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

Stephen King~

And so begins one of the most powerfully lyrical pieces of fiction in the English language. The unrelenting harshness of the desert sun is somehow cast in tones of twilight, as we meet the Gunslinger about his end-times work. His quest is inimical, his progress inexorable. His intent dimly understood but utterly honorable. He is an archetype driven by a force truer than the shadow he casts on the hardpan beside him.

Stephen King wrote this novel as a young man and it is unquestionably his finest work. The Dark Tower series is his opus and anathema bound between covers and burned into pages. The cadence of his language resonates on a level that is difficult to articulate, but utterly manifest. The impact of his prose is subtle but profound; you look up from reading with the taste of dust in your mouth, squinting from the hard desert light burning at your eyes.

We are introduced to Roland The Gunslinger as he is in pursuit of The Man in Black.  It is made evident in stark and grotesque terms that this Man must be called to account, but we do not know what started the chase to begin with. Roland haunts this figure for reasons that only become clear through the cracked and hazy window we are afforded into The Gunslinger’s memory.

Strewn in his path are obstacles and dilemmas cast there by The Man In Black with supernatural power and demonic glee. As the stakes of these complications mount, The Gunslinger is forced with increasing urgency and against his will to look inward to observe his nature, his actions, and his unswerving devotion to his ultimate end; The Dark Tower.

Within the greater context of the tale, there are constant echoes of a relentless progress toward an ineludible end. Under the mountains in the eye-aching darkness the pull of his ordained act is palpable, hideous, and necessary. When Roland makes the choice he is not at liberty to avoid, and in the service of his quest loses most of what remains of his soul. We must wonder if he can or even wishes to be redeemed if it cost him his aim. 

I cannot recommend this novel highly enough. It should be required reading for any person of imagination and spirit. It will touch and open both beyond reckoning.