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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

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Neal 10-17-03
    Neal 10-17-03 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrific, I love the whole series"

    Stephen King's series about the Dark Tower is epic. It has spanned decades between release of this first book and the most recent which comes out Nov. 4th. This is a slightly expanded version of the original and I believe makes it a much more stand alone book. This series is far and away my favorite of King's work. The character Roland is very powerful. I am sure if you get this book you will be drawn to the rest in the series, which audible has recently added along with "Wolves of the Calla" which is coming soon. The sheer scope and volume of the completed works even so far are awesome, each book leaves you knowing more about Roland and his "ka-tet" but wanting to know even more. I highly recommend this book and the rest of the series. I sincerely hope that Audible plans to add the final two volumes as they come out next year.

    28 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dawn Meridian, ID, USA 07-15-04
    Dawn Meridian, ID, USA 07-15-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    20
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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'.

    32 of 41 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 02-05-15
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 02-05-15 Member Since 2015

    I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "TOBACCO DANDRUFF"

    IS HE A BAD MAN?
    If you look up my description of myself, you will see that I list King second on my list of favorite authors. I read this years ago, but did not get it. In several conversations lately when I mention I am a King fan, The Dark Tower Series is always brought up. Hoping maybe I was in some kind of funky mood when I read it the first time, I gave it another shot. King mentioned in an interview some years ago, that he did not know where this series would lead. That is the feeling I get when I listen to it, that it is going nowhere. The lack of structure is just something I have problems with. I could not make myself enjoy this.
    I GUESS THAT DEPENDS ON WHERE YOUR STANDING.

    Guidall is the father of narrators and he does a great job. If it was not for his talent, recorded books, may have taken longer to become popular.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lillian 11-18-11
    Lillian 11-18-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great choice of reader"

    I read this years ago, and was immediately drawn in by the atmosphere. While it's true there isn't a lot of story, the mood and characters are so interesting you don't really notice. I love Guidall, he makes everything sound like a western. In fact, his voice is reassuring, sort of hints that everything will be OK in the end, and when you're aware of this and know King, it ratchets up the suspense in a weird way. You can ride along with the story knowing there will be some rough patches but in the end it wil be a satisfying trip. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MysticTrunks01 12-30-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Title for my review"

    The world of the Dark Tower is every bit as vast as LOTR or Star Wars or any other Sci-Fi/Fantasy I have read.

    It is not so easy as a turn off your brain and read series. Some of it is crude, but that's King's style for you, and it works.

    The character of the Gunslinger is one of the most amazing hero/anti-hero characters I've known. He kicks butt, he's gruff, he's got a kindness but he can be as hard as steel. his single minded quest for the Dark Tower make him interesting.

    Perhaps the series is not for everyone. Some people don't like anything no matter what is said. Either they don't get it, or it's not their taste.

    Those that read Gunslinger need to remember it was written by King before his first book Carrie was big. The rest of the series is written more recently. Give them a try. I listen to them over and over.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Reinholdt Mason City, Iowa 07-31-07
    Gary Reinholdt Mason City, Iowa 07-31-07 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Kristi Houston, TX, USA 03-07-04
    Kristi Houston, TX, USA 03-07-04 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Series excellent, this book ok"

    I found this book to be difficult to get through. The plot seemed slow and I just kept waiting for SOMETHING to happen (I wasn't sure what). But the reader is excellent, and that helped me to keep on listening. I AM SO GLAD I DID! By the end of this book, I still wasn't overly impressed, but I liked it well enough to give the second in the series a try. I have LOVED all of the rest of the books! I don't think you can skip this book and still appreciate the others, so I think this book is a worthy investment for many, many hours of great listening from the rest of the series.

    One last note, I want to mention again that the reader (George Guidall) is EXCELLENT. I have listened to many books read by Guidall, and as always, the narration was wonderful.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Michael Elmore 11-25-03 Member Since 2015
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    "Sentimental Review (sob)"

    Ahhh...yes, THE GUNSLINGER. What fond old memories I have of this novel (and of its far superior sequel, THE DRAWING OF THE THREE). I still recall how much fun reading these books was for me. Of course, that was some time ago, near the end of my SK phase. Would the books still satisfy? With a strong portion of sentimental fervor, I decided to find out. I therefore downloaded THE GUNSLINGER with some degree of warm fuzziness already accumulated in my subconscious literary lint trap; I imagined that rereading it would be just like visiting an old friend.

    And it was sort of like that.

    Sort of.

    But, really, it was more like revisiting grade school. Everything that had once seemed grand and important could not be taken seriously now. I read somewhere that King wrote this book while he was in college. That sounds about right. As I recall, I was about that age when I read it. So it makes sense that I would have enjoyed it then -- just as I used to enjoy riding my Big Wheel when I was five but wouldn't enjoy...hmmm. Never mind. I would probably still enjoy riding my Big Wheel, that is if I could still fit behind the tassel-adorned handlebars. But anyway...sadly, like the world in which the Gunslinger dwells, I, too, have moved on.

    But, ah, the memories...

    Oh I guess it was not an entirely bad experience revisiting THE GUNSLINGER. At first everything was fine. A gravely voiced narrator was there to greet me warmly. No problems there. I seem to remember his gravely gravely-ness from THE GREEN MILE. And so, smiling, I settled in for a listen and was immediately impressed by how oddly exciting it was hearing Sir Gravely utter that wonderful first line of the novel. How does it go again? Come on; say it with me:

    "The Man in Black fled across the desert. And the Gunslinger followed."

    Soon after, however, my excitement faded, as did most of my enthusiasm for following along with The Gunslinger on his long, weird, fanciful quest after The Man in Black.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
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