“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”
Stephen King’s magnum opus, almost 35 years in the telling, is finally complete (kinda). The above was penned in 1970, and was the start of Book I, while the (end) of the tale was penned in April 2004.
And in the wee hours of this morning, I myself came to the end of book VII…
I actually stopped reading about halfway thru – FORCED myself to stop, in fact, and instead turned my attention to the Star Trek movies (1 – 4), of all things – because I was starting to cry my eyes out at what was happening to the characters.
Two days later, I picked it up again… and didn’t let up until the tale was done.
There were still a few ‘painful’ sections, but after the pain of the first, the rest were bearable.
I remember thinking, while reading the part that had my eyes leaking like crazy, “I bet this was even worse for Steve to write… did HE cry as I am crying at the fate of (insert character’s name)? I bet yes, and worse than me, too!”
So much I’d like to say, but I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t read the books (yet).
I know of one person, looking for new books to read, whom I’d pointed in the direction of the Dark Tower series. She’d stopped after Book I, saying it was too ‘dark’. I could see how she’d think so, and unsuccessfully tried to get her to move on to Book II (definitely less ‘dark’ AND containing many intertwining plots). Now, after I have made it to Book VII, I am gonna renew my attempt to get her onboard to experience the rest of Roland’s quest: It is an excellent tale, my friends, an excellent tale…
It was a tale that almost didn’t get told…
A few years ago I picked up Steve’s “From A Buick 8”, and found out, at the end of the book, where he usually shares his thoughts with his Constant Readers, that he was lucky to be alive: in 1999, he’d been hit by a vehicle while walking along the country roads in his neighbourhood. One of those freaky things too: “From A Buick 8” which was written before the accident but published after it, contained a detailed description of a character being hit by a truck… Steve’s accident was pretty similar to what he’d made up for the book. Life imitating art?
Well, this incident helped galvanise Steve into action: he didn’t want to leave without finishing Roland’s tale. So he set about completing the remaining volumes (Books 5, 6 & 7), and had them published within a year of each other, such that by the end of 2004, the tale was finally told.
I re-read Books 1 – 3 in March 2005, Book 4 in May 2005, and read Books 5 – 7 in May & June 2005.
And will be rereading the entire series again within a year or so, I bet.
I highly recommend this tale to you, dear readers.
Please set aside your prejudice and stereotype of Steve as a ‘horror’ writer: he’s so much more that that. If you don’t want to start on a 7-book tale you don’t know if you will like or not, then check out some of these instead:
- The Stand
- The Talisman (with Peter Straub)
- The Eyes of the Dragon
Were you to read the above, I hope you’d agree that these fit in the fantasy, or fiction, section of the bookstore, not in ‘horror’…
And these also ‘fit’ in the Dark Tower tale, in their own way, so you’d even be doing some ‘background reading’ before launching into the Dark tower tale itself! A reread of one of his classic ‘horror’ tales – ‘salem’s Lot - would also be useful.
I can’t ‘gush’ over this the same way I was gushing over Meat Loaf a while ago… I am still in a daze from how it all (kinda) ends… Take it from me, I am a voracious reader, yet few books touch me the way this tale has.
Pick up Book 1 and start this journey, do ya, I beg.