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The Institute

Narrated by: Santino Fontana
Length: 18 hrs and 59 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (1,257 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Combining the suspense of The Outsider with the childhood camaraderie in It, The Institute is a powerful new novel from Stephen King which is destined to become the number one blockbuster of autumn 2019.

Deep in the woods of Maine, there is a dark state facility where kids, abducted from across the United States, are incarcerated. In the Institute they are subjected to a series of tests and procedures meant to combine their exceptional gifts - telepathy, telekinesis - for concentrated effect. 

Luke Ellis is the latest recruit. He's just a regular 12-year-old, except he's not just smart, he's super-smart. And he has another gift which the Institute wants to use.... 

Far away in a small town in South Carolina, former cop Tim Jamieson has taken a job working for the local Sheriff. He's basically just walking the beat. But he's about to take on the biggest case of his career. 

Back in the Institute's downtrodden playground and corridors where posters advertise 'just another day in paradise', Luke, his friend Kalisha and the other kids are in no doubt that they are prisoners, not guests. And there is no hope of escape. 

But great events can turn on small hinges, and Luke is about to team up with a new, even younger recruit, Avery Dixon, whose ability to read minds is off the scale. While the Institute may want to harness their powers for covert ends, the combined intelligence of Luke and Avery is beyond anything that even those who run the experiments - even the infamous Mrs Sigsby - suspect.

Thrilling, suspenseful, heartbreaking, The Institute is a stunning novel of childhood betrayed and hope regained.

©2019 Stephen King (P)2019 Simon & Schuster Audio

What listeners say about The Institute

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    4 out of 5 stars

Narration was amazing!

Santino Fontana immediately immersed me in this incredible world. This story was a perfect mix of The Losers Club from It, and everything I wanted to know more about in Firestarter. The story started to lag towards the end, but this was an amazing journey. Characters were 10/10 as per usual for Mr King

6 people found this helpful

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Great Book

Loved this book, couldn't stop listening to it. Highly recommend. Narrator did a great job too.

5 people found this helpful

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awesome read

The institute is probably one of my favourite Stephen King books ever. so well put together and hard to put down. I listened to the audio book when ever I had a spare minute. excellent 6 stars if I could, and I've bought the paperback for my mother-in-law.

10 people found this helpful

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Not a bad book but also not King's best.

I enjoyed the story, although it lacked a bit of that thrill that other King books have. Mr. King remains my favourite author. The narration was a bit weird, doing the characters voices when it should have been just the narrator's voice.

2 people found this helpful

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  • ST
  • 13-09-2019

King's still got it!

I love this book. It's a good premise, tightly written and it's classic King. If you like his "psychic kids" books like The Shining, Dr Sleep or even It (I know that's different), then you'll probably dig this. I found his recent Bill Hodges Trilogy detective books a total snooze-fest. I don't know why he wrote so much in that world recently, it doesn't play to his strengths as a writer at all. I'm very glad he's back working on something he's good at with The Institute.

8 people found this helpful

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Great book... However,....

The book is great, right up to the last hour or so where the story just tails off. You expect great retribution against the powers that be, but no.. Just a very weak, insipid, almost apologetic finale. Disappointing.

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointing

This book should be in the teen category. I think Mr King was aiming at a very young audience with this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Easy to listen to. Great premise. Falls apart

I'm a fan of much of Stephen King's work. This book started great. I became quite excited at the setup and concept the book was taking on. I was, however, left feeling deflated when the story ended like a Scooby doo episode. Bad guys admit defeat, many raised questions left unanswered and suspension of disbelief impossible to stretch to such and extent.

1 person found this helpful

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Awesome, invigorating and thought provoking

from start to finish, I was lost in this prison world King created. absolutely fascinating

1 person found this helpful

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Awesome book and excellently read.

I loved this audio book. The narrator did justice with Stephen Kings work. I Highly recommend this as your next book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • EssieE
  • 23-08-2020

Stephen King Surprises Again

The Institute was suggested to by one of Team Audible's customer consultants. She was othe money. This one, I will listen to again. Different, smooth, gripping, and very funny, the book grows on you until you realise you found a gem.

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  • Haley
  • 17-07-2020

It's good but I feel like I've been here before...

Stephen King may have been the man who popularised and even pioneered the "psychic kid, government conspiracy" genera but ironically this book feels a bit unoriginal. don't get me wrong, the characters are great (the good ones particularly, I felt like the bad ones were not Kings best), the story is good and I wanted to know what happened. The problem was it just felt like it didn't bring much new to a well trodden trope. I wasn't surprised by anything, and despite the content which is frequently horrific I wasn't shocked. It's funny that the likes of stranger things, which owe so much to king feel fresh and original (or at least like an original take), but in this one it's a bit like Kings homage to King. May be a good first time King story, but when you've been reading the guy for a few decades it feel a bit like you've already heard this story.

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  • Stephen
  • 29-04-2020

Fantastic Novel

I loved this novel from start to finish! The characters are so amazingly substantial, and the story itself is remarkable. I would recommend this audiobook to anyone who (like me) has enjoyed King’s contemporary work.

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  • Mikkel Hansen
  • 16-02-2020

Great book

Absolutely loved this book and the narration was great. A really captivating story. Would highly recommend!

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  • Hussain Shishtari
  • 26-01-2020

Best recent Stephen King Novel

I was sucked in from the very beginning and couldn’t stop reading until the last line.

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  • Maj Johansen
  • 08-11-2019

Great naration, and of course .... excellent story

- The story is in best King style. Great characters, Life just bursts out of the fabric of life. One story starts it all, and another unfolds, in a completely different setting, and you can't wait, for the two stories to collide. Beautiful narration. -and of course ... Thank you again to Mr. King, truely one of the great storytellers of this time and age.

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  • Jaco
  • 20-10-2019

Not the same as the Stephen King I remember.

Seems that the dude has a serious with God lately, that alone is a deal breaker for me. This story just doesn't get going and I would probably not finish it.

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  • Belinda Knight
  • 07-10-2019

Another incredible novel by the master.

Loved this from cover to cover. Great performance and even though it is fiction it’s somehow believable. Talk about messing with your mind.

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  • Kirsty
  • 17-09-2019

Another winner from The Master!

excellent performance King at his best thought provoking difficult to switch off sad to come to the end

12 people found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 13-09-2019

Great things Turn on Small Hinges

Stephen King is a very clever author, he made his name with Blockbusters like IT featuring typical good vs supernatural evil, classic horror tales. Obviously he’s progressed since then but this one shakes things up a bit again. Not really a horror as supernatural gets a role reversal in a mysterious Institute that experiments on kids with special powers. The evil is in the human heart and is as awful in its way as anything King has conjured before. But is it that straightforward ? A question that stays to the end. The book starts slow maybe, but it’s also very strong with trademark King story-telling as we get a lengthy introduction to Tim Jamieson one of the key characters in the book. ‘Great things turn on small hinges.' Writes King as he documents the series of odd chances and decisions that guide Tim to a small East Coast town. This concept of great things being controlled by small hinges runs through the core of the book from the off and is absolutely key to how the characters respond right through to the explanations at the end. Foremost amongst these ‘small hinges’ are the children of course. Cannon fodder in a greater war they are reminiscent of the gang in IT, varied characters given quite some depth by the author. In some ways King didn’t seem to show quite the same empathy with the condition of being a child as in IT but these are not ordinary children so maybe that explains it. In fact Ben himself, the lead protagonist is something of a child genius so was always going to be a bit different. Handling the tough job of narrating all this is Santino Fontana, a new narrator to me personally. He does a fine job of giving the characters a multitude of voices and accents and I very much enjoyed listening to him. He did seem to have an odd habit of occasionally reading whole sections including the narrative and the dialogue in the relevant character’s voice. Whether this was a direction he received or his own initiative it seemed a little odd especially as the narrative described the character externally rather than it just being their thoughts. By the end of the Institute I once again felt like I had spent time with a master storyteller. All of the characters from the children through to the staff and doctors at the institute were given, depth, personality and a strong sense of identity. There is evil, there is friendship there is bravery and sacrifice as well as cowardice and duplicitousness. Most importantly there is a great story that kept me wanting more.

45 people found this helpful

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  • Jody
  • 13-09-2019

The master story writer at his very finest.

Utterly brilliant. Clear your schedule because you will not be able to stop listening. It’s as perfect as a book can get. The narrator is wonderful

15 people found this helpful

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  • Carol
  • 12-10-2019

Disappointing

I usually love Stephen King books, but this one just wasn’t for me. At first it was hard to get into but after the first few chapters it got better. The first half/two thirds it’s interesting enough to keep listening. The last half/third though is a slog. I just lost interest and it took so long to get through it as I wasn’t paying attention or I would fall asleep. When it finally ended I was left feeling disappointed and kinda like I wasted way too much of my time on it.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Richard Crawshaw
  • 15-09-2019

Fantastic: King at his best!

Loved it. King at his best. Laughed, cried and was horrified in equal measure. Great, thought provoking story, and a terrific performance by narrator.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Mary P
  • 10-09-2019

Pure addictive Stephen King

I have been listening to The Institute straight for 2 and a bit hours and I have had to turn it off for a while just to get some work done! Stephen has introduced some of the main characters so brilliantly I feel as if I could invite them over and chat about their lives. The story has just started to kick off (no spoilers) and I just want to sit and listen with no interruptions and no breaks. Up to now this is Stephen King at his addictive best.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Nate
  • 21-09-2020

Incredible

This book completely engulfed me for a week - I found myself taking any excuses to go walking or for a drive to have chance to listen to more (including a 5 hour hike in the Lake District). I’m a long time fan of the classic King books and was worried after hearing this was a departure but the horror is absolutely there... it’s more so the horror than every day humans have the capacity to commit. An extra note should go to the narrator who breathes such incredible life into every character and is completely believable in his portrayal of both the male and female cast (which I personally find rare). From a cruella d’ville esque, scathing and condescending Mrs Sigsby. To the menacing and authoritarian Stackhouse. I actually went and looked for this narrators other books after finishing this!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Smurphy
  • 18-09-2019

A fantastic story

I have never read or listened to a Stephen King novel before, but this book may turn me into a avid reader. Rather than being a far fetched horror story, the institute is a tale of the cruelty humans can display if they think it is for the greater good. The narration was fantastic, and the book was really brought to life with a smooth and easy to listen to voice. The story itself keeps you on the edge of your seat and engaged fully throughout. I would recommend this to most people. The only thing I would warn about, is the language may be offensive to some. It is not excessive, but what you would expect to hear in day to day conversations. Probably not a great idea to listen to in front of children! All in all, a fantastic story, narrated by a fantastic reader.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Lolli
  • 13-09-2019

Gripping

I loved it.. Kept me listening for 3 days! Brilliant narration Its a fascinating subject and every character was described in such depth that I saw them all as I listened

11 people found this helpful

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  • Ciara
  • 12-09-2019

Slow start but stick to it, classic King awaits

if your hoping for true king style of fast-paced character switches between chapters, as seen in king classics such as Mr Mercedes/the stand & the outsider - then this book will take you a little while longer to warm up to. The institute has 2 key storylines/characters but rather than jumper from one to the other like we are used to, king gives us a longer introduction to each. This isn't a put off at all, frankly the opposite. I've fallen in love with these characters in the same way that I did for Bill in the Mr. Mercedes trilogies - king has captured Tim and lewis in one book, in the same way, it took 3 books for Bill Hodges or 42 hours worth of reading in the stand. This book does have very strong stand by me vibes, mixed together with the otherworldly story of stranger things. another king classic

21 people found this helpful