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The Road to the Dark Tower: Exploring Stephen King's Magnum Opusby Bev Vincent
Synopses & Reviews
In 1970, Stephen King embarked on what would become the crowning achievement in his literary career — the Dark Tower. The seven-volume series, written and published over a period of 30 years, was inspired by Robert Browning's poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came," as well as J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and the spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone.
With the full cooperation of Stephen King himself, The Road to the Dark Tower examines the epic journey of the author to complete a story that threatened to overwhelm him. In this indispensable companion, Bev Vincent presents a book-by-book analysis of each volume in the series, tracing the Dark Tower's connections to King's other novels, including The Stand, Insomnia, and Hearts in Atlantis, and offering insights from the author about the creative process involved in crafting his lifelong work — a work that has consumed not only Stephen King, but his legion of devoted readers. This is essential reading for any Dark Tower — or Stephen King — fan.
"How does one determine what the greatest work of an author's career is? The answer to this query, posed in the final pages of this book, can be found throughout Vincent's in-depth analysis of King's seven-volume Dark Tower epic (The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, etc.). Making sense of a story that switches back and forth through time, across multiple universes, and involves the safety of a tower that represents the fate of all existence is no easy task. Kudos to Vincent for even trying. But readers beware-the work is analyzed in its entirety, so expect spoilers galore. Vincent-whose column on Stephen King, 'News from the Dead Zone,' appears in Cemetery Dance magazine-tracks the evolution of both King's three-decade avocation (the very first line was written in 1970) and the development of the saga's characters and plot. Most importantly, Vincent shows how the few members of gunslinger Roland's fellowship, recruited to help him protect the Tower, slowly evolve from reluctant participation to resolve about their leader's quest. Former cocaine addict Eddie, for example, puts his sarcasm and skepticism aside and learns to embrace the dream of his surrogate father. As Vincent writes, 'If Roland were to die on their journey, Eddie would continue with the others, for having dreamt of the Tower and the field of roses, the compulsion to reach the Tower claims him, too.' Vincent also devotes a full chapter to discussing some of King's other works that are related to the Dark Tower series, such as Hearts in Atlantis and Insomnia. In light of King's own admission that the Dark Tower epic is the nexus of all his books-'The Dark Tower finishes everything that I really wanted to say'-Vincent asserts, 'What else, then, is a magnum opus if not something that both ties together and summarizes a person's life's work?' With this thorough analysis of King's epic, Vincent proves himself a master of the Dark Tower world." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
With the full cooperation of Stephen King himself, Bev Vincent examines the epic journey of the author to complete his seven-part Dark Tower series — a journey began in 1970 that threatened to overwhelm him. Vincent presents a book-by-book analysis of each volume that would become the crowning achievement of King's literary career.
AN ALL-NEW COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO ONE OF THE MOST BRILLIANTLY CONSTRUCTED WORLDS IN ALL OF FICTION
Stephen King’s bestselling multi-volume Dark Tower series is the author’s most inspired and imaginative creation. The story of Roland Deschain of Gilead, the last gunslinger, and his lifelong quest to reach the tower and save humanity across infinite parallel worlds is one that has consumed King throughout his career as characters and concepts crossed back and forth between the series and the rest of his fictional universe. The mythos continues to be chronicled and expanded in graphic novels overseen by King, interactive adventures on his website, a proposed film adaptation, and in a new Dark Tower novel.
The Dark Tower Companion is the ultimate compendium to King’s evolving magnum opus, presenting the mythology, history, and geography of this epic fantasy that has captivated generations of readers. Featuring interviews with Stephen King, Ron Howard, Dark Tower expert Robin Furth and others, Bev Vincent reveals The Dark Tower’s influential literary origins, examines its connections to the vast majority of King’s other novels, explores the expanded universe, catalogs the major characters, locations and concepts, and includes a travel guide to the story’s real-world locations, giving fans who have followed Roland’s journey—or those who are discovering it for the first time—a fascinating overview of the series and an inside look at the creative process of one of the world’s most popular authors.
About the Author
Bev Vincent is the author of over two dozen short stories and the Stephen King column, "News from the Dead Zone," featured in Cemetery Dance magazine.
Table of Contents
The Road To The Dark Tower Key To Referenced Works
Introduction: More Worlds Than These
Chapter 1: The Long Journey to the Tower
Chapter 2: The Gunslinger (Resumption)
Chapter 3: The Drawing of the Three (Renewal)
Chapter 4: The Waste Lands (Redemption)
Chapter 5: Wizard and Glass (Regard)
Chapter 6: Wolves of the Calla (Resistance)
Chapter 7: Song of Susannah (Reproduction)
Chapter 8: The Dark Tower (Resumption)
Chapter 9: Related Works
The Eyes of the Dragon
Desperation and the Regulators
"The Little Sisters of Eluria"
"Low Men in Yellow Coats" (Hearts in Atlantis)
The Talisman and Black House
Chapter 10: Dramatis Personae
Roland Deschain of Gilead
John "Jake" Chambers
Eddie Dean (Edward Cantor Dean)
Susannah Dean, Odetta Susannah Holmes, Detta Susannah Walker, Mia
Father Donald Frank Callahan
The Men in Black, Walter o'Dim, Marten Broadcloak, Randall Flagg . . .
The Crimson King (Ram Abbalah)
Chapter 11: Epics, Influences and Ka
Chapter 12: Art and the Act of Creation
Argument: Magnum Opus?
Appendix I: Timeline (Fact) Appendix II: Timeline (Fiction) Part 1: Mid-World
Part 2: Keystone Earth
Appendix III: Mid-World Glossary
Appendix IV: The Dark Tower on the Web
Stephen King Fan Pages
Appendix V: Synopses and notes form The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
Appendix VI: "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came"
References and Acknowledgments
What Our Readers Are Saying
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