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Summary

Stephen King's epic fantasy series, The Dark Tower, is being made into a major movie starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. Due in cinemas February 17, 2017 USA.

In this first novel in his epic fantasy masterpiece, Stephen King introduces listeners to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey into good and evil, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our own.

In his first step towards the powerful and mysterious Dark Tower, Roland encounters an alluring woman named Alice, begins a friendship with Jake, a kid from New York, and faces an agonising choice between damnation and salvation as he pursues the Man in Black.

Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, The Gunslinger leaves listeners eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

And the Tower is closer....

©1982 Stephen King (P)2003 Penguin Audiobooks

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • Chinnor, United Kingdom
  • 28-10-16

Tough going... But persevere through to book 2...

I seem to be at odds with some and in agreement with others. I found this the hardest Stephen King (audio) book to like. Normally I find everything by Stephen King absolutely gripping - but this felt like it was the beginning of a long and somewhat abstract journey (so far so SK in many respects) but without the somehow gripping narrative he usually demonstrates.

As it went on I found it more appealing - and by book 2 I was hooked and it was back to business as usual. So - do listen, do persevere (you might find it easier than I did) and before you know it you're right back in Mr. King's amazing worlds. Science fiction, fantasy, magic, unpleasantness more than horror (so far...) All good.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr
  • 27-12-12

Very atmospheric

I loved this audiobook. The Dark Tower novels are my favourite of Stephen King's work. This, the first book in the series, is an understated beginning to Roland's journey toward the Dark Tower, his pursuit of the man in black intercut with tales of his childhood and how he became a Gunslinger. The narrator's pacing and earthy voice really bring the story to life, and I'm already on to the second audiobook in the series. Highly recommended.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

No discernible plot

I'm a big fan of Stephen King but I've never read The Dark Tower series. I had high hopes for it. I couldn't get into this book, though. It was full of unspecified portent and assumption which I didn't follow at all. I could rarely remember what was going on, typically because it was so vague. By any chance are you supposed to read book 1 last? It's like a prequel written later.

Was very much looking forward to a new series, but now not sure whether to bother with book 2.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ian
  • Nuneaton, United Kingdom
  • 02-07-12

A must for any Stephen King fan !!

This is the first book of The Dark Tower Series

The audio book is very well read and is great as an introduction to the Dark Tower Series. Once you have finished this audio book you will be hooked and downloading the rest of the series

A must for any Stephen King fan !!



6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Martin
  • Inerness, United Kingdom
  • 09-07-12

Post apocolypse,Sci fi, alternative dimension?

Such a hard book to describe, it is I believe a book you can come back to at the end of the series and on re reading it make a lot more sense of what is going on. That does not detract from it being a great read first time around without any prior knowledge, which is where I am at the moment. in my teens I read a bit of Stephen King and really I remember none of his previous books I have tried being anything like this. I found with previous Stephen King books that there tends to be more of a linear plot that you can predict to some degree, that is not the case at all here. I have no idea where this plot is going, but I cannot wait to find out.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Updated Review following whole series (No spoilers

OK so after reading this book originally I gave it a dissapointing review. with this series it is not fair to judge it as one book but as a whole. As a series of books it was thought provoking sad and you can tell that this series for Stephen King was magnum opus.

A word of warning other books as referenced in this series so if you have not read all of Stephen kings work you may get some spoilers if your planning on reading more of his books.

i have read quite a few of Stephen Kings books and was planning on reading others however after this set I wont read any more as for me this was his masterpiece and as such I will always remember this.

one word of warning if you take on this series you will feel highs and lows and even possibly frustrated at times but it is all worth it (remember this was a real labour for Stephen King to write over decades). LISTEN TO THE AUTHORS RECCOMENDATION!!! IF YOU REMEMBER ONLY A FEW WORDS OF THE FEW MAKE SURE IT IS THIS

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Quite a good listen.

Difficult at first, but then riveting to the end. Not sure where I going to start with what with the changing scenarios Wild West, Modern New York Medieval England but starts to fall in place quite ingeniously as the story develops. Can hardly wait to see how the saga develops. Oh and kudos to the narrator Mr George Guidall for keeping the intensity flowing with his wonderful tones. Big thumbs up.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Craig
  • Northampton, United Kingdom
  • 01-08-12

Prologue

The whole book felt like a prologue to a tale yet to be told. Entertaining enough but lacking substance.

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A true journey for the child inside of you.

Stephen king manages to take you on a journey of pure, unbridled fun from start to finish. The gunslinger is a tuff but lovable man. As for the world building, King smoothly places the image of a worndown, dust world in which you feel the true sting of every step the gunslinger has to take along his journey. The ending of the book is what makes this read for me. A true thinking man's adventure novel.

One last thing about the narrator; he is spot on the entire time and never fails to deliver on a single line, I hope that he narrates the over books in this series as I will be getting the next one ASAP.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

this is not a western

I was expecting a western and then realised... must confess the story was a little confusing at times, but nevertheless worth a listen, not sure if going to get the next one...

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jacobus
  • 19-06-12

A Surrealistic Western that almost feels familiar

Have you ever wanted so badly to be part of a hype, just to discover that while others are going crazy about it, you are left out in the cold? The first book of the Dark Tower series makes me feel that way. I really want to be in on the joke, but I just can???t find the punch line.

???The Gunslinger??? is a story containing a mix western, fantasy, horror, blood and gore, fantasy and just plain weirdness. Roland of Gilead, the main character, is a sort of serious Cowboy Don Quixote on an obsessive quest, to catch the mysterious, possibly demonic, ???Man in Black.??? The story is set in a universe akin to ours with references very similar to ours, like ???the man Jesus??? and certain holy days. Yet it soon becomes clear that the story is not set in our world or in a typical wild western environment.

At times it feels that the story cries against all logic. I found Roland to be someone quite difficult to identify with. The way he kills of the whole town of Tull, even his sex partner, Allie, as well as the awkward ???relationship??? that he had with a nine year old boy called Jake are bizarre. Do I understand Stephen King correctly; Roland???s love for the boy was more than just parental love? It is disturbing, to say the least.

At the end of the book you do have an idea what a gunslinger is. You will have realised that Roland is the last gunslinger and that his obsession with catching the ???Man in Black??? against all costs, actually points the ethereal Dark Tower. The listener is left with more questions than after the book, than before.

George Guidall???s interpretative reading was fair. I am not sure if it is Stephen King or Guidall???s way of reading that made me feel detached from the story. I found that I had to re-listen certain parts of the recording to try to understand the story, yet for most of the time I followed Guidall???s reading easily.

Taking into account that this is the first book in ???The Dark Tower??? series, I shall also listen to the second book hoping I will discover the punch line and become part of the hype. But so far, I have mixed feelings about the book. I have learned that you could find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow if you persevere. This I hope is true in the case of ???The Dark Tower??? series.

I am not sure who the proposed readership of the book is, which also makes it difficult to evaluate the content. I suspect that Stephen King has set the table sufficiently for more to come. It is with hesitation that I laud the book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Bryan
  • 24-09-12

Great start for a great tale

What did you like best about this story?

The development of the character of Roland, from a mysterious unknown character into a man with a dark past, and a dark long journey to travel.

What does George Guidall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Gravelly voice, just what you'd imagine a gunslinger to sound like.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Wild west meets the end of the world

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Garry
  • 21-04-13

A Stephen King saga

Would you listen to The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger again? Why?

No, not again.

Any additional comments?

I got into this as it was written by Stephen King, I found this hard to get into but will continue for the whole series for if anything, Stephen King will draw you in eventually, twist and turn you and spit you out with you knowing you have been through something. I have a high hope for the other books

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian Lunnon
  • 26-04-18

I'm sorry.

I have read every book by Stephen king since the age of fourteen and enjoyed them all. I have never been tempted by the Dark Towers. Don't know why really..... just never have. After listening to a lot of his older books that I read long ago and the recent excellence of Sleeping Beauties that in desperation for a king fix I downloaded The gunslinger. Why o why o why. I tried and tried to get through it but gave up with 2hrs remaining. Life's to short. I love your work Stephen but I'm sorry this isn't for me.

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  • Pierre
  • 13-12-17

Very disappointed, yet brilliant performance.

Very disappointing story... Really looked forward to the series... Expected more, but a solid performance by narrator.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cynthia Richards
  • 22-11-17

Perfectly matched story and narrator

My favorite story in the world brought to life by the brilliant George Guidall! Start your Dark Tower journey with Stephen King’s The Gunslinger and you will be hooked.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 10-11-17

hooked

gritty, compelling, intriguing and a bit... dangerous. love this book! ol' Stephen at his best

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marco Olofsson
  • 25-09-17

Fantastic riverting story, terrible narrator.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I can't say I would change anything about the book, but rather the narrator. Other than that, the book might be a little slow to get into, but it makes it worth your while in the end.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Roland, he's the gunslinger, duh?

How could the performance have been better?

The performance could've been much better if George Guidall didn't have such a thick southern accent that made it nearly impossible for you to understand what he was talking about. The thing about audio books is that hey help you imagine the scene that's happening in the book, by somebody telling you it, but I could barely comprehend what he said.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No, absoloutely not. I do not think this book would fit well to the big screen.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 21-08-17

a bit hard to follow

i found the story fun and encapsulating but the story was a bit hard to follow

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jensen
  • 07-03-17

I must be missing something

Any additional comments?

I keep seeing five star reviews with a whole lot of gushing over this book, so I decided to try it, and I just don't get it, I was bored, seriously bored.
Not for me, I suppose.