King's latest is an intriguing addition to a body of work that grows in stature as the decades pass.
This hits stores alongside Andrés Muschietti's big screen adaptation of King's IT: Chapter 2 (the first IT outing was the top grossing horror movie ever), though this dials down the usual King frights, replacing it with a cutting and timely look at authoritarianism. Although only referenced fleetingly Trump and his presidency is a constant presence.
The horror here is more a slow building sense of dread, while the final pages throw up an ethical dilemma straight out of Philosophy 101.
As usual for King it's another long, incredibly entertaining work (there's a reason he's been a best-seller forever) and, despite a sprinkling of the supernatural, this is a world we can all recognise.
The Institute's essentially a concentration camp for kids where they are subject to experiments that resemble those undertaken by the Nazis in WWII.
But the novel's opening strikes a lighter tone. We meet disgraced cop Tim Jamieson in Tampa who gives up his airline seat for quite a lot of cash and starts hitchhiking - a seemingly random thing but one that supports King's belief, articulated later in the book, that "great events turn on small hinges."
Jamieson ends up in a small, sleepy South Carolina town and gets a job as night patrolman.
It's an engrossing set-up but after 15 chapters we leave Jamieson and meet twelve year old Luke Ellis, a gifted kid with telekinetic powers who Institute goons kidnap in the middle of the night.
If the leap is jarring at first, we're soon caught up in the Luke's story which is where the book finds both its hero and moral heart.
King says this was written before the separating kids at the border storm occurred, but throughout he peppers his story with glimpses of America today - corporate malfeasance, the debt problem, the culture of distraction.
We do get back to South Carolina and Jamieson but the meat of this takes place inside The Institute where many of the staff are ex-FBI or military, desensitised in Iraq or Afghanistan, and lorded over by the anorexic Mrs Sigsby.
It's a place where stolen children are implanted with a device that tracks their every move and where, like a twisted Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory, there's wine coolers and cigarettes in the canteen and a token system which rewards compliant behaviour.
"I wanted to write a book like Tom Brown's School Days. But in hell," King told Rolling Stone recently - and at that he's succeeded - but what is most disturbing is how closely King's fiction mirrors past and present truths.

The Institute
Stephen King
(Hachette $37.99)