It has been six, nearly seven, years since the last volume in the Dark Tower series and if you, like me, didn't even like the fourth volume, it has been an even longer wait. Luckily this book delivers. It's all action, it's all about the Ka-tet and it's about The Dark Tower from front to back.
Having survived the last pages of Wizard and Glass our marry Ka-tet is moving quietly along the path of the Beam. The are getting some much deserved quiet time. Except for Susannah that is – she isn't getting much sleep these days. But besides that everybody is happy. Except the people of Calla Bryn Sturgis, a small village just down the road, from where our heroes are a the moment. The have just gotten the message, that a month from now the “Wolves” will swing by and steal half their children. They do this once every generation, and they always deliver them back after a couple of weeks. Except something vital seems to be missing from their brains, like their minds.
But as it is with small villages, they tend to be populated by farmers and not hardened warriors, so there doesn't seem to much to do about it. Except... what if they could get somebody to fight for them, like gunslingers. If only the world hadn't moved on and if only there where still gunslingers around...
So the stage is set for a showdown in the age old style of Seven Samurai or The Magnificent Seven (or even “Three Amigos”). The Gunslingers will teach the locals to fight, giving them a chance to get their self respect back and to protect their city. Only, this is the quest for the Dark Tower, so there is of cause a few twists to it all. What really is the Wolves, and why is it that nobody has ever manged to hide a child from them? Who is the Old Fella and can whatever he's in his church help the Ka-tet in its quest?
This is some of the best King that I've read in a long while. The story is well told and very intense, even if you kind of know what the result of the fight against the wolves will be from the beginning. King just keep on dropping hints about the Dark Tower and the forces fighting for and against, around and behind it. We learn a lot about the world of Roland and even some interesting bit about something that could easily be our own world.
The foreword to the story starts like this: "Wolves of the Calla is the fifth volume of a longer tale inspired by Robert Browning's narrative poem "Child Roland to the Dark Tower Came." The sixth, Song of Susannah, will be published in 2004. The seventh and last, The Dark Tower, will be published later the same year." That actually means that we will get the next to Dark Tower books next year!
Written on 24th November 2003 by TC.
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