, following Wizard & Glass, is the fifth volume in Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower series. After escaping the fan favorite King villain, Randall Flagg in Wizard & Glass, Roland and his ka-tet are seemingly detained from continuing on their trek to the Dark Tower when they enter the village of Calla Bryn Sturgis.
When the ka-tet arrives, they are immediately besieged with the request to help the townspeople defeat the Wolves of Thunderclap, a group of wolves that come to steal one child from every pair of twins within the village once in a generation. Once the children are taken by the wolves, they are then sent back. However, once they arrive back in the village, the children are changed or, as the townspeople describe them, “roont.”
After watching his sister destroyed and reduced to an intellect-impaired hull of a girl, Tian Jaffords, a farmer within the village, decides that the townspeople must make a stand against the wolves and prevent another group of children being reduced to empty shells. Jaffords is aided by a priest who has become known within the village as The Old Fella. However, avid readers of King might more easily recognize The Old Fella as the damned Father Callahan from King’s early masterpiece, Salem’s Lot.
After his stint with the vampires of Jerusalem’s Lot, Callahan now has the ability to identify vampires on sight and has made it his job to vanquish them on sight, an act that has put a mark on Callahan in the eyes of the Low Men, the familiar group from King’s story, Low Men in Yellow Coats, from his collection, Hearts in Atlantis. When Callahan is trapped and killed, he returns from the Mid-World with an object known as the Black Thirteen, an evil orb that is eerily reminiscent of the palantir in Tolkien’s Return of the King.
Using the acquired orb, Roland and his ka-tet must return to Manhattan circa 1977 to ensure the survival of a single rose that represents the Dark Tower within the concrete jungle. If the flower is destroyed, the Dark Tower is also destroyed and, as a result, so is the universe as they know it.
In King successfully binds many of his works together, seamlessly binding them into an epic that extends outside of the Dark Tower series. A fun installment within the epic that will surprise many King readers with his ability to turn a seemingly fun volume into a bridge between his fictional worlds.
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