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Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger: Gunslinger v. 1 Paperback – 7 Nov 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (7 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340896213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340896211
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 23.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (263 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,617,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. Among his most recent are the Dark Tower novels, Cell, From a Buick 8, Everything's Eventual, Hearts in Atlantis, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and Bag of Bones. His acclaimed nonfiction book, On Writing, was also a bestseller. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Product Description


Pulse-poundingly engaging (Sunday Express on SONG OF SUSANNAH)

King's magnificent uberstory is finally complete... King's achievement is startling; his characters fresh... his plot sharply drawn... It is magic. (Daily Express on The Dark Tower)

Join the quest before it's too late (Independent on Sunday on SONG OF SUSANNAH)

Classic King, fine characters, compellingly written in a gripping, well-honed plot (Daily Express on WOLVES OF THE CALLA)

Superbly energetic, it's King at his best (Mail on Sunday on WIZARD AND GLASS)

Book Description

The first novel in King's magnificent epic, relaunched in trade paperback to accompany trade paperbacks of the final 3 volumes in the series.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Chris Hall TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
`The Gunslinger' is the first instalment for Stephen King's fantasy epic series `The Dark Tower'. Written over a period of almost 30 years, over seven books, spanning for a total of 3712 pages, this really is an epic saga.

This is the shortest book of the series, lasting for a mere 238 pages. The book introduces the reader to Roland (the Gunslinger) whose journey to reach the dark tower is first set in motion.

The novel builds up slowly, allowing the reader to become accustomed to King's Dark Tower world. Characterization takes on an important role throughout the novel, getting the reader to know and feel for Roland and the few other characters that appear in the pages. With the journey the reader is taken on through the seven books, this first novel does the task of setting the scene and introducing the complex and original character of Roland perfectly. The book is often described as the prologue to the series, which seems a suitable comment to make.

As a stand alone novel, `The Gunslinger' is a rather slow and laborious novel, that gradually builds to the next platform of the saga. But the book is an important introduction to this gripping epic, giving you a good entrance to the series.

The new and revised version of this book includes the story having been expanded and revised along with a sixteen page Introduction & Forward as well as a 28 page excerpt from the beginning of the second book in the series `The Drawing Of The Three'.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Mar. 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Gunslinger is the first volume (of seven) in the Dark Tower series, and introduces us to Roland of Gilead, the last gunslinger alive. Roland lives in a post industrial world that has reverted back to almost medieval conditions – according to its inhabitants it has “moved on”. A little at a time Roland’s background is explained – how he grew up among the ruling class of his country, and how he lost everyone dear to him in the revolution that brought an end to the rule of the gunslingers and laid Gilead in ruins. Now all he has left is the search for an elusive man in black, and ultimately finding the Dark Tower, a place of great importance, but shrouded in mystery.
King claims that the Dark Tower is inspired by Tolkien (what fantasy work isn’t?) and Sergio Leone’s movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - a spaghetti western with magic and a quest to save the world, in other words. It may sound like a strange combination, but King manages to fuse these two elements and make the story work. There are lots of fantastic elements in the history of the world and in the events that unfold on Roland’s way to catch up with the man in black, but the writing makes you feel like a remote observer, just like at the movie screen.
The remoteness does have one drawback – you never really get close to the characters. They are well drawn, but never become your friends to laugh and cry with. Another thing that keeps you at a distance from the story is the fact that very little information about why Roland needs to find the Dark Tower is revealed. In many ways, The Gunslinger leaves you with more questions than answers, but since there are six more books to fill in the gaps, I’m not particularly upset about it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 2 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
The Gunslinger, the first in Stephen King's epic Dark Tower series, is a beautifully crafted novel which mixes genres. It's a western, horror, fantasy, and by the end philosophical novel. The hero, Roland of Gilead, is a cross between a Clint Eastwood character and the archetypal traveller, on a long quest through a strange world. His adventures are enthralling and tinged with melancholy, as we gradually learn tidbits about his mission. As this is the first in a series it ends on a "to be continued" note and numerous questions are left unanswered, but the book isn't meant to be read by itself, with no curiosity about what happens after.
Here King establishes an imaginary world with the breadth and depth of vision all great storytellers share. He doesn't spend chapter after chapter explaining the magic, but lets each strange development speak for itself. The narrative uncoils not like a snake or a machine but a flower, revealing its essence leaf by leaf, its scent teasing you. A barroom resurrection and an encounter with a lusty oracle left me in awe of this place King paints.
The plot is simple: Roland, the gunslinger, chases the man in black, a mischievous sorcerer, through an apocalyptic waste land. Come to think of it, the whole plot can be summed up in the book's first sentence: "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." Along the way Roland meets a friendly hermit, a troubled boy and the hopeless residents of Tull, a lonesome tumbleweed town. Each adventure is more exciting and mysterious than the last. In this novel (short, for Stephen King, at 238 pages) Roland faces everything from religious fanaticism to carnivorous mutants.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 28 April 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Gunslinger – Roland of Gilead, of a world that has moved on, tracks the path of the Man in Black. He is a wizard whom Roland believes is connected with the Dark Tower. The world is in chaos; time no longer runs in a straight line and the young are a rare thing. Roland’s world is falling apart from its very seems and the Dark Tower is at the centre of it all. It seems only that the path of the beam is constant and all other things are twisted and old.
The first part of the book is full of flashbacks to the early days of Gilead and of Roland’s upbringing with the training of his teacher Cort, a great gunslinger....Before reading the Dark Tower series I was never really interested in his style, it seemed slow and very simple. If you seem to have the same trouble with reading King’s writing then I advise reading ‘The Gunslinger’, it is written in a style ... that flows and intoxicates the readers until the hours go by and you find your self jumping from page 20 to page 110. By the end of the book you want to know more, what will happen and will Roland ever find the Dark Tower.
...I think Stephen King makes an excellent Fantasy/Horror writer...
The book was inspired by a poem King had studied as a sophomore called ‘Childe Roland’ by Robert Browning. The book came from a wanting to write something big, something powerful and damn brilliant. And so one evening he sat down at his desk and wrote the words;
“The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.”
And there was born one of my favourite stories.
I think one thing that interested me, and gave me a want to become a writer, was the way in which King admitted that he had no idea how the story would end.
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