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The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) by…

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) (edition 2003)

by Stephen King

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,706282153 (3.88)1 / 253
Title:The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1)
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Plume (2003), Edition: Revised, Paperback, 264 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

  1. 61
    The Dark Tower, Books 1-3: The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, and The Waste Lands by Stephen King (Valjeanne)
    Valjeanne: While The Gunslinger Book 1 is not one of my favorite books by Stephen King, one should read it to provide the backdrop to the sequels. The Drawing of the Three (especially) and The Waste Lands are much more engaging and two of King's most brilliant novels.… (more)
  2. 41
    Insomnia by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: Insomnia introduces the Crimson King, the big baddie from The Dark Tower series.
  3. 20
    Wolf in Shadow by David Gemmell (qofd)
  4. 10
    The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree (The Outlaw King) by S. A. Hunt (emren)
    emren: Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree is a love letter to the Dark Tower series. Now read the original!
  5. 10
    A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files (Anonymous user)
  6. 12
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (Scottneumann)

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This is from my BOTM series, it is a second reading for me. It was just as good as I remembered. This is a fantasy novel meets the old west. The main character Roland, is a “gunslinger” i.e. knight of his society. The world has moved on, or is dying, it is full of mutants and empty landscapes. I love the scenery, the old west and end of the world colliding. Images of Mad Max fill my mind, but more Clint Eastwoody from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. The one town we encounter is a essentially a boarder town, that reminded me of Lonesome Dove, right down to the Saloon and piano player. Don’t get me wrong, this is not like any other King series, there is no real jumpy parts, even when the mutants attack, it isn’t King’s normal scary stuff. This is a nice quick read with limited main characters, Roland, Jake (enters half-way through) and the Dark Man. After some of the more complicated storylines having just a few main characters to focus on was a really nice reprieve for my brain. King does a great job setting up the series, he gives tid-bits of Roland’s past and the back story and the mission, without really telling us anything and making us want to read more. This is a great start of the series.
For additional reviews please see my blog at www.adventuresofabibliophile.blogspot.com
  Serinde24 | Sep 27, 2015 |
“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

The mysterious opening sentence of the Stephen King’s “The Gunslinger” draws you in and sets the tone for the rest of the book. Inspired by Robert Browning’s poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”, King weaves a masterful and epic tale. Something far more akin to mystical poetry of Browning than his other well-known works.

The story centers around Roland of Gilead. We learn bits and pieces about Roland and the world via flashbacks within the story. Roland is a gunslinger, a sort of knight with six shooters instead of sword. The character definitely invokes the spirit of Clint Eastwood in style and tone. The world Roland knew was filled with light and happiness, but as the author tells us, the world has “moved on.” There are hints of a once advanced society scattered though out the landscape. Things like gas pumps, train terminals, and electric lights exist, but the present is not not unlike the romanticized American wild west.

Roland is chasing after a black-cowled, mysterious, and powerful magician whom he refers to as “the man in black.” While the man in black’s origins and relationship to the gunslinger are unclear, Roland knows he has important information about “The Dark Tower.” The Dark Town is Roland’s real goal and seems to be some sort of mystical power nexus between worlds. It’s unknown just how long the chase has been going on, but Roland is gaining ground.

As the chase ensues it becomes clear just how much the gunslinger is willing to sacrifice to reach his goal.

I highly recommend this book. I had forgotten just how enjoyable Stephen King’s writing is and this story was particularly wonderful. The mythic and metaphorical elements of the story make it feel epic, compelling, and universal. The mysterious gaps and unexplained elements keep you turning pages. I’m generally not excited about stories that take multiple books to tell. This series clocks in a seven books and I was a bit hesitant, but after making it through the Gunslinger I can’t wait to get to the next installment.
  erlenmeyer316 | Sep 21, 2015 |
Very dark - High Plains Drifter & Altered States thrown into a wood chipper. ( )
  LJMax | Aug 21, 2015 |
i felt a little guilty reading this, but what is life without guilty pleasures? ( )
  mkclane | Jul 31, 2015 |
Great world building and atmosphere. Definitely different than anything I've read before. It felt very scattered, like King didn't really have any idea what the next paragraph would hold. I'm sure that probably made it a blast to write, but it could've been better if it weren't so disjointed.

The dialogue between characters is Star Wars Episode II bad, unfortunately. I really enjoyed the world building though, which makes me think that the series may be worth continuing. ( )
  heradas | May 31, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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...a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a leaf, a stone, a door. And of all the forgotten faces.
Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb, we did not know our mother's face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth.
Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father's heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?

...O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.
--Thomas Wolfe Look Homeward, Angel
To Ed Ferman, who took a chance on these stories, one by one.
First words
The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The story centers upon Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger who has been chasing after his adversary, "the man in black", for many years. The novel follows Roland's trek through a vast desert and beyond in search of the man in black. Roland meets several people along his journey, including a boy named Jake Chambers who travels with him part of the way.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0452284694, Paperback)

Thirty-three years, a horrific and life-altering accident, and thousands of desperately rabid fans in the making, Stephen King's quest to complete his magnum opus rivals the quest of Roland and his band of gunslingers who inhabit the Dark Tower series. Loyal DT fans and new readers alike will appreciate this revised edition of The Gunslinger, which breathes new life into Roland of Gilead, and offers readers a "clearer start and slightly easier entry into Roland's world."

King writes both a new introduction and foreword to this revised edition, and the ever-patient, ever-loyal "constant reader" is rewarded with secrets to the series's inception. That a "magic" ream of green paper and a Robert Browning poem, came together to reveal to King his "ka" is no real surprise (this is King after all), but who would have thought that the squinty-eyed trio of Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach would set the author on his true path to the Tower? While King credits Tolkien for inspiring the "quest and magic" that pervades the series, it was Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly that helped create the epic proportions and "almost absurdly majestic western backdrop" of Roland's world.

To King, The Gunslinger demanded revision because once the series was complete it became obvious that "the beginning was out of sync with the ending." While the revision adds only 35 pages, Dark Tower purists will notice the changes to Allie's fate and Roland's interaction with Cort, Jake, and the Man in Black--all stellar scenes that will reignite the hunger for the rest of the series. Newcomers will appreciate the details and insight into Roland's life. The revised Roland of Gilead (nee Deschain) is embodied with more humanity--he loves, he pities, he regrets. What DT fans might miss is the same ambiguity and mystery of the original that gave the original its pulpy underground feel (back when King himself awaited word from Roland's world). --Daphne Durham

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:42 -0400)

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First portion of an epic story of a fantastic world of good versus evil in which the hero, The Gunslinger, pursues The Man in Black.

(summary from another edition)

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