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The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  292,581 Ratings  ·  8,968 Reviews

Beginning with a short story appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1978, the publication of Stephen King's epic work of fantasy -- what he considers to be a single long novel and his magnum opus -- has spanned a quarter of a century.

Set in a world of extraordinary circumstances, filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters, The Dar

Paperback, 231 pages
Published June 24th 2003 by NAL (first published June 10th 1982)
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  • The Gunslinger by Stephen King
    The Gunslinger
    Release date: May 03, 2016
    Start reading the first volume in Stephen King's epic Dark Tower Series.

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    Giveaway dates: Apr 25 - May 02, 2016

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    David Good If you already got through the first book you HAVE to keep going. That's like doing everything to bake a cake and then being like "Making the cake…moreIf you already got through the first book you HAVE to keep going. That's like doing everything to bake a cake and then being like "Making the cake wasn't very fun. Should I continue and eat it anyways?" But seriously, the first book is there to lay the foundation for the entire series, while necessary, it only gets better from there.(less)
    William King I read The Stand and many other King novels. The DT series is great. I would not hesitate to read it again. I actually laughed at the way SK ended it…moreI read The Stand and many other King novels. The DT series is great. I would not hesitate to read it again. I actually laughed at the way SK ended it (the irony). Maybe you will read it and find out for yourself.(less)
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    Community Reviews

    (showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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    A few things you should know before deciding how helpful this review will be for you.

    *** I think the Dark Tower series as a whole is a staggering achievement and belongs in any discussion without qualification of the “Greatest Fantasy Series of All Time.”

    *** There are no spoilers in this review but I have read the series twice all the way through and am doing a third reading as part of a group read this month. Therefore, my review is colored by my knowledge of ho
    Dan Schwent
    The man in black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed.

    Roland Deschain, the last of the Gunslingers, is on a quest for the Dark Tower, a mysterious edifice that is the axle of worlds and holds all existence together. In this, the first volume, Roland pursues his nemesis across the Mohaine Desert. He follows the man in black's trail to a little town called Tull, then through more desert, encountering a boy named Jake from our world, and then into the mountains. Will Roland finally c
    Kat Stark

    *I listened to the audiobook*

    Buddyread with the adventurous Karly (Click to read her review)

    Second Book: The Drawing of the Three
    Third Book: The Waste Lands

    My Gunslinger theme song that I can't get out of my head when reading: Knights of Cydonia

    Listen, before you start stoning me...understand that this is a book that needs to be re-read after the entire series in order to be fully appreciated.

    And I for one plan on re-reading it. I love King’s works and I STILL adore his writing with this one,
    Darth J

    Well, I'm trying this thing where I don't DNF books. Let's face it, I'll probably mess up that resolution though. On a similar note, who here is still hitting the gym? Ha! Thought so. Don't judge me then. Anyway, I know this was a short read but it took me forever to finish it. I think that the idea is fine but it's the writing that is putting me off. I feel the same way about Neil Gaiman, in that I really like the premise and want to read their works but I'm just not feeling their style.


    The man in black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed.

    That is the line I remembered for years and years that made me think that someday I would revisit THE GUNSLINGER...As a young teenage girl I read THE GUNSLINGER and really didn't like it that much. I didn't hate it- it just confuuuuuused me. And to review this I will have to take you back to when I first read it as a teen...

    Stephen King is special to me. Special because when I first discovered him- it was the first time I went
    This is the beginning of Stephen King's famous magnum opus, the Dark Tower. This is where the master of horror writes his great work of fantasy based on a combination of The Lord of the Rings and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

    "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

    This simple and beautiful sentence is the opening line, the trademark and even the summary of The Gunslinger. In most ways, this single sentence is what defines this book.

    For that is how it all begins.
    The Dark Tower series was one of the great joys of my reading life. However, it also frustrated me to the point where I often wanted to bludgeon Stephen King with a hardback copy of It.

    I was baffled by The Gunslinger when I first read it way back in my high school days. It had been an unobtainable limited edition that had popped up in the title card of King’s other books, and when it finally went into wide release I couldn’t wait to snatch it up. But then I couldn’t make sense of it. There was a
    Oct 20, 2014 Taylor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Recommends it for: adventure seekers, people who like stories centered around a hero
    Recommended to Taylor by: Tim
    Dear Stephen King,

    I'd like to apologize for the times that I've made fun of you in any way, shape or form, including the kid in my English 2 class sophomore year who would not stop raving about you as if you were the only person to ever write a book.

    It's not that I think that kid was justified for only ever reading your books and no-one else's, and it's not that I thought you were a horrible writer and now I think you're amazing.

    But, this was really quite a pleasant surprise. I'm not sure what
    mark monday
    Jun 13, 2014 mark monday rated it liked it
    Recommended to mark by: Dan, Kemper, Stephen
    A Gunslinger, a Man in Black, a Child Out of Time & Space, the Beginning of a Cryptic Saga...

    A Second Read. the first time: unimpressed, bored, agitated, gave up. the second time: so much better, a lot to consider, an enjoyable experience...

    A Strangely Sparse Narrative, perhaps too much mystery, perhaps too much of a tease and not enough action, perhaps too much to think about, a frustrating lack of detail...

    A Tarot Card: THE HANGED MAN...
    Sacrifice... Renunciation... Contemplation... Waiting
    Will M.
    Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger, is on a mysterious quest for the mysterious Dark Tower. Aside from that, he was also in a quest to follow the man in black, for answers. With his trusty companion, the child named Jake, he sets on an unforgettable adventure.

    The synopsis was really short and vague, but once I finished the book, everything seemed to clear up. This novel was about a man's quest for something meaningful to him, and he was so desperate, desperate enough to do unimaginab
    Jason Koivu
    Jun 05, 2013 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
    Gloriously moody and atmospheric!

    The Gunslinger is high plains, lonely traveler, John Wayne-in-a-post apocalyptic dystopia goodness.

    With a survivalist main character and a dependent boy at his side, fighting mutants and what were human beings against all that wealth of stark nothingness for scenery, it felt very akin to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which I'd read somewhat recently and loved. Mysticism and Biblical references abound and at points threaten to muddy the narrative waters, but never
    Buddy read with the notorious duo, Quick Draw Stepheny and Pistol Packin’ Delee .

    The Gunslinger clambered over the rocks. He knew the Man in Black was close. He could pick up his scent. The Man in Black smelled like charred meat. Evil charred meat. The river to his left was the apotheosis of all rivers; it was watery and wet. The Gunslinger pictured himself lying in the river, being carried backwards in an unending current; lulled by the sweet relentless drifting towards death itself. In a fuz
    Mike (the Paladin)
    Sep 14, 2013 Mike (the Paladin) rated it liked it
    Shelves: fantasy
    King is a gifted writer and has constructed a sort of intertwined "multiverse" (thank you Albert Einstein and Michael Moorcock)for his novels. It is compelling, detailed, gritty, and flawed. I have observed before that I can't really call myself a King fan. He seems unable to conceive of what I might call "actual good" or "altruistic good". His protagonists are usually terribly (even fatally) flawed in some critical way. In this I don't mean the in the "I'm human with feet of clay" type of flaw ...more
    David Sven
    Jul 12, 2015 David Sven rated it it was amazing
    What do you get when you mix the epicness of Tolkien, exalt in the cool of “The Good The Bad and The Ugly,” are partial to Arthurian legend, and possibly (some have suggested) have overindulged in too much weed? You get “The Gunslinger” the first book in Stephen King’s Magnum Opus “The Dark Tower Series.”

    This will be the third time I’ve read “The Gunslinger,” and each time I read it the more I appreciate it. Not for its plot structure, which is often times as broken as Roland – but more for its
    Feb 05, 2016 ♛Tash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Recommended to ♛Tash by: Evelyn (devours and digests words)
    How perfect is Avenged Sevenfold's Gunslinger for this book?

    Buddy read with Vanessahhh ...Right, to the review then.

    Whatever Stephen King was on when he wrote The Gunslinger, I will have some of it. This was completely cray, not a least bit sorry for it and I loved it.

    As the cover will clue one in, this is a western-themed fantasy. There's a gunslinger, Roland Deschain and a world that has moved on, a bleak world on the brink of destruction, swallowed up by sand and devil grass. Roland Deschain
    Oct 18, 2014 Bookwraiths rated it really liked it
    Shelves: fantasy, favorites
    Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

    The Gunslinger is one of those books that evokes strong reactions in readers. You could simply say that people either love it or hate it but that is really too simplistic. Rather Stephen King evokes such a myriad range of different emotions with this science fiction/fantasy western that it is perfectly normal for an individual to feel both awed by its brilliance yet completely unhappy with its conclusion. I realize that is strange to say, but it is abso
    Sep 10, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it
    An intriguing book, it draws the reader in little by little.

    It is fantastic, imaginative ... but inconsistent. Amid moments of brilliance there are also islands of abstraction so murky, almost Kafkaesque in absurdity, that I could not follow. But it is interesting enough that I will probably read the sequels.

    Of course that is another detraction, this book does not stand alone but leaves the reader with many questions unanswered. Fun questions that lead the reader to seek further, but a work of
    Evelyn (devours and digests words)
    I've seen a few reviews that seemed to indirectly question whether King was on crack while he wrote this. I thought they were being ridiculous but now, I can see the reasons.

    This book is so weird that I don't even think I can write a proper coherent review without not making sense of myself.

    If there are two things I'd describe The Gunslinger, it would be vague and odd as fuck.

    Reading this was like trying to piece together all the scattered jigsaw puzzles. It urges you to use your brain and fit
    This is the beginning of my NJ Stephen King bookclub's read-through of the Dark Tower series. It's going to be hard for me to keep to the pace and not just plow through these like I usually do, immersing myself in the world(s) and characters and quest for the Tower right along with Roland and his Ka-tet... but I'm going to do it anyway, because I really enjoy this group of people, and love talking about King's books with them.

    I have read these books many times before, obviously, and it's fair t
    Jun 21, 2012 Lou rated it it was amazing
    The Gunslinger
    "The Interloper, The Lord of Flies, The Man in Black cometh!"
    Stephen King our modern day Charles Dickens takes you on beginning of an epic journey with Roland 'The Gunslinger' in this poignant tale. The story takes us through the past and future and the coming of age of a man and a boy in search of The Tower.
    'The more you eat the more you toot!' or should I say the more you re-read it the more you will appreciate it, that's what I felt second time round reading the novel and al
    It was okay with flashes of some fantasy brilliance underneath. I have been informed by a friend I trust that this is one of the weakest books so I will push on and read others in the series. I just wasn't overly impressed by this as a novel.

    The juxtaposition of the book was not great as an entry into a series. It jumped all over the place chronologically and didn't provide an easy smooth ride. I like to think of writers as pilots (well I just made that metaphor up then but I shall think of
    Mar 31, 2015 Laz rated it liked it
    Recommends it for: horror, epic fantasy fans
    Shelves: sci-fi, adventure, horror
    “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

    Only Mr. King can compose a book of magic, mystery and combine it so well with horror details. He's a master story-teller and by now I believe he can write just about anything and still make you stare at the book in awe.

    The book starts off with Roland stalking the man in black in a black and desolate desert which is the book's setting, mostly.. We have no clue whatsoever about the world we're reading about, or the character
    Franco  Santos
    «El hombre de negro huía a través del desierto y el pistolero iba en pos de él.»
    Una de las líneas más famosas de la literatura. Con esas palabras empieza una de las mejores sagas que se han escrito.

    Quizás esta novela se les haga un poco pesada. Es el inicio de una serie de 8 libros, por ende, el autor quiso crear una base para empezar con la verdadera historia. No crean que el resto de las novelas de La Torre Oscura van a ser así de densas, porque no lo son ni un ápice. Aun así es un libro
    Zan G
    May 24, 2007 Zan G rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    I have heard a lot of hype about this book and a lot of my friends are really into it. I saw the paperback cheap at a used book store and decided to pick up the first two in the series. I am probably never going to touch the second book.

    I have never been a fan of Stephen King, I don't really like horror books and I really don't understand how many times you can read about a car killing people before you get bored of the man. The reason I read this is because the Marvel comic version of this is r
    Apr 28, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: blog
    Recently, my comrades in literature featured a Dark Tower conversation on (prepare for shameless plug) Shelf Inflicted. Unfortunately, I was unable to participate because I had not yet read the series. It felt a little like being the uncool kid who gets picked last for kickball. I decided it was time to remedy this. I was going to prove I could kick that damn ball.

    Now I have made vague promises for years to them and to others that, yes, I would read the book and I was sure that I would love it.
    Jan 09, 2016 Christopher rated it it was amazing
    How does one even being to rate, much less review, Stephen King's magnum opus? If one rates it highly, can one be sure they are not rating it for what it is, instead of for the words themselves? Or if one rates it lowly, can one be sure that is not just the same reaction in the opposite direction? Where expectations have soared so high, heaven itself could not satisfy?

    So let us instead speak of simpler things than trying to sway you into making this an inclusion on your TBR shelf.

    The man in bla
    Mayra Sigwalt
    Acho que esse livro não pode ser avaliado como uma coisa única, como o próprio autor explica no começo do livro. Ele é o início de uma obra gigantesca com 7 tomos, mas que é um livro só. E O Pistoleiro se apresentou como um primeiro capítulo. Sim. Um capítulo de 220 páginas. (Menos que o Fantine do meu Miseraveis com 342 pgs). E o que esse livro faz é basicamente apresentar pra gente quem é O Pistoleiro. Temos um pouquinho do passado dele e relances do que aconteceu até chegar aqui. Apesar de sa ...more
    Sep 25, 2013 Brian rated it really liked it
    I feel very, very guilty about my 25+ years of smug dismissal of Stephen King. It took GR friends with impeccable taste in lit to show me the errors of my ways. Mr. King, I apologize. You really know how to write a brilliant page-turning story.

    I read this book aloud to the misses and it was only the second book I've read to her that she simply wouldn't let me stop (the other: Hyperion). The rich, relatable and broken characters; the unfolding world that seems recognizable, but isn't; poignant wr
    Aug 03, 2015 Arah-Lynda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: i-said
    The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

    As he makes his way across this vast, bleak and desolate landscape, he meets people, has sex, forms friendships. Bullets fly……people die.

    The gunslinger has bad, equally bleak and desperate dreams and flashbacks. The man in black eludes him.

    For me the best part of this story was the conversation between Roland (the gunslinger) and Walter (the man in black) near the end of this segment of the journey and King’s own afterword.

    Jacob J.
    Aug 06, 2015 Jacob J. rated it it was amazing
    I read the first half of this when I was in seventh grade. I bought over a dozen Stephen King books at a garage sale and laid out a plan to complete the entire Stephen King catalogue. This was even more foolish than my more recent attempt to read the entirety of In Search of Lost Time in one year. Not, of course, that it can’t be done, only that I have proven myself—over and over again—incapable of following through with my grandiose plans, however comparatively-to-others’ modest they may be. I ...more
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    • Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance
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    • The Great and Secret Show (Book of the Art #1)
    • The Road to the Dark Tower: Exploring Stephen King's Magnum Opus
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    • Swan Song
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    • The Lone Drow (Forgotten Realms: Hunter's Blades, #2; Legend of Drizzt, #15)
    • Black Sun Rising (The Coldfire Trilogy, #1)
    Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M ...more
    More about Stephen King...

    Other Books in the Series

    The Dark Tower (7 books)
    • The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower, #2)
    • The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower, #3)
    • Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4)
    • Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, #5)
    • Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, #6)
    • The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower, #7)

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    “Go then, there are other worlds than these.” 1571 likes
    “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” 1099 likes
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