The Dark Tower

Version: Unabridged
Author: Stephen King
Narrator: George Guidall
Genres: Fantasy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published In: September 2004
# of Units: 24 CDs
Length: 29 hours
Ratings:
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Overview

All good things must come to an end, Constant Listener, and not even Stephen King can write a story that goes on forever. The tale of Roland Deschain's relentless quest for the Dark Tower has, the author fears, sorely tried the patience of those who have followed it from its earliest chapters. But attend to it a while longer, if it pleases you, for this volume is the last, and often the last things are best.
Roland's ka-tet remains intact, though scattered over wheres and whens. Susannah-Mia has been carried from the Dixie Pig (in the summer of 1999) to a birthing room -- really a chamber of horrors -- in Thunderclap's Fedic Station; Jake and Father Callahan, with Oy between them, have entered the restaurant on Lex and 61st with weapons drawn, little knowing how numerous and noxious are their foes. Roland and Eddie are with John Cullum in Maine, in 1977, looking for the site on Turtleback Lane where "walk-ins" have been often seen. They want desperately to get back to the others, to Susannah especially, and yet they have come to realize that the world they need to escape is the only one that matters.

Thus the audiobook opens, like a door to the uttermost reaches of Stephen King's imagination. You've come this far. Come a little farther. Come all the way. The sound you hear may be the slamming of the door behind you. Welcome to The Dark Tower.

Reviews (14)

The Dark Tower

Written by Holianne on November 26th, 2013

  • Book Rating: 5/5

The Dark Tower series was an incredibly detailed and imaginative work by King. I won't reveal the ending, but I will say that it was...unexpected. The characters throughout King's masterpiece are full and entertaining and well rounded. Their actions and dialogues are natural which helps submerse the reader into the worlds that King takes you. Although some of the parts of this story are so incredulous, King's talents for story telling make them believeable. This is a MUST read for any TRUE King fan!

Dang it - I am sad it is over!

Written by Anonymous on April 25th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I really am a huge Stephen King fan (again, not his #1 fan) I was happy to be able to get such a long book in an audio format! I have had the Dark Tower VII on my coffee table for a couple of years and haven't been able to sit and read it. I can't start one of his books without finishing it! The audiobook kept me engaged, but allowed me to rest and "digest" what I had heard on my commute to work each day. It did take longer than I had hoped, but at least I finished it and I am glad and sad to have reached the end of that 25 year saga! I hope there will be more spin-offs (heard it through the online grapevine) dealing with these characters and maybe some America-side counterparts.

Finished...

Written by Anonymous on March 19th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Well the series is over and I am sad that it is so. Not a big fan of the ending, but I suppose it is just King being King. At least there are still graphic novels about the Dark Tower universe.

The Dark Tower (Book 7)

Written by Sabrina Lightfoot on May 21st, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This series never stops entertaining or mesmerizing. Great ending...for now!

The Dark Tower

Written by Scott Anderson from Poplar Grove, IL on December 10th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This was the best book series that I have ever read. Stephen King has made himself legendary through his awesome word slinging ability. It will be hard to enjoy other fiction books after these seven, King really sets the bar. I loved the ending it was so unexpected. You have not read anything until you have read this series.

Dark Tower VII

Written by Lynn Smoak on August 27th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Finally, the outcome of a very long story. With each passing volume, I became more and more enthalled with the story. The ending, though typically Stephen King strange, was good. I shed many a tear and cried myself to sleep on two nights during this final volume, but then it was better. Ronald continued his quest alone but Jake, Suzanna and Eddie were miraculously reunited as only Stephen King could do. I am glad SK was not killed in his real-life accident so he could finish the story. I may do the entire series again. It was that good.

Dark Tower VII: the Dark Tower

Written by Amy Gregory on March 31st, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I've read (and re-read) the first 6 books in the Dark Tower Series and this is the first one I've listened to on audio. I was hestitant at first undertaking a huge committment to listen to (how many disks are there???) the characters really do come alive and I am enjoying the book very much.

Dark Tower VII

Written by Paul Robb on March 20th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

The Dark Tower Series was a great journey. I didn't love it all, but it kept me reading. The last book in the series was neither better or worse than any before it. The ending fit the story well, and was generally satisfying for me. Obviously, you have to read the whole series to appreciate this book. My only complaint about the series is that at times it bothered me to have the author include himself as a character. In the end I decided it all made sense, but it did take me out of my "suspension of disbelief" once in a while. Overall, I recommend it.

A good ending to a great story.

Written by Walter Mallon on March 15th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

An unanticipated ending to a great story. I've read most of this series twice and loved it both times. I am grateful that Mr. King was able to finish this series. If you like the Gunslinger, you will like this book. It moves really fast. He may have been able to make two books out of this one, but I still enjoyed it very much.

Amazing Ending to an amazing story

Written by Dan Pressley from Fort Worth, TX on February 3rd, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Getting through all 7 books has taken me well over a year to complete. The journey is the best part of these books. Book 7 was worth the wait and while it may not end like some people would have liked, Stephen King did a good job of tying all the loose ends together. I personally liked the ending and felt it was appropriate.

Author Details

Author Details

King, Stephen

American novelist and short-story writer, whose enormously popular books revived the interest in horror fiction from the 1970s. King's place in the modern horror fiction can be compared to that of J.R.R. Tolkien's who created the modern genre of fantasy. Like Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens or Balzac in his La Com├ędie humaine, King has expressed the fundamental concerns of his era, and used the horror genre as his own branch of artistic expression. King has underlined, that even in the world of cynicism, despair, and cruelties, it remains possible for individuals to find love and discover unexpected resources in themselves. His characters often conquer their own problems and malevolent powers that would suppress or destroy them.

"I wish I could get away from horror for a while, and I do - or I think I do, and then suddenly I discover that I'm like the guy in the poem by Auden who runs and runs and finally ends up in a cheap, one-night hotel. He goes down a hallway and opens a door, and there he meets himself sitting under a naked light bulb, writing." (King in Faces of Fear by Douglas E. Winter, 1990)

Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine. His father, a merchant seaman, deserted the family in 1950. The young Stephen and his brother David were raised in Durham, Maine, by their mother who worked in odd jobs to support her children. At the age of six, he had his eardrum punctured several times - a painful experience which he never forgot. King attended a grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High school, where he started to write short stories and played in an amateur rock band. In 1960 he submitted his first story for publication - it was rejected. He edited the school newspaper, The Drum, and also wrote for the local newspaper, Lisbon Weekly Enterprise. His first story, entitled 'In a Half-World of Terror', King published in a horror fanzine. In 1970 King graduated from the University of Maine. Next year he married Tabitha Spruce, who has also gained fame as a writer. "My wife is the person in my life who's most likely to say I'm working too hard, it's time to slow down, stay away from that damn PowerBook for a little while, Steve, give it a rest." (from On Writing, 2000) Most of his career King has lived in Bangor, Maine. Many of his books are set in the imaginary town of Castle Rock, Maine, which is totally destroyed by greed in Needful Things (1993).

From 1971 to 1974 King was an instructor at the Hampden Academy, earning $6,400 a year. His first novel, Carrie (1974), was a tale of a girl with telekinetic powers. King had thrown the first pages of the story in a garbage pail, but his wife rescued them and urged him to finish the work. Carrie had first only a moderate success and sold 13 000 copies in hardcover. However, Signet paid $400,000 for its paperback rights. Carrie's film version was launched in 1976 and after the breakthrough novel Salem's Lot (1976), King established quickly his reputation as a major horror writer. In the late summer of 1974 King moved with his family to Colorado for an extended holiday. He visited the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, and set there his next novel, The Shining. Stanley Kubrick's film version of the book, from 1977, did not satisfy the author, and he King himself turned his novel into a television miniseries in 1997.

In the late 1970s King published his first paperbacks under the name of Richard Bachman. The Talisman (1984) and its sequel, The Black House (2001), were written with Peter Staub. King has also published non-fiction. In his collection of essays, Danse Macabre (1981), King described the writing process as a kind of "dance" in which the author searches out the private fears of each reader. In the textbook of macabre he goes through the horror genre, from film monsters to books, focusing mostly on the post-war era. "It's not a dance of death at all, not really. There is a third lever here, as well. It is, at bottom, a dance of dreams. It's a way of awakening the child inside, who never dies but only sleeps ever more deeply. If the horror story is rehearsal for death, then its strict moralities make it also a reaffirmation of life and good will and simple imagination - just one more pipeline to the infinite." (from Dance Macabre)

After writing The Pet Sematary King considered he don't need to publish his "thebmost wretched, awful thing" he made, Bag of Bones (1998). The story dealt with the grief process in an uncompromising way. In Bag of Bones King returned to the theme of loss of a family member, and added into it the classical haunted house idea and familiar elements from his previous works: a small town where people know more than they tell, the collective guilty, and a hero who can't avoid confrontation with the evil powers. Old crimes, sins and secrets, hidden deep, are gradually revealed in an analysis of the conscious and unconscious like on a Freud's sofa. Playing with fire, King plunges into the mind of Mike Noonan, an author who suffers from the writer's block. Noonan's wife has died unexpectedly and he retreats to Sara Laughs, their happy home during summers. There he meets a young mother, Mattie, and her daughter, whom he helps in an custody struggle. - Mattie is one of the liveliest characters in King's works. Her sudden death, a logical twist of the plot, comes like electric shock. In the last pages of the novel Noonan/King returns to it and states correctly that 'to think I might have written such a hellishly convenient death in a book, ever, sickens me.' Bag of Bones continues the series where King explorers the writing process and the work of an author. The Shining, Misery, The Dark Half and now Bag of Bones are among his most revealing and personal works. - King is not among those writers who claim that they don't have time to read. Bag of Bones offers a delightful analysis of Herman Melville's story Bartleby, and comments about books and authors. Among them is Thomas Hardy, who stopped writing novels at the peak of his career and changed into poetry. Hardy supposedly said, that the most brilliantly drawn character in a novel is but a bag of bones.

A number of King's stories have been adapted into screen, among others Carrie (1976), The Shining (1980), Misery (1990), The Shawshank Redemption (1995), and The Green Mile (1999). His novels are richly textured with multitudinous references to films, television, rock music, literature, popular culture, and in his own books. Several of early King's novels explored the agonies of childhood, parental neglect and abuse (Carrie; Firestarter, 1980). In the 1980s his perspective shifted into the various pains of adulthood, the loneliness of older people (It, 1986; Insomnia, 1994). He has also provided fully-realized women characters in such novels as Gerald's Game (1992), Dolores Clairborne (1993), and Rose Madder (1995).

'"Michela reads all your books," the fat woman said. "Where in the world do you get all those crazy ideas?"
"I don't know," Kinnell said, smiling more widely than ever. "They just come to me. Isn't that amazing?"'
(from 'The Road Virus Heads North', 1999)

King's Dark Tower series, which started in 1982 with The Gunslinger, has combined Tolkien's sense of wonder with a horror and Sergio-Leone influenced Western. Partly the novel is based on Robert Browning's narrative poem, 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came'. The world of Roland has many intertextual relationships with King's other books and maps the boundaries of his imagination or universe. Occasionally characters cross over from one genre to another, from fantasy to realism. Roland and his friends, other gunslingers, are helped by the Old Fella, Father Callahan from Salem's Lot.

King confesses in On Writing that he had problems with alcohol as early as in 1975, when he wrote The Shining, and he also developed in the 1980s a drung addiction. In June 1999 King was struck by a van and seriously injured. Soon after the accident, in July, King began publishing a serial novel, entitled The Plant, at his website, stephenking.com. In the story a supernatural vine starts to grow in a paperback publishing house. It brings success and riches and all it wants in return is a little drop of blood, a little flesh. King also announced that he will not continue with the story if payments for downloading the work fall off. "What made The Plant such a hilarious Internet natural (at least to my admittedly twisted mind) was that publishers and media people seem to see exactly this sort of monster whenever they contemplate the Net in general and e-lit in particular: a troublesome strangler fig that just might have a bit o' the old profit in it. If, that is, it's handled with gloves." (King in Time, January 8, 2001)

While convalescing from the accident, King returned to his early career as a writer in On Writing (2000), but most of all, the book gives down-to-earth advises for aspiring writers. "Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex and work. Especially work. People love to read about work. God knows why, but they do." In February 2002 King revealed to the Los Angeles Times that he has decided to stop publishing at year's end after finishing the last three novels in his "Dark Tower" series, and some other works. In 2003 King received the National Book Award. Its previous recipients include John Updike, Arthur Miller, Philip Roth and Toni Morrison. From Lisey's Story (2006) onwards, King's stories seems to have taken a new turn, in which the horror is not only a genre manifestation but the feelings of angst and fear are a definition of the whole human existence.

From the beginning of his career, King has examined the demons that are hidden behind the work of an author. In Misery a monstrous muse forces the writer into a slavery in front of typewriter. The writer is addicted to his work, but at the same time he is haunted by the demands of his fans. Although King is respected as a major force in popular fiction, his books blend the line between high art and pulp culture. In The Shining the writer, Jack Torrance, a former alcoholic, attacks his own family, and in The Dark Half (1898) he must fight against the demon of his own imagination. This self-conscious way to approach the art of fiction is also seen in King's controlled use of images that are meant to scare the reader. In Hearts in Atlantis (1999) typical horror elements are reduced as a metaphor of lost innocence. In the story King pointedly refers to William Golding's modern classic, Lord of the Flies.