Oh, I finished the work of a lifetime the other day

The Dark Tower 1: The GunslingerNot my lifetime as it only took me a month or so to read but it is most definitely the work of Stephen King's lifetime - The Dark Tower (nice Flash intro)

I'm not really a Stephen King fan. Not that I've anything against him but I was just never drawn to his writing. I did read The Shining and recall having a good and scary time during it but, well, that was it for me.

A few months ago I came off a few weeks of reading some heavy true/biographical type books and was looking for something completely different. I tend to wander into Scorpios for inspiration and wander around as if it's my very own sanctuary.

The Dark Tower 2: The Drawing of the ThreeI then get overwhelmed and after an hour walk right back out for a breather.

This time I had to get something as I was bereft of reading material ... I don't count Liz's chick-flicks as reading material to which I know I'm being overly critical but, I don't.

So, after picking up every book in all the usual suspects, SciFi, Fantasy, Biography, Science, Arts, Novels (modern and classic) I finally forced myself to make a decision - The Gunslinger (1982) by Stephen King, part one of seven.

It was both the opening line:
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

The Dark Tower 3: The Waste Lands... and the updated intro that hooked me in. I don't know if you know but The Dark Tower is the all encompassing story that King has been writing since he was 19. All his other books are in some way referenced by/to this story and he's been slaving away at it most of his working life.

But it was never the books he was known for. At his book signings he'd ask for a show of hands of who'd read any of his books and, unsurprisingly, nearly everyone had. Then he'd ask those that had read any of The Dark Tower books to keep their hands up, most went down.

The Dark Tower 4: Wizard and GlassHere he was, very successful but not for what he counted as his life's work.

He had released up to book three or four before he got knocked down by some hoon in a pickup truck whilst King was out for an evenings constitutional. The response was overwhelming - "Aw man, there goes the ending to The Dark Tower!". He realised that there was a huge underground waiting for each episode. What would happen to Roland of Gilead?

The Dark Tower 5: Wolves of the CallaAnd so, in the past couple of years he finished them. It is done.
I read 'em all, one after the other without stopping. As he says, it's really one story that doesn't have to chopped up but it would be too big for the bookshelf.

And I have to say, it was a journey. I'm not sure I'll read it all again but, well, I'm keeping them because I just might. There's enough that I missed/have forgotten that will draw me back over the years. And it ("they") challenged me, it questioned some of my perceptions, it entertained me and if had the King "horror" that would have had me worried at night if I was younger.

The Dark Tower 6: Song of SusannahI enjoyed it. But mostly I feel like I've been on a journey with Stephen King, almost like I've been privy to his diary/journal and I've grown with him and a privilege to be allowed in.

To put these books into a category think Fantasy(ish), SciFi, Western, Horror, Medieval all in a big pot, cooked for a long time and out comes something that tastes nothing you've had before. It's unique but it's ingredients can sometimes be quite distinctive.

The Dark Tower 7:The Dark TowerAnd the ending is very VERY clever and will have no-one asking for more as it ... well, I'll leave that for you to discover. Enjoy the trip if you decide to take it.

Oh, and this, after Lord Of The Rings, is the next "they can never make them into films" - someone will. I trust they do it justice.

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