The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed…
(warning: post and/comments may contain spoilers)
…And with those words, millions of Stephen King fans were transported into another world- actually, several other worlds. We traveled with Roland while he followed the man in black and while he found and lost a ‘son’. We traveled with him while sick and dying as he opened doors to other places on a long and lonely beach, and finally drew his ka-tet, the people who would save his life and more importantly, the people who would find a way past his defenses to his frozen heart.
Sounds dramatic, right? Well, it is…but not in an over-sentimentalized “Lifetime” channel movie kind of way. With the Dark Tower (DT) series, King manages seven whole novels over the loooong span of his illustrious career, novels that draw you in completely. Perhaps not surprisingly, by the time you are done the series, you feel you know the characters intimately, and have even formed attachments to them.
These seven novels also manage to tie in at least a dozen of his other former novels and stories in some way or another. Some are small references, almost name drops, while others manage to reintroduce interesting characters from previous novels. For instance, in the 5th installment of the DT, Father Callahan plays a large role (it is even inferred that he may somehow be a part of Roland’s ka-tet). Avid fans of Stephen King will of course remember Father Callahan from Salem’s Lot, and this is their chance to find out what happened to the unlucky ‘Pere’ after his ‘forceful excommunication’ in the Lot. Many characters from other novels will surface, either with the same name (Ted Brautigan from Hearts in Atlantis and Dinky Earnshaw from the short story “Everything’s Eventual”), or incognito (think Flagg.) It’s kind of amazing really. Not only do these ‘cameos’ provide the reader with an “aha!” moment that makes them feel in the know, but they make King’s universe, his version of Maine and Midworld, seem more real.
I wait with anticipation, and wonder what this new novel, The Wind Through the Keyhole, will add to the DT experience.