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

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger 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.
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Publisher's Summary

In this first novel in his epic fantasy masterpiece, Stephen King introduces listeners 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 listeners eagerly awaiting the next chapter. And the Tower is closer.

©1982 Stephen King (P)2003 Penguin Audiobooks

What Members Say

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3.8 (143 )
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  •  
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 06-19-12
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 06-19-12 Member Since 2013

    When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Surrealistic Western that almost feels familiar"

    Have you ever wanted so badly to be part of a hype, just to discover that while others are going crazy about it, you are left out in the cold? The first book of the Dark Tower series makes me feel that way. I really want to be in on the joke, but I just can???t find the punch line.

    ???The Gunslinger??? is a story containing a mix western, fantasy, horror, blood and gore, fantasy and just plain weirdness. Roland of Gilead, the main character, is a sort of serious Cowboy Don Quixote on an obsessive quest, to catch the mysterious, possibly demonic, ???Man in Black.??? The story is set in a universe akin to ours with references very similar to ours, like ???the man Jesus??? and certain holy days. Yet it soon becomes clear that the story is not set in our world or in a typical wild western environment.

    At times it feels that the story cries against all logic. I found Roland to be someone quite difficult to identify with. The way he kills of the whole town of Tull, even his sex partner, Allie, as well as the awkward ???relationship??? that he had with a nine year old boy called Jake are bizarre. Do I understand Stephen King correctly; Roland???s love for the boy was more than just parental love? It is disturbing, to say the least.

    At the end of the book you do have an idea what a gunslinger is. You will have realised that Roland is the last gunslinger and that his obsession with catching the ???Man in Black??? against all costs, actually points the ethereal Dark Tower. The listener is left with more questions than after the book, than before.

    George Guidall???s interpretative reading was fair. I am not sure if it is Stephen King or Guidall???s way of reading that made me feel detached from the story. I found that I had to re-listen certain parts of the recording to try to understand the story, yet for most of the time I followed Guidall???s reading easily.

    Taking into account that this is the first book in ???The Dark Tower??? series, I shall also listen to the second book hoping I will discover the punch line and become part of the hype. But so far, I have mixed feelings about the book. I have learned that you could find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow if you persevere. This I hope is true in the case of ???The Dark Tower??? series.

    I am not sure who the proposed readership of the book is, which also makes it difficult to evaluate the content. I suspect that Stephen King has set the table sufficiently for more to come. It is with hesitation that I laud the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Garry Cannington, Australia 04-21-13
    Garry Cannington, Australia 04-21-13 Member Since 2014

    I work in IT, I love reading, I love Writing and for those daily travels too and fro I love to listen to Audible books too

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    "A Stephen King saga"
    Would you listen to The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger again? Why?

    No, not again.


    Any additional comments?

    I got into this as it was written by Stephen King, I found this hard to get into but will continue for the whole series for if anything, Stephen King will draw you in eventually, twist and turn you and spit you out with you knowing you have been through something. I have a high hope for the other books

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan New Zealand 09-24-12
    Bryan New Zealand 09-24-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Great start for a great tale"
    What did you like best about this story?

    The development of the character of Roland, from a mysterious unknown character into a man with a dark past, and a dark long journey to travel.


    What does George Guidall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Gravelly voice, just what you'd imagine a gunslinger to sound like.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Wild west meets the end of the world


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Megan 01-01-15
    Megan 01-01-15 Member Since 2014

    I am a voracious reader both print and audio. The best stories hold you from the opening paragraph and keep you wanting more.

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    "Another king journey book"

    I was surprised how good the Gunslinger story was. This initial book of the series sets up the story of The Dark Tower and it's significance for Roland our hero. As with other King novels the battle of good against evil emerges with a blurring of boundaries. The reader is able to recognise that not all good is "good". Positioned thus the reader then can choose to continue Roland's journey. I think I will continue with Roland and see what becomes of him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sivitrii 09-01-14
    Sivitrii 09-01-14 Member Since 2011
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    "The first step is the hardest"

    While this is a very involved, rewarding saga overall, this first book can be very difficult to get into. Based in a world not quite like our own, but with confusing tidbits which make it seem like the future, or perhaps the past, or perhaps an alternate dimension??? This book raises a great deal of questions and provides virtually no answers so unless you can stick with it for the entire 7 novels of the Dark Tower saga it won't seem worthwhile.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trausti Reykjavik, Iceland 06-12-13
    Trausti Reykjavik, Iceland 06-12-13 Member Since 2011
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    Story
    "For a 1st part in a series, this was underwhelming"

    But having read The Stand I'm going to give the rest a go.

    I have every faith in S. King as a master storyteller so I'm guessing this will pay off in the future. The story isn't all bad of course. In fact it's pretty good. Just not something you'll remember next week. If at all.

    But do not fret. There are 6 more. And if the reviews are anything to go by, this should get very interesting.

    A note on the performance.
    I doubt anyone could fit the story better than this narrator. I felt continually reminded of Johnny Cash singing the song, The Man Comes Around.

    I've seldom found a narrator and a story fit so well toghether.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liz 05-24-13
    Liz 05-24-13 Listener Since 2010
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    "Stick With It - Believe in Stephen King"

    I found the main character so dark and melancholy that I wondered how I could possibly read a series of seven books with him as the lead. The story was dismal with nothing more than trial and tribulation. I reserved my opinion of this first in the series until I had read the second book which I had purchased at the same time.

    The reason for my perseverance was my faith in the immense talent of Stephen King. If he calls this is magnum opus then I trust him to bring his usual storytelling brilliance to the fore. I am so glad I continued on the journey because things changed dramatically shortly after starting the second book and now the first book is making more sense.

    I recommend that if you find this first book an ordeal because of its misery and darkness stick with it - it will be worth it. Trust Stephen King to give you a experience to remember.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug in syd Sydney, Australia 02-22-13
    Doug in syd Sydney, Australia 02-22-13 Member Since 2011
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    "stick with it and be rewarded"

    As a king story i found the story and format a little hard to take at first, but then slowly i started to grasp Kings story however by the time i finished it i was a bit non plus by the whole thing and doubted i would continue with the other books in the series. That all change as i listened to the second instalment. All fell into place and i was so happy i had struggled through the first book. It becomes a fantastic story one of kings best. so if you find yourself saying" what the" half way through stick with it and you will be rewarded with a tale that will resonate long after the last page has been digested

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renee lake albert, Australia 02-20-13
    Renee lake albert, Australia 02-20-13
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    "not narrated well"
    What disappointed you about The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger?

    Story was confusing. The narration was so poor I could not finish listening. Very disappointed.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    orson scott card.books


    Would you be willing to try another one of George Guidall’s performances?

    no. never


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    boredom


    Any additional comments?

    nope

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy C. Berk Boston 09-03-12
    Jeremy C. Berk Boston 09-03-12 Member Since 2015

    Avid reader

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    45
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    "Great to start to a promising series"
    Where does The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    So far its one of the best Audiobooks I've listened to. Brilliantly narrated, great story. There were a couple of elements to the Dark Tower universe that I need to learn more about before ultimately deciding my true opinion but will have to read on first


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • A User
    7/8/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awesome"
    Where does The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is by far Steven kings greatest works or I should say it's the start of his greatest work, as the whole story is told over 7 books and it's my most favourite of stories


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jake,


    Have you listened to any of George Guidall’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    He has an amazing voice, that draws you into the story.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This story as a whole across the 7 books had me going through a roller coaster of emotions, but there was never a dull moment.


    Any additional comments?

    Make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy this master piece. As the entire story is over 133hrs long, but you'll enjoy every second of it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Adam
    5/8/14
    Overall
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    "Superb."
    What did you like most about The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger?

    Stephen King has an peerless ability to pull you straight into a story without you even noticing.


    Have you listened to any of George Guidall’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Yes. I love his narration - spare but full of depth and sense.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Edward
    ROTHESAY, United Kingdom
    3/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brings the story to life."

    This is the beginning of Stephen Kings epic work and within 5 minutes you will be rearranging your schedule to make time for all of the episodes. George Guidall has the range and control necessary to individualize the characters in an engaging and nearly mesmerizing way. A better narrator for this work would be very difficult to find. Get ready for a huge amount of entertainment as you work your way through the entire series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    St.Ives, United Kingdom
    1/14/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Nostalgic story with modern twist"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you enjoy old west stories with a late twentieth century twist then yes you will enjoy.


    What other book might you compare The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger to, and why?

    Great question.... I have not read any book even close to this type of story line.


    Which character – as performed by George Guidall – was your favourite?

    Roland.... George did a great job of putting you deep into the character.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No emotional reaction but did put deep into the story wanting to start the next book now!


    Any additional comments?

    In my opinion this is a must have for any collection!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mr
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    12/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stunning"
    What made the experience of listening to The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger the most enjoyable?

    I am relatively new to Kings books, I have really enjoyed the 4-5 of them that I have read and was told this was basically The Lord of the rings with a cowboy reminiscent of The man with no name series. What more could you want?


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Rolland. Hes a bad ass cowboy gunslinger who blasts away of sleeps with anyone of anything in his path. This opening novel to the Dark tower basically serves as a character introduction.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Rolland taking on an entire town of demented people, women and children all trying to take him down.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not really apart from 'wow that was pretty cool'. The book is incredibly brief and you wont grow to fall in love with any characters within a cook that you can listen to in 7 hours.


    Any additional comments?

    An amazing start to what looks like is going to be one hell of a ride.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    United Kingdom
    10/14/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointed"

    I read the book when it first came out and remembered enjoying it, upon listening these years later I found it formulaic and the protagonists two dimensional. I think it is one for King fan's but not up with his best work

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • joan
    washington, United Kingdom
    4/11/13
    Overall
    "you must get this book"

    I was gripped by the dark tower the gunslinger listened to it in 2 days.Very well narrated have already bought the next three books in the series.CANT WAIT

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Alan Campbell
    Isle of Arran, Scotland
    10/8/12
    Overall
    "Prologue"

    Has anyone read Stephen Donaldson's Gap series? That's what this reminds me of in that it is a short book that serves as a kind of appetiser for the series. I'm now on the second in the series and am finding it to be the same enjoyable fiction that I know the author for. The first book I felt was kind of wanting and I'd jump to a new podcast as soon as it was published rather than feel the usual 'hooked' feeling that I get with a Stephen King novel.



    I got into this after hearing it recommended heavily on the TWiT network and heard how so many of his other books are referenced in this series.



    The narration was just right for the story, although I did find my attention wandering at times and would have to go back sometimes as long as 20 minutes to try and grok what had just happened.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Sceptical Shopper
    UK
    7/6/12
    Overall
    "I like Stephen King but not this one"

    Oh dear. I was looking forward to part one of a good long series but although I like other Stephen Kings I found this to be adolescent drivel. I think it has a lot to do with the over dramatic, over articulated, and rushed delivery. I want the author's words beautifully read, not someone else's hyped-up interpretation. Just out of curiosity I may try part 2 as a print book so I can see if it is the reader who has ruined it for me.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Abigail
    Bedford, United Kingdom
    4/9/13
    Overall
    "Taster for the series"

    I am a massive King fan and although this does feel like a prologue, his brilliant story and plot weaving is, as usual, faultless. The climax is a wonderful mix of cliffhanger and existential poetry.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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