This is one of the longest books I've ever read.
It's a marathon of reading but each part stands on its own merits. In the beginning, we're treated to the introduction of the cast of characters. Stu, Frannie, Larry, Tom and Nick, and the bad guys, Lloyd, Trash Can Man, even the Walkin' Dude. Then the superflu works its way through, and the scattered remnants of American society come together in two camps, the good guys and the bad guys. The showdown is really good, though the outcome is never really in doubt.
What knocked me on my butt was the denouement, where it is revealed that mankind is going right back to its roots, and even the good guys are headed down the same path that landed humanity in the pickle it's in now.
Stephen King's characters are always engaging, in every story I've read. This story is no exception. The way that Larry's relationship with Nadine is written is amazing. The agony of Harold's betrayal of the Boulder folks is harsh and comes across as real. There is too much good in this book to write about it all but as with all Stephen King, even the happy-ever-after is not happy ever after. How could it be, when mankind is still what it is?