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The Dark Tower Companion: A Guide to Stephen King's Epic Fantasy

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AN ALL-NEW COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO ONE OF THE MOST BRILLIANTLY CONSTRUCTED WORLDS IN ALL OF FICTION Stephen King’s bestselling multi-volume Dark Tower series is the author’s most inspired and imaginative creation. The story of Roland Deschain of Gilead, the last gunslinger, and his lifelong quest to reach the tower and save humanity across infinite parallel worlds is one tha AN ALL-NEW COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO ONE OF THE MOST BRILLIANTLY CONSTRUCTED WORLDS IN ALL OF FICTION Stephen King’s bestselling multi-volume Dark Tower series is the author’s most inspired and imaginative creation. The story of Roland Deschain of Gilead, the last gunslinger, and his lifelong quest to reach the tower and save humanity across infinite parallel worlds is one that has consumed King throughout his career as characters and concepts crossed back and forth between the series and the rest of his fictional universe. The mythos continues to be chronicled and expanded in graphic novels overseen by King, interactive adventures on his website, a proposed film adaptation, and in a new Dark Tower novel. The Dark Tower Companion is the ultimate compendium to King’s evolving magnum opus, presenting the mythology, history, and geography of this epic fantasy that has captivated generations of readers. Featuring interviews with Stephen King, Ron Howard, Dark Tower expert Robin Furth and others, Bev Vincent reveals The Dark Tower’s influential literary origins, examines its connections to the vast majority of King’s other novels, explores the expanded universe, catalogs the major characters, locations and concepts, and includes a travel guide to the story’s real-world locations, giving fans who have followed Roland’s journey—or those who are discovering it for the first time—a fascinating overview of the series and an inside look at the creative process of one of the world’s most popular authors.


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AN ALL-NEW COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO ONE OF THE MOST BRILLIANTLY CONSTRUCTED WORLDS IN ALL OF FICTION Stephen King’s bestselling multi-volume Dark Tower series is the author’s most inspired and imaginative creation. The story of Roland Deschain of Gilead, the last gunslinger, and his lifelong quest to reach the tower and save humanity across infinite parallel worlds is one tha AN ALL-NEW COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO ONE OF THE MOST BRILLIANTLY CONSTRUCTED WORLDS IN ALL OF FICTION Stephen King’s bestselling multi-volume Dark Tower series is the author’s most inspired and imaginative creation. The story of Roland Deschain of Gilead, the last gunslinger, and his lifelong quest to reach the tower and save humanity across infinite parallel worlds is one that has consumed King throughout his career as characters and concepts crossed back and forth between the series and the rest of his fictional universe. The mythos continues to be chronicled and expanded in graphic novels overseen by King, interactive adventures on his website, a proposed film adaptation, and in a new Dark Tower novel. The Dark Tower Companion is the ultimate compendium to King’s evolving magnum opus, presenting the mythology, history, and geography of this epic fantasy that has captivated generations of readers. Featuring interviews with Stephen King, Ron Howard, Dark Tower expert Robin Furth and others, Bev Vincent reveals The Dark Tower’s influential literary origins, examines its connections to the vast majority of King’s other novels, explores the expanded universe, catalogs the major characters, locations and concepts, and includes a travel guide to the story’s real-world locations, giving fans who have followed Roland’s journey—or those who are discovering it for the first time—a fascinating overview of the series and an inside look at the creative process of one of the world’s most popular authors.

30 review for The Dark Tower Companion: A Guide to Stephen King's Epic Fantasy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    After the publication on 2012 of the last book of the Dark Tower saga, Stephen King's Magnum Opus entered an impasse for the first time in several years. Only the comic books related to it are still giving the fans new stories about the world of the Dark Tower. Discordia 2, the videogame published in the official website of the author hasn't been released yet, and the possible movie adaptation of the saga is still frozen after the different Hollywood studios decided not to step in. But in this v After the publication on 2012 of the last book of the Dark Tower saga, Stephen King's Magnum Opus entered an impasse for the first time in several years. Only the comic books related to it are still giving the fans new stories about the world of the Dark Tower. Discordia 2, the videogame published in the official website of the author hasn't been released yet, and the possible movie adaptation of the saga is still frozen after the different Hollywood studios decided not to step in. But in this very moment when Dark Tower fans are about to suffer from "cold turkey", Bev Vincent (author of some of the best books about Stephen King and his work, such as The Stephen King Illustrated Companion and The Road to the Dark Tower) has just published through NAL Trade The Dark Tower companion. The Dark Tower Companion it's a book that any reader can pick up and enjoy, even those that haven't read the saga yet. Presented in very neat chapters, one can read the synopsis of each Dark Tower book, characters, places, crossovers and even continuity errors and mistakes. It's VERY likely that those who already read the saga will get enthusiastic and want to read the saga again. Some of the highlights of the book are the interviews. Bev Vincent interviewed most of the creative team that developed the different series of the Dark Tower comic books, Ron Howard (who acquired the rights to adapt the saga), Akiva Goldsman (the one who wrote the script for the adaptations), Brian Stark (developer of the Discordia videogames) and, the best interview of all: Stephen King himself, who talks about his involvement in the comic books, why he decided to be present in the saga as a character and gives some juicy details about stuff we didn't know (for example, that Roland had a sister named Clarissa, and that the story he'd like to tell is about Jericho Hill's battle. For those who'd like to "live" a little bit of the Dark Tower, it's mandatory to check the chapter with the map of Manhattan and the references in it to the saga. And the book ends with a compressive glossary of the saga, a detail about Roland's enemies and the meaning of the ending of the saga. I read the whole saga four times already (without The Wind through the Keyhole, which I only read once) and now it has been seven years since the last time I picked up those incredible seven books. It's one of my all-time favorite sagas and I keep repeating myself that I have to read it again but I'm always short on time. But after reading Bev Vincent's book, I'm focused to join Roland and his Ka-tet again very soon. And I don't have a doubt that anyone who reads this book will feel the same. And, of course, I'm eagerly waiting for Steve to announce he's writing a new story about the last gunslinger of a world that had moved on.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Aikens

    Useful resource This book works fantastically as a refresher for any Constant Reader who finds that it has been a little too long since they made the journey with Roland, Susanna, Eddie, Oy and Jake. I, like many others, once despaired that King would ever finish the quest, and when he did,I read the last the books back to back. Recently I realized just how long it has been since I did, and reading through this book was helpful in reminding me about the ins and outs along the path of the beam. Th Useful resource This book works fantastically as a refresher for any Constant Reader who finds that it has been a little too long since they made the journey with Roland, Susanna, Eddie, Oy and Jake. I, like many others, once despaired that King would ever finish the quest, and when he did,I read the last the books back to back. Recently I realized just how long it has been since I did, and reading through this book was helpful in reminding me about the ins and outs along the path of the beam. This is a great resource for the serious fantastic of the series.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sheryl

    There's so much packed into this book about The Dark Tower series that there's something for everyone - except maybe for someone who has never read the series before. Despite what the author says, I would not read this if you're just curious about getting into the series: too many spoilers throughout. I would only say maybe read the summaries of The Wind in the Keyhole or the Marvel comics if you haven't read them, but only if you've read the rest of the series first. There are probably spoilers There's so much packed into this book about The Dark Tower series that there's something for everyone - except maybe for someone who has never read the series before. Despite what the author says, I would not read this if you're just curious about getting into the series: too many spoilers throughout. I would only say maybe read the summaries of The Wind in the Keyhole or the Marvel comics if you haven't read them, but only if you've read the rest of the series first. There are probably spoilers, but nothing as dramatic as the rest of the sections. The summaries of each book are nice if you're thinking of jumping back into the series and haven't read it in a while - or if you, like Stephen King, took a lot of time off between finishing one book and starting the other. A quick refresher course in The Dark Tower. I would not recommend reading the book straight through. It is actually pretty doable until you hit the glossary, which drags on and on, refers to every minor character/place/object and is a bit repetitive. Use the glossary as an actual glossary instead - keep it on hand if you're reading through and forget who/what something is. I especially enjoyed the interviews with the authors, artists and other people involved in the Dark Tower series in all its forms. I'm very curious about reading the graphic novels now, and playing the Discordia game which I knew nothing about! It was also fascinating to read the thoughts everyone had about the movie (which was in pre-pre-production at the time of release) now that the final product has been released. In short, I recommended it if you use it as a reference - whenever you've forgotten something and need a quick refresher - and to read the interviews and analysis portions once you've finish the series - but definitely do not read straight through as I did, or you will definitely suffer once you hit that glossary!

  4. 4 out of 5

    ClubStephenKing

    I am a fan of Stephen King and The Dark Tower is a wonderful saga... but i am not what is called a "Dark Tower junkie", nor a specialist of The Dark Tower. Bev Vincent, is definitely a Dark Tower specialist. Abnd he just released THE DARK TOWER COMPANION, whom is his second book about The Dark Tower, the first being THE ROAD TO THE DARK TOWER. But you dont need to be a Dark Tower specialist to read and appreciate THE DARK TOWER COMPANION. This book is well structured, and it covers EVERYTHING that I am a fan of Stephen King and The Dark Tower is a wonderful saga... but i am not what is called a "Dark Tower junkie", nor a specialist of The Dark Tower. Bev Vincent, is definitely a Dark Tower specialist. Abnd he just released THE DARK TOWER COMPANION, whom is his second book about The Dark Tower, the first being THE ROAD TO THE DARK TOWER. But you dont need to be a Dark Tower specialist to read and appreciate THE DARK TOWER COMPANION. This book is well structured, and it covers EVERYTHING that could be said & need to be said about THE DARK TOWER. After an initial introduction, the book opens with a wonderful presentation of the saga ("What's it all about?"), before developping the original work which corresponds to 8 books + a short story titled The Little Sisters of Eluria. TDC presents all the links between The Dark Tower and Stephen King books & short stories, but also covers the extented universe : Discordia (an interactive experience on the official website, which tends to be forgotten. ie : i personally wasnt aware of the recent update of Discordia), and the graphic novels + its appendices that are the guides & almanachs created by Marvel. On top of this, Bev Vincent adds to this book a work that seems quite comprehensive in which he presents the characters & Roland's ennemis, the places (fictitious or the true places of Manhattan), as well as the timeline of The Dark Tower. And finally, let's not forget the different interviews that Bev Vincent conducted and which are relevant for each parts of the book : the original work (with Stephen King), the extended universe of Discordia(Brian Stark & Robin Furth), the project of adaptation in movies+series+games(Ron Howard & Akiva Goldsman in which they present their vision for this ambitious project), and the Marvel graphic novels (with numerous artists & people involved in the comics). As it was the case with his other bestseller 'companion' book on Stephen King, THE ILLUSTRATED STEPHEN KING COMPANION, Bev Vincent keeps proving, if it was needed, that he is a real Stephen King specialist, and shows with great attention the large scale of the saga that Stephen King wrote over 40 years and that is his magnum opus. Despite the fact that THE DARK TOWER corresponds to 8 books + 1 short story, which span on more than 4,000 pages, the saga do also develops its roots & story arc in the rest of Stephen King's work... and is a lot richer that 'only' 8 books. This saga will last, and i am certain that if a project of adaptation one days sees the light, despite the challenges that will surround such a project, this saga will only gain in popularity. The same way than did THE LORD OF THE RINGS. But i think that it's honnest to see that, currently, THE DARK TOWER is mostly known by Stephen King fans. If you want to go back to THE DARK TOWER. If you want to discover more about the saga, or you want to refresh your memory. If you want to find out more about the other side of the mirror of the extended universe of this work, or even if you want to broaden your vision of the adaptation that Ron Howard & Akiva Goldsman wants to do, then do not wait anymore. You will simply not find a better book about THE DARK TOWER, than this DARK TOWER COMPANION... written by a recognised & great specialist es Stephen King. French review published on the Club Stephen King

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shiraz Esat

    A must for Dark Tower fans. I only read about 10% of this epic tome and garnered so much useful information. Primarily, I just wanted a refresher on the series. I also got introduced to the comics, and a whole bunch of interesting calculations (timelines, distances, maps). Definitely something to turn back to time and again. After all, ka is a wheel.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    In the last few years I've become a bit obsessed with the Dark Tower. And this obsession reached new levels when I started buying reference sources for my journey, including this one. I can't say that I read Bev Vincent's Dark Tower Companion cover-to-cover. But that's okay: that's not how reference books work. This isn't quite as thorough as Robin Furth's Concordance, but the entries on people, places, and things are relatively complete. What really stand out about this volume, though, are Vincen In the last few years I've become a bit obsessed with the Dark Tower. And this obsession reached new levels when I started buying reference sources for my journey, including this one. I can't say that I read Bev Vincent's Dark Tower Companion cover-to-cover. But that's okay: that's not how reference books work. This isn't quite as thorough as Robin Furth's Concordance, but the entries on people, places, and things are relatively complete. What really stand out about this volume, though, are Vincent's prose chapters on topics including King's influences, other works with Dark Tower connections, summaries of each main book (that I found really helpful to read after finishing each volume to summarize what I had just read), maps of locations in Manhattan and Mid-World, interviews with King and associated artists, writers, and filmmakers, and my favorite: "The End and What It Might Mean." I found this really helpful on my second complete trip through the series. And I imagine it will be useful for future trips to the Tower. Long days and pleasant nights.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Timothy White

    This is clearly a reference book, but it gives tons of great insight into the King's Dark Tower series. I like this one a bit more than Robin Furth's Concordance due to its largely narrative structure. There's quite a bit of extra information about the comics and interviews about the series with illustrators, writers, directors, and other people crucial to building this world. Half of the book is an index of people, places, and things within the series but the Concordance is better suited to tha This is clearly a reference book, but it gives tons of great insight into the King's Dark Tower series. I like this one a bit more than Robin Furth's Concordance due to its largely narrative structure. There's quite a bit of extra information about the comics and interviews about the series with illustrators, writers, directors, and other people crucial to building this world. Half of the book is an index of people, places, and things within the series but the Concordance is better suited to that sort of data scouring. I really enjoyed the plot summaries of the comics, the making of the digital game, and discussion around the artwork. I'm glad to have it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kieran McAndrew

    A comprehensive overview of 'The Dark Tower' novels with a host of extra interviews from the stakeholders and a minipedia of the people, places and things which inhabit King's fictional universe. Again, clear writing by Bev Vincent helps make this incredibly dense tome easy to read and there is a clear sense of enjoyment of the works and respect for the writer and his assistants. A comprehensive overview of 'The Dark Tower' novels with a host of extra interviews from the stakeholders and a minipedia of the people, places and things which inhabit King's fictional universe. Again, clear writing by Bev Vincent helps make this incredibly dense tome easy to read and there is a clear sense of enjoyment of the works and respect for the writer and his assistants.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bailey

    I read all I was going to read from here. Very well done indeed, too bad the story of the series is far too depressing to read. I had to look in advance since it's horror - there are just some things I don't want to read about and they're almost all in the Dark Tower series. :))) I read all I was going to read from here. Very well done indeed, too bad the story of the series is far too depressing to read. I had to look in advance since it's horror - there are just some things I don't want to read about and they're almost all in the Dark Tower series. :)))

  10. 5 out of 5

    Juliana Nordquist

    Love it!

  11. 4 out of 5

    James

    3.5 Some interesting tidbits

  12. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    If you are a King fan this is a must-read. Neat to once again see how all the works fit together, and a lot of good interviews as well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    I love the Dark Tower series so you can guess how this review is going to go . I was one of the many readers who waited patiently for each book to come out, wondering if and when it would. It was excruciating! I’ll admit The Dark Tower series isn't for everyone. It is epic in ways non-Stephen King fans can never truly appreciate, but I think this companion guide will give you some idea of the why and how. Longtime fans and the passingly curious can enjoy this book. It has been a long time since I I love the Dark Tower series so you can guess how this review is going to go . I was one of the many readers who waited patiently for each book to come out, wondering if and when it would. It was excruciating! I’ll admit The Dark Tower series isn't for everyone. It is epic in ways non-Stephen King fans can never truly appreciate, but I think this companion guide will give you some idea of the why and how. Longtime fans and the passingly curious can enjoy this book. It has been a long time since I finished the series and this companion was just the thing I needed to bring it all back and remind me of why I loved it so much. I am not one for rereading anything so it was fun to discover things I missed when I read the series and getting insight into Stephen King’s reasons for writing the series the way he did. If you have just read the first couple of books in the series then this companion will help refresh your memory, cause if you have read some of the books then you know how complex and crazy the Dark Tower world can be. If you haven’t read any of the books then here is a chance to learn a little about the process of writing an epic fantasy that spans over thirty years of an author’s life! Kudos to Bev Vincent for how he organized the companion and the information he included, especially the information about the status of a movie/TV adaptation. There is also information about the graphic novel series based on the novels and how it came to be. One of the reasons I love this story so much is I felt transported to Mid-World with Roland and his ka-tet every time I opened the book and it stuck with me even after closing it. Stephen King even created a whole new language for his world! Here is a glossary http://www.stephenking.com/darktower/... because it is just that awesome Bev Vincent, I bow down to your Dark Tower knowledge and Thankee-sai for putting this together. Long days and pleasant nights… “I do not kill with my gun; He who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father. I kill with my heart.” - Roland "First comes smiles, then comes lies. Last is gunfire." - Roland 5 "Gun-slinging" Sheep http://www.ismellsheep.com/2013/04/bo...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    The English major in me loves stuff like this. I've been a fan of The Dark Tower series since I first picked up The Gunslinger, and so getting this glimpse inside the entire series is really cool. It's been a while since I've read the series, although I did just finish The Wind in the Keyhole a couple of months ago, so this made for a nice refresher. It piqued my interest in the graphic novels, for sure. However, it's not really a book you want to sit down and read cover to cover. It's great for The English major in me loves stuff like this. I've been a fan of The Dark Tower series since I first picked up The Gunslinger, and so getting this glimpse inside the entire series is really cool. It's been a while since I've read the series, although I did just finish The Wind in the Keyhole a couple of months ago, so this made for a nice refresher. It piqued my interest in the graphic novels, for sure. However, it's not really a book you want to sit down and read cover to cover. It's great for browsing, for looking up bits and pieces; the best way to use it is as a reference book on the series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    It's Dark Tower related...I'm supposed to love this, and yet I don't. Unlike other books where the writing is poor or the story doesn't quite gel, this book is bad simply because it's too good. You're going to find out a lot of information here...the problem is, it's TOO MUCH information. The amount of info in this book is exhausting, and in my opinion, complete overkill. It includes in-depth looks at all of the books, graphic novels, video games, upcoming film adaptations, characters, geography It's Dark Tower related...I'm supposed to love this, and yet I don't. Unlike other books where the writing is poor or the story doesn't quite gel, this book is bad simply because it's too good. You're going to find out a lot of information here...the problem is, it's TOO MUCH information. The amount of info in this book is exhausting, and in my opinion, complete overkill. It includes in-depth looks at all of the books, graphic novels, video games, upcoming film adaptations, characters, geography of the book's setting, etc, etc, etc. It's well and thoroughly researched, but in the end it just reads too much like a textbook to be really entertaining.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    A nice companion to Robin Furth's Concordance, this reference also has some insightful essays and interviews in addition to the encyclopedic content. The latter is a little hard to navigate, as it's split by "our" world and "mid-wolrd". But I especially like that Vincent includes material from the Marvel comics, even though it's apparent from the interviews (and Wind Through the Keyhole) that this stuff is not considered canon. A nice companion to Robin Furth's Concordance, this reference also has some insightful essays and interviews in addition to the encyclopedic content. The latter is a little hard to navigate, as it's split by "our" world and "mid-wolrd". But I especially like that Vincent includes material from the Marvel comics, even though it's apparent from the interviews (and Wind Through the Keyhole) that this stuff is not considered canon.

  17. 4 out of 5

    William Hoy

    An exhaustive refresher for fans of the Dark Tower series. Bev has a deep knowledge of the series, and that shows through. As a long time fan, I learned things I never before knew, and having only read some of the graphic novels, this gave a crystal clear overview. Definitely worth a read simply for the interviews.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    The ultimate guide to all things relating to Stephen King's magnum opus the Dark Tower series and a must for any collector of the Kin's works. Includes a fascinating travel guide to the real world locations of the books. The ultimate guide to all things relating to Stephen King's magnum opus the Dark Tower series and a must for any collector of the Kin's works. Includes a fascinating travel guide to the real world locations of the books.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kenzie Fontanet

    An excellent guide for those who have not yet started their journey to the Dark Tower!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Du

    This is a well organized and thought out overview of the full Dark Tower opus. It has all the information you are looking for and is presented in a succinct and easily read manner.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joann

    Very useful in untangling details of the Dark Tower epic.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joe Mcgraw

    My Dark Tower Bible!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Suziqz Tackett

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gina Villaruel-Lauigan

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eric Osborne

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nj

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carole

  28. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Kollar

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chip

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pamama

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