Skip to main content
PBS logo

Search - The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1)

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1)
The Gunslinger - The Dark Tower, Book 1
Author: Stephen King
Roland, the world's last gunslinger, tracks an enigmatic Man in Black toward a forbidding dark tower, fighting forces both mortal and other-worldly on his quest.
Info icon
ISBN-13: 9780451210845
ISBN-10: 0451210840
Publication Date: 6/2003
Pages: 336
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 345 ratings
Publisher: Signet Book
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
A Great start to a amazing saga, great for King fans.
reviewed The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
An entirely different style than King's other novels. He wrote this series over decades and I consider it to be one of his greatest works.
reviewed The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) on + 24 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
In the first book of this brilliant series, Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, the last gunslinger. Nothing will ever be the same. Roland's quest for the Dark Tower takes readers on a wildly epic ride - through parallel worlds and across time. A classic tale of colossal scope - crossing over terrain from the Strand, The Eyes of the Dragon, Insomnia, The Talisman, Black House, Hearts in Atlantis, Salem's Lot, and other family King haunts - the adventure takes hold with the turn of each page.

This heroic fantasy is set in a world of ominous landscape and macabre menace that is a dark mirror of our own. A spellbinding tale of good versus evil, it features one of Stephen King's most powerful creations - the gunslinger, a haunting figure who embodies the qualities of the lone hero through the ages, from ancient myth to frontier Western legend.

The gunslinger's quest involves the pursuit of the man in black, a liaison with the sexually ravenous Alice, and a friendship with the boy from New York called Jake. Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, The gunslinger is stunning proof of Stephen King's storytelling sorcery.

"A compelling whirlpool of a story that draws one irretrievably to its center." --Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
reviewed The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
The gunslinger is and excellent book, but I thought it was so much better before King revised it. When he first introduced that smarmy way of talking in The Wastelands' scene, I thought it was cute, but to make everyone in the whole series talk that way, even going back to make previous characters talk that way, is just annoying. Therefore, I don't care to keep this book; but it's still a good story.
reviewed The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
An excellent read up to the 3/4 mark. Great feel, wonderful blend of genres (Western, post-apocalyptic SF, horror). The last quarter gets lost to some degree. Falls apart in being all about the "set up" of the series as a whole rather than about resolving the story just told. Takes what has heretofore been intriguing glimpses of a greater whole and turns the tactic to more manipulative end by creating a mish-mash of "words that mean nothing" as if the effect will be perceived prophetic rather than simply jumbled and unfocused. The implication that this section holds some deeper meaning that might be divined by greater study? Falls apart under the duress of greater study. But that being said, the first 3/4 of the book is good enough to make reading it worthwhile, if not wholly satisfying.
Read All 31 Book Reviews of "The Gunslinger The Dark Tower Book 1"

Please Log in to Rate these Book Reviews

reviewed The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) on
The beginning of a great series. A bit wordy, descriptive than action packed - but necessary for the series to make sense.
SteveTheDM avatar reviewed The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) on + 204 more book reviews
This is definitely the start of something larger. The gunslinger chases after the Man in Black, over a bleak terrain...

There's a lot of mood setting here, and an introduction to the strange in the world that's been created. It doesn't feel like typical King at all, though that may have more to do with the age he was when he wrote the book, more than anything else.

Worth reading, if you feel committed to King's whole magnum opus, but it's sure not a last minute airport purchase...

4 of 5 stars.
truthsayer avatar reviewed The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) on + 21 more book reviews
A long book that mostly kept me entertained waiting for something to happen with a few peaks of something happening that pretty much never made any sense. Yes, definitely weird with Tolkien and western influences. It's kind of like Mel Gibson in Road Warrior meets John Wayne in True Grit meets Final Destination or something like that. I bought the second one after I finished this one. I guess because I'm intrigued enough with The Gunslinger to see if something will happen in that one. It's either a work of genius or one of the worst books I've ever read. I'm not certain which yet.
reviewed The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) on + 298 more book reviews
awesome series..
bethnorthwest avatar reviewed The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) on
Although I'm a Stephen King fan, I didn't like this book at all. Admittedly, I'm not keen on either fantasy or western genres and The Gunslinger is both, but a friend recommended it and I thought I'd like it anyway.

The book is an early Stephen King work, and though he did some rewriting before this publication, it doesn't have the literary mastery of many of his later novels. I also found it hard to get past some of the language used, words and phrases indicative of a world different than our own. They only distracted me from the story. Roland was mostly an unsympathetic protagonist and I found him difficult to relate to or care about. He and the other characters fell flat.

Reading The Gunslinger felt like the title character's quest across the desert - slow, dry, and without much to sustain my interest. I collapsed, parched and exhausted, halfway through and didn't make it the rest of the way.
waterbearer avatar reviewed The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) on + 62 more book reviews
Roland Deschain is introduced as the gunslinger whose epic journey to find the Man in Black spans over 25 years as King dishes out Dark Tower books 1-7. Who knew the opening line "the Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed" would be the beginning of King's "Magnum Opus". This is certainly the shortest of The Dark Tower books and those that are not necessarily King fans would enjoy it. The Dark Tower is a world in and of itself,,,,if you let yourself get pulled in, keep in mind it takes a lot of time to get through all of those books, but it's worth it. Roland is my hero!
reviewed The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) on
excellent book