Thursday, June 13, 2013


Have you ever been tempted to read part two (2)  first of a four (4) volume novel? Imagine the confuse state you may be in when you get a hold of another volume? Relating the characters and how significant they may be in the tale does not only lead the reader perplexed but disoriented as well.

If , like me, you can't simply resist what is in the bookshelf, let this be a guide for the next volume hopping.

Inspired by the Robert Browning's narrative poem, 'Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came," Stephen King wrote a series of four (4) volume novels on Roland of Gilead, a kind of knight, the last of his breed's obsessive quest for the Dark Tower.

The second volume, The Drawing of the Three, begins on the edge of the Western Sea, not long after Roland awakens from his confrontation with his old nemesis and discovers Walter-- the man in black, who pretended friendship with Roland's father but who actually served Marten, a great sorcerer-- long dead, only more bones in a place of bones. The exhausted gunslinger is attacked by carnivorous 'lobstrities' (pictured as gigantic man-eating lobsters) and before he can escape them, he has been seriously wounded, losing the first two fingers of his right hand. He is also poisoned by their bites, and as he resumes his trek along the Western Sea, Roland is sickening...perhaps dying.

On his walk, he encounters three doors standing freely on the beach. These open into the city of New York, at three different whens. From 1987, Roland draws Eddie Dean, a prisoner. From 1964, he draws Odetta Susannah Holmes, a woman who has lost her lower legs in a subway that was no accident. She is indeed a lady of shadows, with a second personality within the socially committed black woman her friends know. This hidden woman, the violent and crafty Detta Walker, is determined to kill both Roland and Eddie when the gunslinger draws her into Mid-World.

Between these two in time, once again in 1977, Roland enters the hellish mind of Jack Mort, who has hurt Odetta/Detta not once but twice. 'Death,' the man in black told Roland, 'but not for you, gunslinger.' Nor is Mort the third of whom Walter foretold; Roland prevents Mort from murdering Jake Chambers, and shortly after Mort dies beneath the wheels of the same train which took Odetta's legs in 1959. Roland thus fails to draw the psychotic into Mid-World. But he thinks, who would want such a being in any case.

Roland thinks that perhaps he has drawn three in just Eddie and Odetta, since Odetta is a double personality, yet when Odetta and Detta merge as one in Susannah (thanks in large part to Eddie Dean's love and courage), the gunslinger knows it's not so. He knows something else as well: he is tormented by thoughts of Jake, the boy who, dying, spoke of other worlds. Half of the gunslinger's mind, in fact, believes there never was a boy. In preventing Jack Mort from pushing Jake in front of the car meant to kill him, Roland has created a temporal paradox which is tearing him apart. And, in our world, it is tearing Jake Chambers apart as well.

Happy Reading!

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