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  1. #1
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    For Stephen King lovers and those who love epic adventure stories

    I'm currently reading The Dark Tower novels. I'm on the third one atm and there are seven in all.
    These novels, IMO, are King's greatest ever written (and I've read nearly all of his work, so that is high praise indeed). He fuses many elements and characters from his other novels into this one, and seems to have been in some strange way writing this epic the entire time he was writing his other works.
    Weird Sci/Fi, Horror themes are incorporated into this greatest of works ( like the alternate dimensions of From a Buick 8, or the weird Gov. experiments of both Hearts in Atlantis and Fire Starter).
    King says he was inspired primarily by the poem, Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came by. Robert Browning, and if you have never heard of it before I urge you to read (I have left a copy of it below).
    “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”

    Robert Browning (1812–89)


    MY 1 first thought was, he lied in every word,
    That hoary cripple, with malicious eye
    Askance to watch the working of his lie
    On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford
    Suppression of the glee, that purs’d and scor’d 5
    Its edge, at one more victim gain’d thereby.

    What else should he be set for, with his staff?
    What, save to waylay with his lies, ensnare
    All travellers who might find him posted there,
    And ask the road? I guess’d what skull-like laugh 10
    Would break, what crutch ’gin write my epitaph
    For pastime in the dusty thoroughfare,

    If at his counsel I should turn aside
    Into that ominous tract which, all agree,
    Hides the Dark Tower. Yet acquiescingly 15
    I did turn as he pointed: neither pride
    Nor hope rekindling at the end descried,
    So much as gladness that some end might be.

    For, what with my whole world-wide wandering,
    What with my search drawn out thro’ years, my hope 20
    Dwindled into a ghost not fit to cope
    With that obstreperous joy success would bring,—
    I hardly tried now to rebuke the spring
    My heart made, finding failure in its scope.

    As when a sick man very near to death 25
    Seems dead indeed, and feels begin and end
    The tears and takes the farewell of each friend,
    And hears one bid the other go, draw breath
    Freelier outside, (“since all is o’er,” he saith,
    “And the blow fallen no grieving can amend;”) 30

    While some discuss if near the other graves
    Be room enough for this, and when a day
    Suits best for carrying the corpse away,
    With care about the banners, scarves and staves,
    And still the man hears all, and only craves 35
    He may not shame such tender love and stay.

    Thus, I had so long suffer’d, in this quest,
    Heard failure prophesied so oft, been writ
    So many times among “The Band”—to wit,
    The knights who to the Dark Tower’s search address’d 40
    Their steps—that just to fail as they, seem’d best.
    And all the doubt was now—should I be fit?

    So, quiet as despair, I turn’d from him,
    That hateful cripple, out of his highway
    Into the path the pointed. All the day 45
    Had been a dreary one at best, and dim
    Was settling to its close, yet shot one grim
    Red leer to see the plain catch its estray.

    For mark! no sooner was I fairly found
    Pledged to the plain, after a pace or two, 50
    Than, pausing to throw backward a last view
    O’er the safe road, ’t was gone; gray plain all round:
    Nothing but plain to the horizon’s bound.
    I might go on; nought else remain’d to do.

    So, on I went. I think I never saw 55
    Such starv’d ignoble nature; nothing throve:
    For flowers—as well expect a cedar grove!
    But cockle, spurge, according to their law
    Might propagate their kind, with none to awe,
    You ’d think; a burr had been a treasure trove. 60

    No! penury, inertness and grimace,
    In the strange sort, were the land’s portion. “See
    Or shut your eyes,” said Nature peevishly,
    “It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:
    ’T is the Last Judgment’s fire must cure this place, 65
    Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free.”

    If there push’d any ragged thistle=stalk
    Above its mates, the head was chopp’d; the bents
    Were jealous else. What made those holes and rents
    In the dock’s harsh swarth leaves, bruis’d as to baulk 70
    All hope of greenness? ’T is a brute must walk
    Pashing their life out, with a brute’s intents.

    As for the grass, it grew as scant as hair
    In leprosy; thin dry blades prick’d the mud
    Which underneath look’d kneaded up with blood. 75
    One stiff blind horse, his every bone a-stare,
    Stood stupefied, however he came there:
    Thrust out past service from the devil’s stud!

    Alive? he might be dead for aught I know,
    With that red, gaunt and collop’d neck a-strain, 80
    And shut eyes underneath the rusty mane;
    Seldom went such grotesqueness with such woe;
    I never saw a brute I hated so;
    He must be wicked to deserve such pain.

    I shut my eyes and turn’d them on my heart. 85
    As a man calls for wine before he fights,
    I ask’d one draught of earlier, happier sights,
    Ere fitly I could hope to play my part.
    Think first, fight afterwards—the soldier’s art:
    One taste of the old time sets all to rights. 90

    Not it! I fancied Cuthbert’s reddening face
    Beneath its garniture of curly gold,
    Dear fellow, till I almost felt him fold
    An arm in mine to fix me to the place,
    That way he us’d. Alas, one night’s disgrace! 95
    Out went my heart’s new fire and left it cold.

    Giles then, the soul of honor—there he stands
    Frank as ten years ago when knighted first.
    What honest man should dare (he said) he durst.
    Good—but the scene shifts—faugh! what hangman hands 100
    Pin to his breast a parchment? His own bands
    Read it. Poor traitor, spit upon and curst!

    Better this present than a past like that;
    Back therefore to my darkening path again!
    No sound, no sight as far as eye could strain. 105
    Will the night send a howlet of a bat?
    I asked: when something on the dismal flat
    Came to arrest my thoughts and change their train.

    A sudden little river cross’d my path
    As unexpected as a serpent comes. 110
    No sluggish tide congenial to the glooms;
    This, as it froth’d by, might have been a bath
    For the fiend’s glowing hoof—to see the wrath
    Of its black eddy bespate with flakes and spumes.

    So petty yet so spiteful All along, 115
    Low scrubby alders kneel’d down over it;
    Drench’d willows flung them headlong in a fit
    Of mute despair, a suicidal throng:
    The river which had done them all the wrong,
    Whate’er that was, roll’d by, deterr’d no whit. 120

    Which, while I forded,—good saints, how I fear’d
    To set my foot upon a dead man’s cheek,
    Each step, or feel the spear I thrust to seek
    For hollows, tangled in his hair or beard!
    —It may have been a water-rat I spear’d, 125
    But, ugh! it sounded like a baby’s shriek.

    Glad was I when I reach’d the other bank.
    Now for a better country. Vain presage!
    Who were the strugglers, what war did they wage
    Whose savage trample thus could pad the dank 130
    Soil to a plash? Toads in a poison’d tank,
    Or wild cats in a red-hot iron cage—

    The fight must so have seem’d in that fell cirque.
    What penn’d them there, with all the plain to choose?
    No foot-print leading to that horrid mews, 135
    None out of it. Mad brewage set to work
    Their brains, no doubt, like galley-slaves the Turk
    Pits for his pastime, Christians against Jews.

    And more than that—a furlong on—why, there!
    What bad use was that engine for, that wheel, 140
    Or brake, not wheel—that harrow fit to reel
    Men’s bodies out like silk? with all the air
    Of Tophet’s tool, on earth left unaware,
    Or brought to sharpen its rusty teeth of steel.

    Then came a bit of stubb’d ground, once a wood, 145
    Next a marsh, it would seem, and now mere earth
    Desperate and done with; (so a fool finds mirth,
    Makes a thing and then mars it, till his mood
    Changes and off he goes!) within a rood—
    Bog, clay, and rubble, sand and stark black dearth. 150

    Now blotches rankling, color’d gay and grim,
    Now patches where some leanness of the soil’s
    Broke into moss or substances like thus;
    Then came some palsied oak, a cleft in him
    Like a distorted mouth that splits its rim 155
    Gaping at death, and dies while it recoils.

    And just as far as ever from the end,
    Nought in the distance but the evening, nought
    To point my footstep further! At the thought,
    A great black bird, Apollyon’s bosom-friend, 160
    Sail’d past, nor beat his wide wing dragon-penn’d
    That brush’d my cap—perchance the guide I sought.

    For, looking up, aware I somehow grew,
    Spite of the dusk, the plain had given place
    All round to mountains—with such name to grace 165
    Mere ugly heights and heaps now stolen in view.
    How thus they had surpris’d me,—solve it, you!
    How to get from them was no clearer case.

    Yet half I seem’d to recognize some trick
    Of mischief happen’d to me, God knows when— 170
    In a bad perhaps. Here ended, then,
    Progress this way. When, in the very nick
    Of giving up, one time more, came a click
    As when a trap shuts—you ’re inside the den.

    Burningly it came on me all at once, 175
    This was the place! those two hills on the right,
    Couch’d like two bulls lock’d horn in horn in fight,
    While, to the left, a tall scalp’d mountain … Dunce,
    Dotard, a-dozing at the very nonce,
    After a life spent training for the sight! 180

    What in the midst lay but the Tower itself?
    The round squat turret, blind as the fool’s heart,
    Built of brown stone, without a counter-part
    In the whole world. The tempest’s mocking elf
    Points to the shipman thus the unseen shelf 185
    He strikes on, only when the timbers start.

    Not see? because of night perhaps?—Why, day
    Came back again for that! before it left,
    The dying sunset kindled through a cleft:
    The hills, like giants at a hunting, lay, 190
    Chin upon hand, to see the game at bay,—
    “Now stab and end the creature—to the heft!”

    Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it toll’d
    Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
    Of all the lost adventurers my peers,— 195
    How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
    And such was fortunate, yet each of old
    Lost, lost! one moment knell’d the woe of years.

    There they stood, ranged along the hill-sides, met
    To view the last of me, a living frame 200
    For one more picture! in a sheet of flame
    I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
    Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
    And blew “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.”
    If you are a fan of King then you must read the Dark Tower series if you already haven't.
     
         

  2. #2
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    Re: For Stephen King lovers and those who love epic adventure stories

    Wow just read the whole thing.. Nice.
     
         

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    Senior Member Nimmy's Avatar
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    Re: For Stephen King lovers and those who love epic adventure stories

    I love Stephen King's books. I haven't gotten around to reading the Dark Tower series yet, but I own it. Now I know which of his books to read next, since you say they're really good. :D
     
         

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    Re: For Stephen King lovers and those who love epic adventure stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Nimmy View Post
    I love Stephen King's books. I haven't gotten around to reading the Dark Tower series yet, but I own it. Now I know which of his books to read next, since you say they're really good. :D
    They are. I'm about to finish reading it as soon as I leave school.
     
         

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    Re: For Stephen King lovers and those who love epic adventure stories

    Just read under the dome only own first book in series havent started it yet.
     
         

  6. #6
    The Alchemist's Avatar
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    Re: For Stephen King lovers and those who love epic adventure stories

    Quote Originally Posted by sagedog View Post
    Just read under the dome only own first book in series havent started it yet.
    From the start you'll be hooked. It starts with a confrontation and the end of the chapter will leave you thinking too.
     
         

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    Re: For Stephen King lovers and those who love epic adventure stories

    Quote Originally Posted by The Alchemist View Post
    From the start you'll be hooked. It starts with a confrontation and the end of the chapter will leave you thinking too.
    Nice. Got a used bookstore by my house hope I can get all of them there. Been reading King since 94 (Im 32 ) so pretty much cant beleive i havent read any yet
     
         

  8. #8
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    Re: For Stephen King lovers and those who love epic adventure stories

    I love Stephen King novels! And I have to say, this was a very interesting read!

    Sadly, I have never read the Dark Tower series. Would you suggest it? Because I was thinking of reading it soon, actually.
     
         

  9. #9
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    Re: For Stephen King lovers and those who love epic adventure stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Jubi-Sama View Post
    I love Stephen King novels! And I have to say, this was a very interesting read!

    Sadly, I have never read the Dark Tower series. Would you suggest it? Because I was thinking of reading it soon, actually.
    Yes. It is a great read full of action, adventure, surreal Sci/Fi themes, etc;
    If you love King you'll love this. It even has the priest from one of his earlier novels in it (I forget the guys name) and the old man from Heart's in Atlantis.
     
         

  10. #10
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    Re: For Stephen King lovers and those who love epic adventure stories

    Quote Originally Posted by The Alchemist View Post
    Yes. It is a great read full of action, adventure, surreal Sci/Fi themes, etc;
    If you love King you'll love this. It even has the priest from one of his earlier novels in it (I forget the guys name) and the old man from Heart's in Atlantis.
    Oh jeez, I have a feeling I'll love this series!

    What is the name of the first book in the series? (Don't tell me it's "The Dark Tower"... Because I will facepalm for the rest of the day >.>)
     
         

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    Re: For Stephen King lovers and those who love epic adventure stories

    It's called the Gunslinger and centers mainly around the main character though you see other supporting characters.
     
         

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