Friday, 10 May 2013



In this first novel in his epic fantasy masterpiece, Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey into good and evil, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our own.

In his first step towards the powerful and mysterious Dark Tower, Roland encounters an alluring woman named Alice, begins a friendship with Jake, a kid from New York, and faces an agonising choice between damnation and salvation as he pursues the Man in Black.

Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, THE GUNSLINGER leaves readers eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

And the Tower is closer...

Well, I’m tracking my 18 year old son’s reads as well as my wife’s and this was one of the books he devoured recently. I have read the original probably 30–odd years ago when Mr King was top of the tree as far as my teenage self was concerned.

Picking up the new and improved version, as apparently King updated it in the intervening period, wasn’t a particularly pleasurable trip down memory lane, one filled with nostalgia and a yearning to instantly re-read about possessed cars, rabid dogs or scary clowns appearing out of road-side drains.

I enjoyed the tale, as far as it went. Book 1 of 7, isn’t going to finish with a neat resolution or conclusion. I was re-introduced to Roland the Gunslinger and found out about his apprenticeship and passage into manhood. We joined with him in his pursuit of the elusive man in black (not Johnny Cash, apparently) and along the way we killed a few people, ok a lot of people. This particular part of the journey or quest ends at the sea, with a link in to the second book in this 7 or 8 books series.

King who could probably write his shopping list and have a host of people queuing up to buy and read it, is very skilled at crafting a story and making you want to turn the page to read more about a character that you are growing to care about......usually.

I haven’t yet reached that stage with Roland and I’m not having sleepless nights, anxious to read the next thrilling instalment.

My son has a couple more of the books in the series, if he opens one up sometime soon I’ll get to this after him no doubt. I reckon I may have read the second book in my earlier life as a slimmer, leaner, fitter, brown-haired, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young man anyway. He has commented that the next couple are somewhat longer in length than this volume. King has a tendency to use 50 words on occasions where 1 or 2 would do, so I ‘m not pushing him to crack the spine just yet.

FYI – I have just checked paperback length on volumes 2 to 7 plus the last published book, which sits between books 4 and 5. They are as follows; 406, 624, 896, 816, 480, 736 and a rather paltry 384 pages long.

Overall, 3 stars from 5.

I borrowed this one from my son, and I’m unsure where he picked it up from.    


  1. Col - I have to respect King for writing in more than one genre. I'm not sure I could do that.

    1. Margot, he is definitely a writer, maybe my tastes over the years have evolved away from his books?

    2. oops.... meant to say a great writer,

  2. I read one book by Stephen King many years ago -- The Shining. I agree that he writes really well but his subject matter isn't usually what I want to read. And his books are usually very long. This one actually sounds like a possibility for me someday, but not any time soon.

  3. Tracy, I think you should read IT! That one is about 1000+ pages, right up your street!

    1. That is definitely too scary for me. If I was going to read a book that long, I would read Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. I am considering reading Fall of Giants by Ken Follett which is almost 1000 pages. But not any time soon.

  4. Tracy, thanks a lot!
    Just googled Cryptonomicon, and now I've got a 900+ page book on my wishlist! I'm hoping to read Follett's Eye of the Needle any year now....less than 300 pages long. Easier for bedtime reading!