From Publishers Weekly
A pilgrimage that began with one lone man's quest to save multiple worlds from chaos and destruction unfolds into a tale of epic proportions. While King saw some criticism for the slow pace of 1982's The Gunslinger
, the book that launched this series, The Drawing of the Three
(Book II, 1987), reeled in readers with its fantastical allure. And those who have faithfully journeyed alongside Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy ever since will find their loyalty toward the series' creator richly rewarded.The tangled web of the tower's multiple worlds has manifested itself in many of King's other works— The Stand
(1994) and Hearts in Atlantis
(1999), to name a few. As one character explains here, "From the spring of 1970, when he typed the line The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed
... very few of the things Stephen King wrote were 'just stories.' He may not believe that; we do." King, in fact, intertwines his own life story deeper and deeper into the tale of Roland and his surrogate family of gunslingers, and, in this final installment, playfully and seductively suggests that it might not be the author who drives the story, but rather the fictional characters that control the author.This philosophical exploration of free will and destiny may surprise those who have viewed King as a prolific pop-fiction dispenser. But a closer look at the brilliant complexity of his Dark Tower world should explain why this bestselling author has finally been recognized for his contribution to the contemporary literary canon. With the conclusion of this tale, ostensibly the last published work of his career, King has certainly reached the top of his game. And as for who or what resides at the top of the tower... The many readers dying to know will have to start at the beginning and work their way up. 12 color illus. by Michael Whelan.
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The end of King's quantitative magnum opus, the Dark Tower, some 34 years in the making and god knows how many thousands of pages long, begins where Song of Susannah
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left off. Boy gunslingers Jake and Pere Callahan (once upon a time, the priest of 'Salem's Lot
) are entering the Dixie Pig Cafe in Manhattan, in whose backrooms the heir of two fathers--the evil Crimson King, lord of the Dark Tower, and the saga's hero, the gunslinger Roland Deschain--is aborning. Chief gunslinger Roland and Eddie Dean, whose fellow gunslinger and wife, Susannah, is bearing the horrid child in tandem with the formerly immortal Mia (two dads require two moms, though the moms are merged, the dads poles apart), are speeding to the rescue from Maine. Neither birth nor rescue is short-circuited, but abandon all hope that either develops straightforwardly. The tower is ever so digressively approached, and many die in the process. It would be unforgivable to leak just who in Roland's ka-tet--
he, Eddie and Susannah, Jake, and the billybumbler Oy--achieves the tower with him, but saying that the tower is achieved gives nothing essential away. Despite plenty of action and quite a few unforeseen bombshells, this massive conclusion may strike some as drawn out. King leans on his talent for covering 30 seconds of action in, say, 30 pages, rather too often. But what the vast, allusive (to several other King books and plenty of others) tale is all about is more teasingly evident than ever before: it's a fable, possibly theological, of creativity--among, indubitably, other things. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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