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The journey of Roland
on 25 June 2007
Apparently being a personal assistant to Stephen King has certain perks, especially when you're writing a concordance to his bestselling Dark Tower series, both volumes of which are contained in "The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance." Robin Furth doesn't outline much that isn't also in the book, but she does an excellent job outlining the information about King's entire series.
Furth includes plenty of data on the seven novels of the series, starting with an essay that refreshes the reader's memory. Furth starts the actual content with a list of characters with biographical info, from "Abigail" to "Zoltan." Then it's the areas of Mid-World, from the lair of the vampire nuns to Roland's long-lost homeland; the areas of our own world, and portals between the worlds. There are some pretty decent maps as well.
Additionally, she describes the various terms and phrases used in the High Speech, Mid-World language ("graf" is apple beer), prayers and sayings ("If it's ka, it will come like the wind"). And just for reference, she includes organizations, dances, holidays, magical items, instruments, as well as outlining various maps, as well as cultural items from our present world, and maps. Not to mention references to King's own work within the series.
The Dark Tower series -- which stretches through seven long novels and one short story -- is enticingly complex and mysterious, set in different worlds and times. It's also interlinked with other novels of King's, like "Insomnia" and "Eyes of the Dragon." So it's inevitable that even the die-hard fans will forget Character X or fair-day Z -- yet Furth's book allows easy clarification and consultation.
Furth does an excellent job organizing and annotating the book, including the books in which the items appear, and which pages are significant. She also maintains a calmly distant attitude in the book, without getting too gushy about King's work. But she does slip up occasionally; it's jarring to hear about "screwing" someone with a gun in a scholarly work.
Robin Furth's "Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance" is a good accompaniment to the Dark Tower series, and even those who have read the series many times will want to keep it at hand. Very useful.