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the Dark Tower I links :
Nineteen (19)
the Robert Browning poem
the Gunslinger 1st and 2nd

First line :
The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.

Notes :
Early portions of the book were written when King was only 19.

The number 19 is added on a singular page in the revised edition.

Subtitle :
- only in the revised edition.

Main characters :
Roland Deschain
The Man in Black

Important places :
Mohaine Desert
The Waystation
The Golgotha
previous title: the running man | different seasons :next title
previous dark tower title: little sisters of eluria | the dark tower II :next dark tower title
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  • Written : Bangor, Maine - 1982, January 25, 2003, February 6, 2003
  • Synopsis :
    The opening chapter in the epic Dark Tower series. Roland, the last gunslinger, in a world where time has moved on, pursues his nemesis, The Man in Black, across a desert. Roland's ultimate goal is the Dark Tower, the nexus of all universes. This mysterious icon's power is failing, threatening everything in existence.

    The book and subsequent series was inspired by the poem Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came by Robert Browning.

    Thirty-three years, a horrific and life-altering accident, and thousands of desperately rabid fans in the making, Stephen King's quest to complete his magnum opus rivals the quest of Roland and his band of gunslingers who inhabit the Dark Tower series. Loyal DT fans and new readers alike will appreciate this revised edition of The Gunslinger, which breathes new life into Roland of Gilead, and offers readers a "clearer start and slightly easier entry into Roland's world."

    King writes both a new introduction and foreword to this revised edition, and the ever-patient, ever-loyal "constant reader" is rewarded with secrets to the series's inception. That a "magic" ream of green paper and a Robert Browning poem, came together to reveal to King his "ka" is no real surprise (this is King after all), but who would have thought that the squinty-eyed trio of Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach would set the author on his true path to the Tower? While King credits Tolkien for inspiring the "quest and magic" that pervades the series, it was Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly that helped create the epic proportions and "almost absurdly majestic western backdrop" of Roland's world.

    To King, The Gunslinger demanded revision because once the series was complete it became obvious that "the beginning was out of sync with the ending." While the revision adds only 35 pages, Dark Tower purists will notice the changes to Allie's fate and Roland's interaction with Cort, Jake, and the Man in Black--all stellar scenes that will reignite the hunger for the rest of the series. Newcomers will appreciate the details and insight into Roland's life. The revised Roland of Gilead (nee Deschain) is embodied with more humanity--he loves, he pities, he regrets. What DT fans might miss is the same ambiguity and mystery of the original that gave the original its pulpy underground feel (back when King himself awaited word from Roland's world)


    Donald M. Grant 1982.

    "FIRST EDITION" on copyright page.

    Dust Jacket price: $20.00.


    New English Library 1982.

    ISBN 0 340 70750 x.
    212 pages.
    "New English Library Edition 1997"
    on copyright page.
    "10 9 8 7 6" on copyright page.

    Copyright © 1982 by Stephen King.
    Illustrations copyright © 1982 by Michael Whelan.
    Cover illustration: Bob Warner.
    Fiction: General.

    New English Library 2003.

    ISBN 0 340 83223 1.
    238 pages.
    "This Edition 2003"
    on copyright page.
    "1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2" on copyright page.

    Copyright © 1982, 2003 by Stephen King.
    Illustrations © 1982 by Michael Whelan.
    Cover illustration: Larry Rostant.
    Fiction: General.



    Who took a chance on these stories,
    one by one.


    The Gunslinger
    (20 chapters)

    The Way Station
    (3 chapters)

    The Oracle and the Mountains

    The Slow Mutants

    The Gunslinger and the Dark Man



    (January 25, 2003)

    (February 6, 2003)

    The Gunslinger
    (20 chapters)

    The Way Station
    (13 chapters)

    The Oracle and the Mountains
    (10 chapters)

    The Slow Mutants
    (13 chapters)

    The Gunslinger and the Dark Man
    (9 chapters)


    Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger, sets out in pursuit of the Man in Black into a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our own.

    In his first step towards the powerful and mysterious Dark Tower, Roland encounters an alluring woman named Alice and begins a friendship with Jake, a kid from New York. Faced with an agonising choice, Roland is torn between damnation and salvation as he determines to find out what the Man in Black knows.

    Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, The Gunslinger leaves readers eagerly awaiting the next chapter…

    And the Tower is closer

    Set in a world ofextraordinary circumstances, filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters, The Dark Tower series is Stephen King’s most visionary piece of storytelling, a magical mix of fantasy and horror that may well be his crowning achievement.

    Join the quest for the elusive Dark Tower.


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