The Institute

The Institute

by Stephen King


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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—publishing just as the second part of It, the movie, lands in theaters.

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: 9781982110567
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 09/10/2019
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 2
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.90(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. 35 reviews.
    Anonymous 12 days ago
    Absolulely loved this book. Mr. King has done it again. BRAVO
    Anonymous 11 days ago
    I loved this book like a lot of his older books. Great story and characters.
    Anonymous 9 days ago
    He did it again. Amazing story!
    Anonymous 7 days 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 4 days 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 4 days ago
    Love it!! Would make a great movie/miniseries.
    Anonymous 7 days 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 8 days ago
    ZachN 13 days ago
    King might be known as the master of horror but what he truly excels at is his characters.
    Anonymous 17 hours ago
    Slightly gorish, but not terrifying. One of my new favourites from The King!!
    Anonymous 18 hours ago
    I have been reading SK since I was a teenager. His books have been hits and misses. This one is a page turner. The story is interesting all the way through.
    357800 23 hours ago
    The 5 Star beginning takes place on a totally booked Delta flight bound for New York where we meet Tim Jamieson who gives up his seat and ends up with a job as a Night Knocker in a small backward rural town, population 5,400. There we learn more about Tim's eventful previous life and meet some crazy good people of the the homeless Orphan Annie, my favorite. As SK states in his author notes, THE INSTITUTE is mostly about kids, and with a group of exceptionally gifted kidnapped children is where we spend most of our reading time as we leave southern Carolina for the secretive, deadly compound hidden deep in the woods of northern Maine. As the brilliant 12 year old Luke Ellis wakes up in a similar yet unknown environment, he soon discovers a scary, threatening new life of horror among other draftees like himself....escape his only hope of survival. Another winner for the KING, but instead of horror, a mystery-thriller with lots of evil characters and psychic phenomena. As always, KING brings back memories of old....remember candy cigarettes (yum!), "prehistoric" (lol) sitcoms like Bewitched and Happy Days and once again, he also gets in some personal political digs about current republican leadership. The only reference to his other novels I picked up was mention of "twins of an old horror movie" (The Shining) and The Outsider(s). GREAT story - GREAT characters - GREAT read, but personally I wanted more of Tim Jamieson and the people of the night!
    Anonymous 2 days ago
    I could not out this book down.
    Anonymous 2 days ago
    From page one to the end a totally SK well written page turner.Loved it and sorry to see it end.
    Anonymous 2 days ago
    Well researched drama. Laid out in an engaging way.
    Anonymous 2 days ago
    A must read
    Anonymous 3 days ago
    Anonymous 3 days ago
    I normally don't read Mr. King's book, but decided to try one again. Though the subject matter was a bit far-fetched for me (or was it?), it certainly had me reading into the night! Enjoyed the characters, and even got into the plot. I may even read another one of his books!
    Anonymous 3 days ago
    Loved the kids and the development of the story. Best book after The Dark Tower series and The Stand. Thank you Mr King.
    Anonymous 4 days ago
    Thomas Jefferson wrote that in a democracy it is not unpatriotic to question or criticise anything the governme t or its leaders did. George Washington wrote that he agreed. I therefore do not believe that it is fair to criticise Mr king for his views if his stories a are good, seven if his politics do not Garr with yours. I guess you never got around to reading the federalist papers, or believe they are fake news.
    Anonymous 5 days ago
    the characters were ones you could easily attach to and the pace of the action and story line was good.
    Anonymous 5 days ago
    This book was awesome! I could not put it down, highly recommend. Keep writing !
    Anonymous 5 days ago
    Anonymous 5 days ago
    I've been reading Stephen King books since '74 and have enjoyed almost every one of them. His latest, The Institute, is by far his very best in a long time! If you are looking for a book with a story that keeps you captivated, characters that you almost instantly fall in love with, written by one of the masters of macabre, then this is most definitely the book for you! I can't believe its not already on the New York's Best Seller List - it should be!
    Anonymous 6 days ago