I finally finished Under the Dome by Stephen King. I read it on my Kindle so I wouldn't have to hold a heavy hardcover book. This is a very long book in the tradition of The Stand, and well worth reading. It has a large cast of characters, and explores the depths of evil in a small town in Maine.
The plot--this is the short version--centers on a small community in Maine that finds itself suddenly encased in a huge dome. Several people discover the dome in a most unfortunate way. Some crash into it in their vehicles. A pilot and his student fly into the dome in their small plane and are killed. Hundreds of birds die when they fly into the dome. The dome (the edges are invisible at first) turns out to extend more than 100 feet below ground and as high as about 40,000 feet.
The main 'bad guy' in the book is the town's second selectman who has been building a power base for years, and sees the dome as an opportunity to consolidate his power without any influence from the outside. He is opposed by the owner of the local paper, a cook (an Iraq veteran) at the only restaurant in town, a physician's assistant at the local hospital, and a few other good people.
The second selectman appears to have modeled himself after such notable historical figures as Hitler and Stalin. He is dumb like a fox, and hides behind his fundamentalist religious beliefs. He continues a long trend in human history that finds individuals and groups using God to justify greed, murder and lust for power.
The terror instigated by the second selectman escalates throughout the book. It begins with adding more police (thugs), starting a riot at the local food market, murdering several individuals who get in his way, and burning down the local newspaper. This guy is a real piece of work. Throw in the government trying to get rid of the dome, offshore bank accounts, a huge meth lab, a church with way too much money, and you have a mix that takes you on a roller coaster ride to an amazing finish.
Steven King is very good at showing us the dark side of human nature, and this book is no exception. In fact, I think it is one of his best in this genre. The ending is typical Stephen King with a light at the end of the tunnel. I won't say any more. Read the book to find out what happens to the people in the town trapped under the dome.