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: 9781982110598
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 09/10/2019
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 19
File size: 5 MB

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 OutsiderSleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), and the Bill Hodges trilogy: End of WatchFinders 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. 82 reviews.
    Anonymous 3 months ago
    Absolulely loved this book. Mr. King has done it again. BRAVO
    Anonymous 3 months ago
    I loved this book like a lot of his older books. Great story and characters.
    Anonymous 18 days 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 25 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 5 days 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 7 days 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 14 days ago
    Anonymous 29 days ago
    He did it again. Amazing story!
    Anonymous 9 hours ago
    I loved it even more than I expected to!
    Anonymous 2 days ago
    Excellent!! I hope that this novel is made into a movie. Mr. King's creativity and writing skills are amazing.
    Anonymous 2 days ago
    Another book by Stephen King that I could not put down. Now what am I gonna do? Re read another Stephen King book of course!
    Anonymous 2 days ago
    was surprised just how much i enjoyed this novels.Starts off with a ex cop who decides( by chanse?) to hitch rides from Florida to New York ( for a job awaiting him). Along tge way, he stops off in a small town in South Carolina and decidesvto apply for a low paying job in assisting the local police department. The story goes on from there about some of the characters he interacts with. From there, the story turns to the main character of the story and how he comes to be a hero andhelps a bunch of other like type children .This is not a horror story. Highly recommend
    Anonymous 3 days ago
    held off reading the last 50 pages or so. didnt want it to end.
    Anonymous 4 days ago
    Couldn't put it down
    Anonymous 5 days ago
    Not his best - but good read anyway! I liked It and Duma Key much better
    Anonymous 5 days ago
    I didn't want to put it down. I have always loved King and this was right up there with his greats.
    Anonymous 6 days ago
    Never let down by anything Mr. King writes...,keep it coming please...
    Anonymous 6 days ago
    King's storytelling just gets better and better.
    Caroles_Random_Life 6 days ago
    This was spectacular! I hate to admit it but I avoided Stephen King's books until about 5 years ago or so. When I was a teenager almost 30 years ago, I read a short story written by King and didn't enjoy it. I didn't pick up another book with his name on it for another 25 years. It turns out this was a very big mistake. Huge. I could have been enjoying his books all these years and didn't give them a chance because for some reason I thought that my teenage mind was able to make a good decision. I have matured a lot as a reader and a human being and have enjoyed his books that I have picked up during the past several years but I have a lot of catching up to do. I found myself like the characters in this book right away. We first meet Tim who becomes a night knocker in a small southern town. I liked Tim a lot but I really felt like Luke was the driving force of this story. Luke is a twelve-year-old boy who happens to be a well-adjusted genius. Luke's life falls apart when he is taken to the Institute. He is able to make friends and keep himself safe in this unkind environment. Luke never stops thinking and always seems to be two steps ahead of everyone else. I couldn't help but want to see good things happen for this awesome kid and his friends. I loved the way this book came together. I felt like there were a lot of finely moving parts that worked perfectly to tell a larger story. Every piece of information may become important at a later time. The descriptions were so vivid that I almost felt like I was there with Luke through all of his experiences. I found this plot to be incredibly original. The story was really exciting at times with some pretty intense action. I found parts of the book to also be emotional. Luke goes through a whole lot in this book and I really felt for him at times. I would highly recommend this book to others. I had a fantastic time with this book and hated to put it down. It really was a joy to read and I cannot wait to read more of King's work.
    Anonymous 6 days ago
    totally enjoyed this book. I had a very hard time putting it down, especially during the escape. Just so full of suspense, really great character development. I hope there is a sequel!
    Anonymous 8 days ago
    Anonymous 8 days ago
    I really like the way it was broken up into small sections or books then get all tied together in the end. I couldn't put it down.
    CapeConservative 8 days ago
    This book reminds me of King's work in the 1980's - there were times I simply could not put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Please, Mr. King, more books like this!
    Anonymous 8 days ago
    As always, I am sad when a King novel comes to an end. This will be the first King novel I will be giving to my granddaughter who has been wanting to read one by my favorite author for a while now. Also, being from Brunswick, Georgia I am overjoyed to have my home mention in the story. Can't wait until the next one!
    Anonymous 8 days ago
    A great, fast paced read!