Maine

Date of Birth:

September 21, 1947

Place of Birth:

Portland, Maine


B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970

Read an Excerpt

The Institute

  • Half an hour after Tim Jamieson’s Delta flight was scheduled to leave Tampa for the bright lights and tall buildings of New York, it was still parked at the gate. When a Delta agent and a blond woman with a security badge hanging around her neck entered the cabin, there were unhappy, premonitory murmurings from the packed residents of economy class.

    “May I have your attention, please!” the Delta guy called.

    “How long’s the delay gonna be?” someone asked. “Don’t sugarcoat it.”

    “The delay should be short, and the captain wants to assure you all that your flight will arrive approximately on time. We have a federal officer who needs to board, however, so we’ll need someone to give up his or her seat.”

    A collective groan went up, and Tim saw several people unlimber their cell phones in case of trouble. There had been trouble in these situations before.

    “Delta Air Lines is authorized to offer a free ticket to New York on the next outbound flight, which will be tomorrow morning at 6:45 AM—”

    Another groan went up. Someone said, “Just shoot me.”

    The functionary continued, undeterred. “You’ll be given a hotel voucher for tonight, plus four hundred dollars. It’s a good deal, folks. Who wants it?”

    He had no takers. The security blond said nothing, only surveyed the crowded economy-class cabin with all-seeing but somehow lifeless eyes.

    “Eight hundred,” the Delta guy said. “Plus the hotel voucher and the complimentary ticket.”

    “Guy sounds like a quiz show host,” grunted a man in the row ahead of Tim’s.

    There were still no takers.

    “Fourteen hundred?”

    And still none. Tim found this interesting but not entirely surprising. It wasn’t just because a six forty-five flight meant getting up before God, either. Most of his fellow economy-class passengers were family groups headed home after visiting various Florida attractions, couples sporting beachy-keen sunburns, and beefy, red-faced, pissed-off-looking guys who probably had business in the Big Apple worth considerably more than fourteen hundred bucks.

    Someone far in the back called, “Throw in a Mustang convertible and a trip to Aruba for two, and you can have both our seats!” This sally provoked laughter. It didn’t sound terribly friendly.

    The gate agent looked at the blond with the badge, but if he hoped for help there, he got none. She just continued her survey, nothing moving but her eyes. He sighed and said, “Sixteen hundred.”

    Tim Jamieson suddenly decided he wanted to get the fuck off this plane and hitchhike north. Although such an idea had never so much as crossed his mind before this moment, he found he could imagine himself doing it, and with absolute clarity. There he was, standing on Highway 301 somewhere in the middle of Hernando County with his thumb out. It was hot, the lovebugs were swarming, there was a billboard advertising some slip-and-fall attorney, “Take It on the Run” was blaring from a boombox sitting on the concrete-block step of a nearby trailer where a shirtless man was washing his car, and eventually some Farmer John would come along and give him a ride in a pickup truck with stake sides, melons in the back, and a magnetic Jesus on the dashboard. The best part wouldn’t even be the cash money in his pocket. The best part would be standing out there by himself, miles from this sardine can with its warring smells of perfume, sweat, and hair spray.

    The second-best part, however, would be squeezing the government tit for a few dollars more.

    He stood up to his perfectly normal height (five-ten and a fraction), pushed his glasses up on his nose, and raised his hand. “Make it two thousand, sir, plus a cash refund of my ticket, and the seat is yours.”

  • Customer Reviews

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    The Institute 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 112 reviews.
    Anonymous 6 months ago
    Absolulely loved this book. Mr. King has done it again. BRAVO
    Anonymous 5 months ago
    I loved this book like a lot of his older books. Great story and characters.
    Anonymous 5 months ago
    I used to be a huge Stephen King fan but had drifted away. Boy am I glad I came back! I loved this crazy, improbable and thoroughly engrossing story! I couldn't put it down and now that I am done I'm so sad. READ THIS BOOK!
    Anonymous 3 months ago
    Could have done without the political jabs near the end of the book but otherwise a fabulous ride.
    Anonymous 4 months ago
    It keeps you on the edge of your seat , interesting but.....................I am tired of King inserting his hatred of Trump and his obsession of the rear ends of young boys. The ending was a ho hum instead of something early King. This is coming from a total fan of King's books up through two of the trilogy books and then his obsession began. I read your great reviews and have the right to my opinion as well and this is it. Thanks for reading
    Anonymous 5 months ago
    I have read everything this man (and his kids) has ever written. With few exceptions, I've loved every one. This one is all the things a good story should be: Scary, riveting, touching, sad, and fulfilling. It's a gift to be able to move people as this story does. By the end, you love each child and desperately hope for their survival and success. It wouldn't be a Stephen King story if everyone made it out alive, but, it's an enormously engaging read. You will struggle to put it down.
    Anonymous 3 months ago
    Meh. Been there, read that. This is like a clunky Frankenstein's monster combination of Shawshank, The Green Mile, and Carrie. The protagonist is absolutely unbelievable in his omniscience. The plot rests on his genius, which apparently allows him to know everything about everything. The language and behavior of the kids is also out of touch with today's kids (For example: I did a quick survey of kids/teens/young adults and none of them had any idea what the term "necking" meant -- a term used by a kid in the novel and one I wouldn't know except my baby boomer parents used to use it). However, this IS 550 pages of King, so you're guaranteed an engrossing plot and place/character descriptions that will make the movie come alive before the options are ever picked up by a producer. There are ponderous one-liners and food-for-thought throughout. I'm not sure why politics had to be thrown in at the end (it's juvenile and polarizing to believe that there is a "good" political party versus an "evil" one), but that seems to be par for the course in his works these days. A classic? heck no. But enjoyable enough reading for a few hours.
    Anonymous 5 months ago
    Love it!! Would make a great movie/miniseries.
    Anonymous 5 months ago
    With my parent's full blessing; and to many of my teacher’s dismay, I've been reading Stephen King and Koontz since elementary school. I can't tell you how many times my mother had to write notes, either answer or make phone calls from and to my school in order for me to keep my very adult reading material from being confiscated by the adults in my school. Other kids that did not have such forgiveness from their parents to read adult material would beg to borrow mine. I could not of course. The only way I could keep my adult books with me to read at school during D.E.A.R ( For those not in my age group, consult google) was to promise to keep it from every child at my school. My parents, King and Koontz made me feel so special for that. I grew up with King and have such fond memories of reading him. The book ”IT” with Tim Curry’s character on the cover had to be face down in my room because of how terrified it made me to see it in the dark while trying to go to sleep. My grandfather and I watched and loved ”Firestarter” together so much, my uncle gave me the VHS tape (showing my age right now) for a keepsake after he died. I keep it by my bed to stay connected to that memory. All that to say, I am so grateful to King for everything he has ever written. This book is no exception. Even ”The Dark Tower” series and The ”Stand”, which I did not like, I'm still grateful for. ”The Insitute” is an amazing and wonderful story that allows our imagination to conjure up and revisit ”Firestarter.” I love a lot of his high page count novels. Especially when I love the story. I'm always sad when they end. Not everyone will like this book but enough will. If you're on the fence about reading it, don't be. Give it a shot. King has consistently written so many good books and influenced so many movies and worldwide pop culture, he deserves our curiosity on what is between the latest book covers. ”Elevation”; ”The Dome”; ”The Outsider”; ”Sleeping Beauties”, etc; are all masterful. I'm a decent writer but not talented enough to write full-on books but King and Koontz always allow me to fantasize I am on their level. So crack this open to feel special and to enjoy any fantasies it may provoke. Thank you, Stephen King. As Tupac said to his mother; ”You are appreciated.”
    Anonymous 30 days ago
    Another winner. Did I used to cry at the end of all of King's books? I don't remember that...except maybe Mr Mercedes...I sincerely do wish Mr King would leave out his political views. They are his tokens and in no way add to his marvelous stories.A Constant Reader...since the beginning
    Anonymous 3 months ago
    The Institute is another fascinating story by Stephen King. I wanted to read the story in one night. My only complaint with Stephen King is that he brings politics into his storyline. His remarks about President Trump were unnecessary and spoils the book. He needs to keep politics out of his books.
    Anonymous 4 months ago
    Anonymous 4 months ago
    I have been a fan of Stephen King's writing most of my life, starting in 1986 when I read It. While I haven't loved everything, I have certainly enjoyed most of his work.The Institute is a fine example of Stephen King at his best. It takes very little time to become involved with his story, and I finished it within 2 days. I particularly enjoy how the story develops in one area, then switches to a completely different track, with no interruption of the second thread. The re-emergence of the first thread is well done, and doesn't seem forced or cobbled together. As with many of King's works, the ending is satisfying, but leaves you with the feeling that there is a lot more that could be chronicled. I'm also left with the realization that I have to wait for the author to release his next work. The good news is that, as a voracious reader and re-reader, I can return to older works and immerse myself in the well-loved works, and find tiny details that I may have overlooked in prior reading.Another fine work, Mr. King!! I remain a Constant Reader, and look forward to future releases.
    Anonymous 4 months ago
    You know this will be a movie. Again, cant you leave Trump bashing out?
    Anonymous 4 months ago
    Another great ride from Stepen King! My favorite books from King have always dealt with people being bad to and underestimating kids. The beauty of a King novel is he remembers what it was to be young and maybe a little innocent. I love to read the thought process of his characters because at times I am thinking the same things his good and bad guys are thinking.As his stories move forward the children are forced to grow up too fast and the realness of their actions from then on are the beauty of his literature. Some fail because they take the easy roads but the ones that make the real impact are the kids that band together, no matter the difficulties, and fight the bad stuff until it's gone...mostly.
    Anonymous 5 months ago
    He did it again. Amazing story!
    TiBookChatter 2 days ago
    Not what I expected. When it comes to King, it’s obvious to me and has been for decades, that he enjoys the storytelling process. I imagine him at his computer, wringing his hands and laughing maniacally over the words spooling out of his head and I am here for it. But… Something happened with The Institute. Two thirds of the book was lackluster. The setup? Long. The characters? Somewhat likable. The story? Unbelievable. But I am a Constant Reader and a huge fan of his regardless so I will stick to the positives. Luke Ellis, 10, is kidnapped from the safety of his home and taken in an SUV to a place called, The Institute. There, kids are placed in rooms that look very much like home, but they are not home and in fact, being experimented on. These kids have powers, specifically telekinesis and telepathy but all to varying degrees. They are poked and prodded and injected with unknown substances to bring on the dots which represents their powers in action. Luke befriends a group of kids, some older, some younger and together they attempt to figure out what is going on. Why are they there? What do the tests mean? What will happen to them in the end? The Institute has some classic King elements but is definitely not horror. Not even close. I wouldn’t say it’s a thriller either. Although the last few chapters were nail biters the majority of the book hummed along and settled into the Sci-Fi category. A rather sleepy take on Sci-Fi, if that. I enjoyed The Institute but it lacked that snappy King vibe that his most beloved books possess. Usually with King, the interactions between the kids are golden. I mean, think back to IT and how tight that circle was. That tightness was missing with Luke and his gang although there were hints of it when it came to The Institute’s youngest occupant, Avery. Overall, lukewarm. I know many who read it when it first came out and loved it. It took me longer to get to than I wanted but now that I’ve read it I feel like maybe the lack of buzz while reading it might have affected my overall impression. If you love King and have not read it yet, I would still recommend that you do because Constant Readers read it all. Right?
    Anonymous 12 days ago
    many pages but a quick read. Great character development . I liked the way the train ride took the story to the beginning storyline
    Anonymous 14 days ago
    Love the twists and turns of the book. It is well explained adventure through the whole book. Highly recommend it
    Anonymous 14 days ago
    I believe that it is possible to predict the future and that Trump is getting closer and closer to causing the end of the world, will it happen, who knowsI loved the book the Institute. and anxiously await the next book to be published that's written by Stephen King I am his biggest fan!
    Anonymous 16 days ago
    I absolutely loved this book. I cried in the last chapter.
    Anonymous 17 days ago
    Very intense kept my attention
    Anonymous 18 days ago
    I'm going to be completely honest... I do not usually read Stephen King because frankly, his stories terrify me. But this is truly one of the best books I've ever read!!! He is genius! If I could give more than 5 stars, I certainly would! Highly recommend
    Anonymous 21 days ago
    I loved this book, as usual. I don't think anyone does character development as well as Mr. King. These a people I really get to know and care about, and miss when the book is done. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.
    Anonymous 22 days ago
    The writing is of course the best as usual. The story is scary and unfortunately believable . It's a horrible thought that there are those kind of people out there that can do things to children and to any human . I recommend this story