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The Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla (original 2003; edition 2006)

by Stephen King

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7,983102407 (4.03)80
Member:bchccc
Title:The Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Hodder Paperbacks (2006), Edição: New Ed, Paperback, 816 páginas
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:The Dark Tower

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Wolves Of The Calla by Stephen King (2003)

  1. 61
    Salem's Lot by Stephen King (OscarWilde87, sturlington, Morteana)
    OscarWilde87: Not only is Father Callahan introduced as a character in Wolves of the Calla, but King's Salem's Lot (the work) is mentioned, quoted and integrated into the story.
    sturlington: Father Callahan first appears in Salem's Lot and makes an unexpected reappearance in the middle of the Dark Tower series.
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After two entire novels that are supposedly part of this giant, sprawling series but that did pretty much nothing to advance the plot, it is a great relief to be "back on the Beam" in the parlance of these Gunslingers and their world. I find this a little ironic, since an element that has annoyed me about this series is precisely the kind of thing the Beam represents: the author appearing to mistrust his characters so much that he has to keep sending them message dreams and cripple them with artificial obsessions and things they "just know", of which the Beam -- sort of like a ley line except even the clouds in the sky move according to its dictates, to make sure everyone keeps going the right way -- but it is so.*

All of which basically means that Wolves of the Calla is probably my favorite of these damned things since The Drawing of the Three, although I found nothing in it that could replace the Lobstrosities in my heart.

Our ka-tet has come across a town -- really one of many towns and settlements in a well-cultivated agricultural region, all of which share a unique problem -- that sort of, kind of, thinks that maybe it needs their help, but doesn't really want to commit to asking for that help because of the trouble it might stir up. It's a classic plot from Samurai stories to the medieval tales of chivalry to westerns, given an interesting twist here by its placement within the Dark Tower arc, and by the mystery of what exactly these "Wolves" are that plague the Calla by somehow changing the reproductive norms of these communities so that twins are rampant and singletons extremely rare, the better to carry off one of each pair sometime in childhood, do something unspeakable to him or her, and send him or her back a complete simpleton with a tendency towards giantism. The children are collected a little more frequently than once a generation; the people only get 30 days warning of their coming via an android (named, of course, Andy) who just suddenly knows one day that they're enroute. He's given the latest warning just in time for Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy to happen along.

What really made this one stand out for me is the same kind of thing that almost redeemed Wizard and Glass: King's ability to create amazing podunk cultures (though, again, the folk speech of the Calla is wearying, full of "if it do ya fines" and "I begs" and excessive use of the do infinitive construction, e.g. "if you do want to eat" "he did dance that dance"**) complete with intricately fascinating agricultural/fertility rituals. This time around we encounter something called The Rice Song, which joyously celebrates the life cycle of the paddies in song, labor, movement and dance, the dance having at times an intriguing supernatural element as made stunningly plain when our man Roland, taking up what manifests as a heretofore unknown but deeply important traditional role, performs on stage, half Green Man, half "Boot Scootin' Boogie", all uncanny. It's an arresting scene.

Accompanying this new version of King's version of the whole fertility/death cult thing is, well, the death side of it, which is in the hands of the women, at least until they shriek a prayer to the Rice Goddess and fling it with deadly accuracy. Do not mess with the ladies of the Calla, y'all. Do not.

And speaking of women, there is an extremely well-handled sub-plot involving the unintended consequences of everybody doing what they had to back in The Waste Lands to bring Jake back into the Gunslinger world, and the Black Loc-nar that has been hidden in the Calla all this time by one Father Callahan of Salem's Lot fame, which sub-plot lends extra tension to a main plot that, for once, is not lacking in tension really at all, but I'm not complaining to have it there.

What I might complain a bit of, if I thought it would do any good, is the nugatory pop culture references that got dumped in again. They're ladled out rather than dumped on this time, which is an improvement, but all they accomplished for me is to drag me out of the story to rub at my sore ribs, still tender from all the Oz-reference digging they got at the end of Wizard and Glass. And no, I'm not talking about all the Salem's Lot stuff. That's kind of cool. I was expecting Wolves of the Calla to be many things, possibly even many awesome things, and I was right so to expect, but I was not expecting it to also be a sequel to Salem's Lot. Which it kind of is and kind of isn't. The weird ways King found to inter-relate that story with this one made my jaw drop, and made the ghost of the 12-year-old Kate who first read SL jump up and down and point and yell happily. Bravo, there. Bravo.

And of course there's a damned cliffhanger, which must have driven all of you original Dark Tower nerds crazy, but which I get to have resolved for me right away. Song of Susannah is already sitting in my Kindle awaiting my pleasure. But first, I need another break from this stuff. Maybe even some nice non-fiction.

*And of course, it was their Mighty God-King who yanked them off the Beam, so, irony squared, as such.

**These are not direct quotations, just examples I made up. I don't ever want to read this kind of dialogue again, not even to hunt up actual examples. Just ugh. ( )
  KateSherrod | Aug 1, 2016 |

King again pauses a bit in the group’s journey to the tower as they stop in Calla Bryn Sturgis. The adventure experienced within the land is the focus of the book. It’s unusual, chilling, and fits into the ‘there’s just something wrong’ vibe of the Dark Tower world. Even if this journey involves many others – including, bizarrely, Father Callahan from Salem’s Lot – there’s plenty of focus and page light on our mains, the ka-tet of Roland, Eddie, Savannah and Oy.

There’s so much, I don’t know, ‘mysticism’ in this one? The rose in New New York is a bit confusing to me, I’ll admit it. A bizarre and bleak blend of technology failing, magic (bends), old school gunslinger style, knight type honor codes and fairytale-ism (Oy and the wolves) and science-fiction (Andy). The tower series seems to be mixing all sorts of fantasy types at once. King continues his tying his universe together, and while he threw in Wizard of the Oz in a previous book, he mentions Harry Potter in this one (to a lesser degree than Oz) and even comic books.

Roland continues to be epic. Savannah, who I’ve never liked as a character, is more interesting with some of her changes in this one. The sleepwalking segments are some of the creepiest/best of the series. The wolves townsfolk and unusual lore was more fascinating than I’d figured. Father Callahan must be a favorite of Kings’? How he got to Roland’s world was a clever twist.

King gives the story extreme style and polish in his awesome blending of so many genres and themes. Epic adventure that’s part of what makes the Dark Tower series so memorable. This is one of the better books. The ending is the best part.
( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
After escaping the alternate Topeka and the evil wizard Randall Flagg, Roland's ka-tet travel to the farming village of Calla Bryn Sturgis where they meet the townsfolk, as well as Father Callahan, who was originally introduced in 'Salem's Lot. He and the townsfolk request the ka-tet's assistance in battling against the Wolves of Thunderclap, who come once a generation to take one child from each pair of the town's twins. After a few months of being away, the children are then returned "roont" (ruined) - mentally handicapped and destined to grow to enormous size and die young. The Wolves are due to come in about a month's time.


Father Callahan killing a Type Three vampire in New York City.Father Callahan also tells the gunslingers his remarkable story of how he left Maine following his battle with the vampire Kurt Barlow in the novel 'Salem's Lot. Since that encounter he has gained the ability to identify Type-3 vampires with a blue aura. After some time he begins killing these minor vampires as he finds them; however, this makes him a wanted man amongst the "low men" and so Callahan must go into exile. Eventually he is lured into a trap and dies, allowing him to enter Mid-World in 1983, much as Jake did when killed in The Gunslinger. He appears near the Calla with an evil magic ball called Black Thirteen, and is found by the Manni people in a place called The Doorway Cave.

Not only do Roland of Gilead and his ka-tet have to protect the Calla-folken from the Wolves, they must also protect a single red rose that grows in a vacant lot on Second Avenue and Forty-Sixth Street in mid-town Manhattan of 1977. If it is destroyed, then the Tower (which is the rose in another form) will fall, although there's no reason given for how the ka-tet knows this. In order to get back to New York to prevent this they must use the sinister Black Thirteen. To add to that, Roland and Jake have noticed bizarre changes in Susannah's behavior, which are linked to the event recounted in The Waste Lands when Susannah couples with the demon in the stone circle. Roland informs Eddie that Susannah has been impregnated by the demon, and though he fears for her safety he remains surprisingly calm. They promise to keep the fact that they know a secret from Susannah, but later Susannah reveals to the ka-tet that she herself has come to grips with it, and knowledge of a second personality living in Susannah named Mia "daughter of none" is shared.

Jake finds out that his new friend Benny Slightman's father is a traitor by following him to a military outpost between the Calla and Thunderclap known as "The Dogan" (which is also featured in The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home). Jake tells Roland, who shows mercy by not killing Slightman, instead leaving him alive for his son and Jake's sake. The wolves attack, using weapons resembling the snitches found in JK Rowling's Harry Potter series (which are actually stamped 'Harry Potter Model') and lightsabers, and are revealed to be robots and to have Doctor Doom-like visages. The gunslingers, along with some help from a few plate-throwing women in the Calla, defeat the wolves, all the while with the children safely hidden in a rice patch nearby. Mia takes over the body of Susannah and flees to the doorway cave, where she uses Black Thirteen to transport herself to New York.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
One of my favorite movies is Seven Samurai, which this books takes its central theme from. It makes it fun and exciting, though barely moves the plot of the Dark Tower forward. It almost seems like a standalone story within the Dark Tower world. The story is good and well written, like all the other books. It has its slumps along the way, in my opinion has too many flashbacks, and can feel unnecessarily long. Overall it is still great. It gets weird at a lot of points, which I think helps redeem the book at points. The narrator is different then the previous books. It takes a little while to get used to him, but he does a good job overall. I think just Eddie's voice is where he lacked in. ( )
  renbedell | Jan 21, 2016 |
Not the best of the DArk Tower... Anyway, not even the worse. ( )
  Manfr | Nov 5, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
Even bona fide Stephen King fans don't know quite what to make of "Wolves of the Calla," the hefty fifth installment of his epic, and seemingly endless, "Dark Tower" series.
added by stephmo | editBoston Globe, Erica Noonan (Jan 15, 2004)
 
It's been more than six years since Stephen King's last full-length installment of his "Dark Tower" fantasy saga. A lot has happened to him, and to the publishing industry, in the meantime. The improbable tale he began as a 19-year-old college student has somehow morphed into a mammoth summation of his entire career.
 
FOR the last 33 years, Roland Deschain, Gunslinger of the line of Eld, he of Gilead-that-was, has been trekking across the desolate landscape of Mid-World, a sort of postapocalyptic second cousin to our own world. Roland is on a quest, of course; he is searching for the Dark Tower, a quasi-mythical edifice that holds together all of time and space -- his world and ours and all the others -- and is in danger of imminent collapse. What he carries with him may be even weightier than that: Stephen King's literary ambitions.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bergner, WulfÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuipers, HugoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rostant, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wrightson, BernieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Mister, we deal in lead." -- Steve McQueen, in The Magnificent Seven
"First comes smiles, then lies. Last is gunfire." -- Roland Deschain, of Gilead
The blood that flows through you flows through me, when I look in any mirror, it's your face that I see. Take my hand, lean on me, We're almost free, Wandering boy. - Rodney Crowell
Dedication
This book is for for Frank Muller, who hears the voices in my head.
First words
Tian was blessed (though few farmers would have used such a word ) with three patches: River Field, where his family had grown rice since time out of mind; Roadside Field, where ka-Jaffords had grown sharproot, pumpkin, and corn for those same long years and generations; and Son of a Bitch, a thankless tract which mostly grew rocks, blisters, and busted hopes.
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Book description
Wolves of the Calla is the fifth book in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. This book continues the story of Roland Deschain, Eddie Dean, Susannah Dean, Jake Chambers, and Oy as they make their way toward the Dark Tower.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 141651693X, Paperback)

Set in a world of extraordinary circumstances, filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters, the DARK TOWER series is unlike anything you have ever read.

Here is the fifth installment, "one of the strongest entries yet in what will surely be a master storyteller's magnum opus" (Locus).

Roland Deschain and his ka-tet are bearing southeast through the forests of Mid-World on their quest for the Dark Tower. Their path takes them to the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis. But beyond the tranquil farm town, the ground rises to the hulking darkness of Thunderclap, the source of a terrible affliction that is stealing the town's soul. The wolves of Thunderclap and their unspeakable depredation are coming. To resist them is to risk all, but these are odds the gunslingers are used to. Their guns, however, will not be enough....

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:05 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Wolves of the Calla continues the adventures of Roland, the Last Gunslinger and survivor of a civilized world that has "moved on." Roland's quest is ka, an inevitable destiny -- to reach and perhaps save the Dark Tower, which stands at the center of everywhere and everywhen. This pursuit brings Roland, with the three others who've joined his quest to Calla Bryn Sturgis, a town in the shadow of Thunderclap, beyond which lies the Dark Tower. Before advancing, however, they must face the evil wolves of Thunderclap, who threaten to destroy the Calla by abducting its young.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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