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

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1) (original 1982; edition 2003)

by Stephen King

Series: The Dark Tower (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
20,668454166 (3.8)1 / 421
The first book of Stephen King's series introduces the haunting figure, Roland of Gilead, the last gunslinger.
Title:The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Penguin Group New American Library Signet, Mass Market Paperback, 300 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

The Gunslinger by Stephen King (1982)

  1. 71
    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
    Wizard and Glass by Stephen King (Morteana)
  4. 10
    The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith (fulner)
    fulner: The gun slignger starts an adventure where or protagonist must find where he is. The probability broach is based on a 20th century PI who accidentally stumbles into another demention after trying to find a usually murder with unusual weaponry.
  5. 10
    The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree by Samara Abigail Hunt (emren)
    emren: Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree is a love letter to the Dark Tower series. Now read the original!
  6. 10
    A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files (Anonymous user)
  7. 11
    The Waste Lands by Stephen King (Afalstein)
    Afalstein: Book in the same series, with many of the same characters and a very similar tone.
  8. 12
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (Scottneumann)

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» See also 421 mentions

English (431)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (3)  French (3)  Italian (2)  Swedish (2)  Danish (2)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (452)
Showing 1-5 of 431 (next | show all)
Digital audio performed by George Guidall

This is the first in the novels that comprise King’s epic odyssey “Dark Tower” series. It’s an odd mixture of classic Western mixed with science fiction, fantasy and horror. In it, he introduces the reader to Roland Deschain, a “gunslinger. ” Haunted and determined, Roland wanders a bleak landscape in search of the man in black, determined to eradicate evil. It’s an odd setting – a civilization in ruins that bears some resemblance to the United States, but that is fantastical enough to make this reader wonder if this is another world entirely.

Among the characters he encounters are Jake Chambers, a young boy from New York, whom he befriends and who accompanies Roland on his meandering journey. Some people they meet are helpful, others a danger to them. I found most of these encounters strange and unsettling, and, in at least one instance, quite frightening.

There is something about Roland that makes me want to follow him, that makes me believe that he is “a good guy” and the kind of hero I want to cheer for. Still, I’m left with far more questions than answers, and a general sense of unease. As much as I love Stephen King, I really have no desire to continue the series to find out what happens next.

George Guidall does a fine job performing the audio. He really makes these characters come alive. ( )
  BookConcierge | Sep 6, 2022 |
Summary: A old school cowboy pursues a mysterious stranager across the breadth of a post-apocalypic desert land.

Things I liked:

Prose was restrained and powerful

"It was the last day, and he knew it"

Structure of the story was good (classic thirds), by the time I'd made it to the end of the first third I was hooked and had my mind full of questions. In my opinion that's how a story should be.

Short; at 170 pages this book packed as least as much punch (if not a little bit more) than the 800 page + fantasy pulp I just finished reading. Bravo for doing what you needed to do but not being drawn into doing more.

Things I thought could be improved:

Overuse of the word 'sardonic'. Someone else pointed this out in another review, but I had already noticed it myself as I kept looking it up in the ebook dictionary to check if the use was appropriate.

A bit too much exposition at the end so he meets the guy at the end who seems to pretty much 'tell him the whole plan'. I thought this was unecessery and the whole story (whether taken as a stand-alone or as the first of a series) would have been far more romantic and poignent if he had stuck to the 'show don't tell' principle for this last third. . Almost makes me wonder if the last bit was rewritten to make it fit into the series (kind of like a book version of 'coming up in the next season of The Dark Tower').

Highlight: Probablly the crazy death dealing shootout in Tull.

( )
  benkaboo | Aug 18, 2022 |
Tough read. I read it through only because I was told this was a " must read" series. Did not enjoy as much as I hoped and forced myself to plod along. ( )
  HoboMonk | Aug 9, 2022 |
The Gunslinger introduces readers to one of Stephen King’s most powerful creations, Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.

Inspired in part by the Robert Browning narrative poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” The Gunslinger is “a compelling whirlpool of a story that draws one irretrievable to its center” (Milwaukee Sentinel). It is “brilliant and fresh…and will leave you panting for more” (Booklist). ( )
  Gmomaj | Jul 26, 2022 |
Overall, I thought The Gunslinger was fantastic. It had some slow moments that left me scratching my head,wondering wtf was going on. But for the most part. I was intrigued enough by the world, Roland, and the Man in Black to keep reading. In my head seeing Clint "Blondie" Eastwood and hearing Johnny Cash, the ultimate man in black. I can't wait to read the next book. ( )
  Hamptot71 | Jul 18, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 431 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Körber, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rostant, LarryCover artistsecondary 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.
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 first book of Stephen King's series introduces the haunting figure, Roland of Gilead, the last gunslinger.

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Book description
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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Average: (3.8)
0.5 18
1 144
1.5 18
2 422
2.5 109
3 1216
3.5 224
4 1717
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