Last year I took part in Teresa & Jenny’s Dark Tower readalong at Shelf Love, but I dropped out after book four in the series. I didn’t have the time to get through the increasing page-count then, but was definitely hooked by the genre-busting dystopian western cum SF & fantasy series.
I always intended to return the following summer to read the remaining couple of thousand pages! However, events prompted me to pick up book five sooner; more of that below.
The Dark Tower #5 – Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King
This is a series of books which you have to begin at the beginning, it would be nigh on impossible to join in successfully partway through, despite the author’s summary at the beginning of each volume.
The Wolves of the Calla introduces a major new character. Pere Callahan is an ex-drunk priest from New York who, like the rest of Roland Deschain’s ka-tet (fate-bound compadres), found his way into Roland’s world when life got too hot in his own. The ka-tet make his acquaintance as they stop in Calla Bryn Sturgis on their quest to the tower, and we soon find out that he will become essential to the story.
Meanwhile the folks of the Calla are expecting something awful to happen, and believe that the Gunslingers could be their salvation. Once every generation, the ‘Wolves’ arrive in force and carry away half the children, who return to their families years later as mutant idiots. They can’t let it happen again…
This traditional Western guns-for-hire against the bandits story forms the back-bone to this chunkster, but the real plot developments are in all the other bits. It gets quite complex but holes get filled in and back-stories expanded, and more strands start. Such is King’s skill though that it all hangs together really well. The final battle is everything it should be, and the cliff-hanger coda left me dying to open volume six. (8.5/10)
Or should I read the new volume 4.5 instead?
King’s latest novel is another in the Dark Tower series set between books 4 & 5 called The Wind Through the Keyhole. Jenny and Teresa have already read and reviewed it here.
I only really mention it because I entered a Facebook competition to have my photo included in a photo montage on the back cover of the UK hardback – and I’m on there – somewhere!
I was sent a link to my exact location – but the link is now broken and I can’t remember where I am (serve me right for not printing it out). There are over 7000 photos on there, so it may take some time with an enlargement and a magnifying glass to find me again if I bother.
I bought my copies. To explore further on Amazon UK, please click below:
The Dark Tower #5 – Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King, Pub Hodder 2003, 771pp.
The Wind Through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel by Stephen King, pub Hodder & Stoughton, April 2012, Hardback 352pp