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back to book reviews home Author: Stephen King Title: The Dark Tower Volume VII: The Dark Tower Publisher: Donald M. Grant / Scribner Purchase at: Amazon

All things must end, even the vast quests of gunslingers. Or do they? Roland Deschain of Gilead, the last of the aforementioned slingers of guns in a world that has “moved on” now answers this eternal question while completing his relentless journey for the Dark Tower (aka the axis of all places and times). The Tower is in danger of falling beneath the minions of the evil entity known cryptically as the Crimson King and it is up to Roland and his final few companions to save it and thus rescuing all worlds from extinction.

Many of Stephen King’s loyal fans have followed this series since its beginning when volume one “The Gunslinger” was published in 1982. The work in question actually began twelve years earlier with King’s infamous (and fabulous) opening line: “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” These loyal fans will be delighted (and perhaps surprised) by the motley crew King embroils in his twisted plot, some new (a hideous were-spider) and some shockingly familiar (an author of popular fiction makes a significant cameo) as this final volume weaves many of his previous works together into one harsh yet often sensitive yarn of love, loss, redemption, and resumption.

Not everyone will enjoy the slitghtly sputtering finale (can you say anti-climax?), but all must accept it, for now the tale is done. King himself has been noted as saying that he’s not quite sure he likes the ending, but “it’s the only one that fit.” Does it? It does indeed, and in closing the door on this fantastic tale, this master seamlessly draws his readers first into his world and then gently bids them leave.

Aaron Gudmunson