‘The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.’ The iconic opening line of Stephen King’s groundbreaking series, The Dark Tower, introduces one of his most enigmatic and powerful heroes: Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger.
Roland is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey toward the mysterious Dark Tower, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our own.
On his quest, Roland begins a friendship with a kid from New York named Jake, encounters an alluring woman and faces an agonising choice between damnation and salvation as he pursues the Man in Black.
A huge thanks to you, my readers, for choosing this in my first ever TBR Topple for June. I had actually read this before back in the 90’s when I was a just a teenager, I think I was about 15 when I first read this series, well the first four books. I never did finish the series and I promised myself I would re-read the first books before finishing up. I’ve been promising myself this for some time so you have definitely helped kick start things.
In The Gunslinger we meet Roland, a lone ranger of sorts who is pursuing The Man In Black, a mysterious man who seems to be leaving a trail of devastation and confusion in his wake. Roland is the last Gunslinger and is obsessed with his task.
As we follow him across the desert we join him meeting an eclectic cast of characters, most who end up dead in weird and wonderful ways. His relationship with the young boy Jake which is pivotal to his pursuit of The Man In Black is deeply moving and despite Jake being so young he holds his own as a strong and capable character.
There are tie-ins with biblical lore and the obvious tie-in with the wild west. Yet this is a world which feels completely set apart from ours, somewhere harsher and more deeply ensconced in a brutal reality of getting by with the bare minimum. It is almost dystopian in it’s formation but still very firmly a fantasy novel. The magic we see in this novel isn’t the magic of the fae or wizards it is something darker more corrupt and far more dangerous than we usually are confronted with.
This is a short book, and very much feels like an introduction, just as things start to feel like they are getting going the book ends. In most fantasy novels this would have been just where things were kicking off but here was where this book ended, meaning the pleasure of settling in for an epic journey didn’t get going for me.
Roll on book two and the story continuing!
Book & Buy Links
Title: The Gunslinger
Series: The Dark Tower #1
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 10 June 1982
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: eBook | Audio
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstone’s | Foyles | Book Depository | Speedy Hen | Wordery