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

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

by Stephen King

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12,888257177 (3.9)1 / 231
Title:The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1)
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Plume (2003), Edition: Revised, Paperback, 264 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:12, audio, fantasy

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. 30
    Wolf in Shadow by David Gemmell (qofd)
  3. 41
    Insomnia by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: Insomnia introduces the Crimson King, the big baddie from The Dark Tower series.
  4. 20
    A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files (Anonymous user)
  5. 31
    Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: There are thematic connections between the first story of Hearts in Atlantis and The Dark Tower series.
  6. 12
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (Scottneumann)

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Showing 1-5 of 235 (next | show all)
This was a very interesting book.

I want to state from the beginning, however, that this is in no way a stand-alone book. Don't start it unless you want to read the whole series because nothing at all is really resolved; the whole purpose of the book is to set up the world and ask the right questions. This is more like a chapter in a much longer saga than a book in its own right.

That said, this book does make you want to read the next one. Although very little actually happens in this book (he follows a guy across the desert, over some mountains, and across an old train bridge then sits down to talk to him, basically), the world in which you find yourself is slowly brightened with flashbacks from Roland's past which only make you want to know more.

Do I have a clue what's going on? No, not really. Do I want to find out? Absolutely, and I will definitely be reading the next book. ( )
  sammii507 | Aug 19, 2014 |
Stephen King, ever the fossil hunter of stories, didn't know much about this Roland Deschain character or the quest he was on when he wrote what would become the series' most famous line, “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” As the reader, we get to explore this strange, eerily familiar dystopia much in the same way King discovered it.

The downside is that Mid-World, the world the Constant Reader has come to know and love throughout the series, isn't as well defined in this first volume. And I agree with those who say that the quest for the Dark Tower doesn't find its voice until the next book, The Drawing of the Three. Even though there's much to appreciate here—the writing, the illusive Man in Black, the ghostly haunt of Roland's childhood—the story can't help but feel cold and distant. In a sense, the Gunslinger is like the deviant cousin of the Dark Tower family, one who is easily misunderstood and often shunned. More than once I've recommended that new readers to the series start with book 2.

To King's credit and for the betterment of the story, he revised The Gunslinger back in the early 2000's with the intent of bringing it closer in tone to the later novels. This revision grounds the narration in the familiar Mid-World jargon and is now the version I prefer. ( )
  Daniel.Estes | Jul 29, 2014 |
Here is a series by Stephen King that I haven't been too interested in reading, but I got to the point where I felt it was necessary.

It was difficult for me to get into. (Truthfully most of King's books are slow starting, but since they are usually incredibly long I learn to love the plot and characters.) This is by far the shortest King novel I've read. A brief introduction to this strange new world.

( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Intriguing! I know this is the first of seven books, so there is still a lot of story left, but I'm hooked so far. In the forward, Stephen King says this is his "Lord of the Rings" and it definitely is a fantasy, but it still has that King flavor of horror, which makes me happy! I look forward to "The Drawing of the Three"! ( )
  darcy36 | Jul 8, 2014 |
The epic quest of one man to find a tower. Mysterious and unknown, he is following a man he knows little to nothing about, but knows he must reach. This is the story of The Gunslinger, novel one of The Dark Tower series.

In The Gunslinger, Stephen King creates various elaborate characters. There are three main characters throughout the book, Jake, a boy that doesn’t know where he is or how he got into the desert, The Gunslinger, a man whose past is revealed throughout the story, and the Man in Black, a magical man that is travelling through a desert with The Gunslinger tailing him. He is The Gunslinger’s key to his quest. Throughout his book, King constantly adds more detail, personality, and backstory to the characters allowing the reader to connect with them.

There are also lots of side characters that King gives a lot of details about. While The Gunslinger is crossing the uncharted desert, he comes across a dweller named Brown. He is living out in the desert with only a bird, a small garden of corn, and a well. Brown ends up giving The Gunslinger information on the town he passed through, Tull, and the Man in Black. Brown’s companion, a raven named Zoltan, is one of the most interesting characters in the book. Brown with lots of time, has taught Zoltan how to talk. Zoltan says a variety of phrases, but his most memorable line is “Beans, beans, the musical fruit. The more you eat the more you toot.”

Not only did King create great characters, but the amount of detail he put into a 300 page story is amazing. Even though the characters are in a mountainous, barren desert, King gives the characters flashbacks and memories to fill the reader in on the backstory. From The Gunslinger’s story in a small desert town named Tull to Jake remembering his past, important parts of the story are mainly told in memories.

King goes into an incredible amount of detail about the world The Gunslinger travels in. There are four locations in the book, Tull, a desert town, the desert which the citizens of Tull recognize as endless, a mountain range flourishing with green life, and a dark cave with no light at all. All of this takes place in what appears to be a darker version of our world. King manages to give lots of detail on the lifeless desert, by describing it through The Gunslinger’s eyes. He describes the life The Gunslinger sees on the mountain, the old wood buildings of Tull, and the sounds and creatures of the cave. With all the detail King adds into the story, his world develops a life of its own.

Overall, King manufactured a flawless book with The Gunslinger. Everything seems perfect, and I highly recommend it. ( )
  br14loin | May 29, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 235 (next | show all)
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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
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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.
Haiku summary

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:03 -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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