The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King


One-Sentence Summary: A story of a gunslinger who keeps chasing after the Man in Black to seek information about the Dark Tower.

The gunslinger had been following the Man in Black across the desert for two months. There was nothing in the remains but only burned grass with the familiar ideographic pattern. He meets a corn farmer named Brown, and he offers the gunslinger shelter and food. The gunslinger tells Brown the story of Tull, a town located in the south of Pricetown and north of the Mohaine Desert. He arrived in Tull searching for the Man in Black and met a lady in the local bar called Sheb's. The gunslinger agreed to sleep with her in exchange for information about the Man in Black and Nort.

The lady in the bar, who later revealed in the story as Allie recalled about the Man in Black, arrived in the town on the same day when Nort died. He used his sorcery and was able to revive Nort from death. Nort later handed her a letter containing his message to her. The Man in Black knew that Allie was curious about death, and he offered her the secret word that would trigger Nort to tell her everything about death. She was surprised that the Man in Black knew her name and what she wanted to know. He warned her that knowing the truth would make her mad, but he knew that she won't be able to resist the temptation, and one day, she will ask.

Sylvia Pittston is a preacher woman in Tull. From the outside, her religion was based on Christianity but lately was influenced by the Man in Black. She warned the townsfolk of the existence of "The Interloper" and convinced them to attack him if they saw him. When the gunslinger approaches Sylvia, she tells him that she is having the Man in Black's child, who will be the Crimson King in the future. The Man in Black made her believe that the gunslinger is the Antichrist. The gunslinger tried to pry more information about the Man in Black by threatening a gun to her unborn child, causing an abortion on the demon-child. On the day he wanted to leave the town to continue his journey, the townsfolk chased the gunslinger and attacked him under Sylvia's provocation. He was severely injured but able to shoot and kill everyone in Tull.

The story finally reveals the gunslinger's name is Roland after finishing his detailed account about Tull to Brown and continuing his journey the next day. Roland met a boy named Jake at Way Station, located in the desert. Jake has no idea how he ends up there. The frightened Jake took care of Roland offered him water and food. Jake was willing to be hypnotised, which led him to tell Roland where he came from and how he died. After realising that the killer is the Man in Black in Jake's world, Roland promised to bring Jake along in his journey to find the Man in Black.

I felt the story seems like a series of distorted imaginations that not many people can appreciate the story's ambiguity. I enjoyed the sub-stories, but when all the sub-stories were put together as a larger story, I couldn't comprehend how the entire connection worked. Perhaps I lack imagination, but it was intriguing to read initially because the characters are so uncommon and mysterious. I don't hate the story, but I know it's not suitable for me. Many other readers felt that the second book is better and should continue reading the series. However, if I couldn't understand the first book, I feel I shouldn't spend additional time to continue the series. Maybe when I have no other books to read, I'll probably reconsider it in the future.

ISBN: 9781101146453 (ebook)
Number of Pages: 336
Rating: ★★ (2/5)
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