New Dark Tower book by Stephen King out today

I’ve not got my hands on this book yet, but as soon as I do it skip right past my current pile of ‘books that I really want to read’.

Where to begin? You will either care or you will not. The Dark Tower series is kinda like that.

I first attempted to read the first volume, The Gunslinger, back about 20 years ago. I had been reading most of what Stephen King had written up to then and enjoyed it all. (Well, except for Pet Sematary.) I was aware of The Dark Tower series as being some “fantasy thing with a cowboy on the cover” but managed not to read it. The Gunslinger was a slim volume and I thought I’d make quick work of it. To be honest I struggled with it and never finished the thing.

Fast-forward to 2003. I remember browsing a bookshop and stopped to look at the Stephen King shelf. There was book 3, The Waste Lands, staring back at me. The cover really intrigued me. It seemed to show a modern city with skyscrapers but in the middle of the desert. I wanted to find out what that was about. So I went home and a trip to the attic produced my old copies of the first two volumes, The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three that I had never managed to read.

This time I did manage to read The Gunslinger. It described the last gunslinger Roland’s quest to reach the mysterious Dark Tower. He was crossing the deserts of Mid-World, a world that has “moved on”. And the book had a brilliant first line. “The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.” It was such a good line that I had always thought it was exactly how the last book of the series should end…

As the series unfolded it became clear that there were connections to our own world, or one very like it. In fact there were connection’s to much of King’s other novels.

I read books 1 to 4 in 2003 and that turned out to be timed well as book 5 came out that year and then books 6 and 7 appeared in 2004. By the end I was a confirmed Dark Tower fan.

So that was the series over. No more Dark Tower books. Until now, because King has written a new book, The Wind Through the Keyhole, that slots inbetween books 4 and 5. One that will inevitably be referred to as book 4.5 I suppose.

In time I may review it.

Long days and pleasant nights.