The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
In 1984, two masters of horror collaborated to bring us this novel. In it, young Jack Sawyer goes on a magical quest to save his dying mother by obtaining the powerful Talisman. An evil sorcerer also desires the Talisman and attempts to thwart him at every turn. Jack’s path crosses America from the Atlantic to the Pacific and traverses not only our mundane world (He visits a fictional boarding school here in Springfield!), but also crosses into a parallel fantasy realm called the Territories. Not all of the monsters in this book have fangs and claws; some are very much human, and it is often difficult to determine which world is the most dangerous. Jack’s journey is harrowing and heroic by turns as he gains and loses (sometimes quite heartbreakingly) allies and enemies along his path.
King fans will see shades of the Dark Tower series in this novel. And, though it certainly has many horrific elements, it should also appeal to fantasy readers, as Jack’s journey is indeed a hero’s quest.
King and Straub teamed up again in 2001 to write a sequel, Black House, which features Jack as an adult, tracking a serial killer and battling evil once again.