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The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I | [Stephen King]

The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I

Eerie, dreamlike, set in a world that is weirdly related to our own, The Gunslinger introduces Roland Deschain of Gilead, of In-World that was, as he pursues his enigmatic antagonist to the mountains that separate the desert from the Western Sea in the first volume of The Dark Tower series. Roland, the last gunslinger, is a solitary figure, perhaps accursed, who with a strange single-mindedness traverses an exhausted, almost timeless landscape of good and evil.
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Publisher's Summary

Eerie, dreamlike, set in a world that is weirdly related to our own, The Gunslinger introduces Roland Deschain of Gilead, of In-World that was, as he pursues his enigmatic antagonist to the mountains that separate the desert from the Western Sea in the first volume of The Dark Tower series. Roland, the last gunslinger, is a solitary figure, perhaps accursed, who with a strange single-mindedness traverses an exhausted, almost timeless landscape of good and evil. The people he encounters are left behind, or worse, left dead. At a way station, however, he meets Jake, a boy from a particular time (1977) and a particular place (New York City), and soon the two are joined, khef, ka, and ka-tet. The mountains lie before them. So does the man in black and, somewhere far beyond...the Dark Tower.

Set in a world of extraordinary circumstances, filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters, The Dark Tower series is unlike anything you've ever heard. Here is Stephen King's most visionary piece of storytelling, a magical mix of fantasy and horror that may well be his crowning achievement. Don't miss the other volumes of Stephen King's The Dark Tower.

©1982 and 2003 Stephen King; (P)2003 Penguin Audiobooks and Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"Brilliant, fresh, and compelling...will leave you panting for more." (Booklist)
"An impressive work of mythic magnitude. May turn out to be Stephen King's greatest literary achievement." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Amazon Customer RIDLEY PARK, PA, United States 10-23-03
    Amazon Customer RIDLEY PARK, PA, United States 10-23-03 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Dark Tower Review - Part One"

    Ah, <B><U>The Dark Tower</U></B>, finally available from audible.com. Being lucky enough to have been listening to <B><U>The Dark Tower</U></B> since 1988 when the original NAL Penguin audio version of <U>The Gunslinger</U> was released, unabridged and read by the author on 4 cassette tapes, I have been in its grip for about 15 years now. I have been happy there and one of the very many "constant readers" frustrated by the fact that it has been so long in coming.

    <B><U>The Dark Tower</U></B>, which a young Stephen King began writing in 1970, will finally conclude in November 2004 with the publication of the 7th and final volume, <U>The Dark Tower</U>. When it is complete, it will be the measure of the career of one of the finest authors in history. It will include not only all of its own strange and wonderful landscapes, but also reveal the author's humanity through its imperfection and his genius, especially with in how he manages to interweave, to a greater or lesser degree, almost every other story he has ever written!

    <U>The Gunslinger</U>, both the original version and the version wholly rewritten by King for the June 2003 re-publication, is the first book in the series but really is a "way station" smack in the middle of the road to the Dark Tower. Short and brutal, <U>The Gunslinger</U> introduces us to Roland of Gilead, the last in a line of knights sworn to protect a realm of lawfulness and light. He is on a quest to put right a wrong that not only has destroyed his world, but threatens all worlds. We get glimpses of a past that is orderly and beautiful, if still post-apocalyptic and still "moving on."

    Borrowing heavily on other sources for inspiration: Robert Browning's poem <U>Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came</U>, T.S. Elliott's <U>The Waste Lands</U>, and Clifford D. Simak's <U>Ring Around the Sun</U>, <B><U>The Dark Tower</U></B> is <I>the</I> epic tale of the 21st century.

    Review continues with <U>The Drawing of the Three</U>...

    108 of 133 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles USA 07-13-15
    Charles USA 07-13-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Roland of Gilead"

    This book is the opening salvo of the series I consider to be the best of any I have read. I waited a couple of years to let my brain fully absorb and digest the saga in totality- no small feat given the very nature of the series. I will begin with a warning: The Dark Tower will change how you view many aspects of the world, along with elevate your expectations of other works.

    After that paragraph, I'm sitting here staring at the screen not sure how to encapsulate the book without giving spoilers or a simple plot summary. It is further *insanely* difficult to write a review without the long term series ending in mind. I have endless things I want to say, but can't without the reader knowing where it all ends, without spoiling the surprise. And that is something I cannot do for it would render the saga pointless. With that in mind, forgive my brevity in the following paragraphs.

    It is an atmospheric intro to the world of Roland of Gilead. Over the course of the book, set extensively in what feels like an old west wasteland, the listener is immediately drawn into the story. Roland is a cloaked and stoic character, a gunslinger with hand cannons. The first book tracks his journey through this wasteland.

    The story is filled with magic and mysticism. Broad horizons that expand the potentials of story telling. Flashbacks are used to flesh out characters. In the end, we are left with more questions than answers (which is a theme throughout the series). But, most importantly, we are introduced to Roland's quest for the Dark Tower. We see what he will do to achieve his goal.

    Highest marks and worth the read. But remember, it is addicting and you are signing up for nearly 100 hours of listening over the whole series. It is worth it, I promise.

    14 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Apex, NC, United States 03-17-04
    Karen Apex, NC, United States 03-17-04 Member Since 2001

    I write my reviews under my wife Karen's account. Retired USN Russian linguist/analyst; actor; director; producer. Biography & History focus

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not a King fan...BUT"

    This saga is astounding, compelling, moving and fun! Though the story drifts into occasional tedium, and what King story doesn't, the quest for the rider in black draws you in with its clever interplay of similar (though markedly different) worlds, well-drawn characters and King's ability to spring the unexpected on the reader in an acceptable manner. I have listened to all the volumes and rate this one the best and can't wait for the next installment due soon. The narration is masterful. Don't miss this one! I rate this 5 stars (only the third I have given in over 200 Audible titles).

    23 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Boise, Indonesia 10-07-03
    Joshua Boise, Indonesia 10-07-03 Member Since 2001
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    "Amazing...."

    Subtle but great improvements on (what I concider) his greatest story. I have the audio and paper version of the previous version and have loved and abused them for years. This new version ties in more of the full story and leaves you yearning for more,... more than ever. A great book, well read, simply the best.

    43 of 55 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 08-03-12
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 08-03-12 Member Since 2009

    caffeinated

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    "Got through it."

    I'm reading the second book in the series as I write the review of the first. The second is so much more enjoyable and accessible. So I'm glad I slogged through the first one, which sets the scene and explains the back story. Sometimes you have to take your medicine to make progress. That's how this book felt. I probably could have started with book two, but my brain does not work that way. So I'm glad I read The Gunslinger, even if I found it painfully difficult to get through.

    31 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jimmy Willow Springs, MO, USA 12-15-03
    Jimmy Willow Springs, MO, USA 12-15-03
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    "A Good First Book"

    I was never a fan of Stephen King's first book in the Dark Tower series; in fact, I stopped reading the book twice before finally pushing through to the end. Every book since has been great. This revised and expanded edition helps tie the first book to the rest of the books in series and is not as choppy as before. George Guidall is a good reader, but I would have preferred a "younger" voice for Roland; still, it's definately worth listening to.

    18 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn Meridian, ID, USA 07-15-04
    Dawn Meridian, ID, USA 07-15-04
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    "Great Series- Horrible book"

    The Dark Tower Series is one of the best I have ever read. Unfortunately, you have to read this book in order to get the background information for the rest of the series. The first half of the book is fast and confusing. (I always go over something a second time if I don't understand it the first time. Don't bother, it is not important in the rest of the book/series.) You don't really understand what happens until the end when everything is tied together. The second half of the book goes slower and gives more explanation as to who Roland is, and why he acts as he does. (You finally understand him in book 4, 'Wizard and Glass') Basically, Roland is in a world that is parallel to ours. It seems like he is in the days of Billy The Kid, but then he talks of music playing on a juke box. (I'm not giving away anything significant, just something that throws the reader off) So it is hard to place him in a specific time frame. This is something that is important to me (I have no idea why) and I was frustrated by it.

    In the very end of it all, I really didn't like the book and considered not finishing the series. I had already downloaded the rest of the books on a recomendation of a friend, so I picked up the next one. It was worth reading this first one so that I could enjoy the rest of the series.

    So my recomendation is this:
    Download the book and spend the few hours listening to it. It may not make sense in the beginning, but wraps up well in the end. It will be worth it all when you read the next book, 'The Drawing of the Three'.

    33 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Reinholdt Mason City, Iowa 07-31-07
    Gary Reinholdt Mason City, Iowa 07-31-07 Listener Since 2006
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    "Way to Good"

    One thing that I have noticed after reading all of the reviews that are posted on this site boils down to the same thing. 1 Yes this is a long series after al it is a work of love. 2. As the series progresses you learn to know and love the characters. 3 you need a brain to understand the path of the beam and relate it to history, ( using metaphors) 4 This series is not for the “Brain Dead Drones” I have read the entire series and now have it on audio and I come back to it time after time.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl Abrahamson 09-28-05 Member Since 2012
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    "Hooked"

    The Gunslinger series is responsible for getting me hooked on Audio Books and Audible. This first volume took some time to catch on, but I've listened to it several times now and always enjoy it just a little more than the last. Be warned... I couldn't hold out for my regular scheduled monthly downloads and needed to buy a couple of the books in the series before I planned to. Most addictive.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Upton, MA, USA 09-22-05
    James Upton, MA, USA 09-22-05 Member Since 2005
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    "The Best is Yet to Come"

    This is the first of the Dark Tower series of stories, but it was written by King in the early 1970's. He had yet to acquire his incredible visionary writing style that he is most known for, so this story, however amazing, is not his best work. However, the Dark Tower series absolutely is his best! So in order to read the remaining stories and understand everything about them, The Gunslinger is a must read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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