Following The Waste Lands, is the fourth installment in Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower series. Wizard & Glass clearly illustrates King’s ability to create a believable, almost apocalyptic world, even more so than the former titles in the series. Those readers who are already familiar with King’s The Stand know well how seamlessly King can create these types of worlds. However, Wizard & Glass truly drives this point home.
It is within that we learn how Roland of Gilead first became a gunslinger. Sharing this story with his ka-tet, the term used in the series for a group of people bound together by a common goal (which, in this series, is to reach the fabled Dark Tower), we discover that Roland was, in some respect, a prodigy as he was the youngest gunslinger in history.
As Roland recounts the story of how he became a gunslinger, we are introduced to Susan, the woman whom Roland fell in love with long ago. Roland tells his new ka-tet how Susan saved him from imprisonment on murder charges and, thus, enabled him to embark on his quest in the present. As the story comes to an end, Roland, Susannah, Eddie and Jake make their way to The Emerald City, an obvious homage to L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of OZ.
While there, they discover that the wizard is actually Martin Broadcloak, who readers of The Stand might also recognize as Randall Flagg, a character who frequently reappears in King’s fictional works. It’s there that the ka-tet procures the wizard’s glass, an orb that will soon give Roland a difficult choice: continue to the Dark Tower or seal Susan’s fate.
illustrates King’s love for the fantasy authors who have trail blazed before him, with obvious parallels to both OZ and Middle Earth within just this one installment, not to mention the entire series. As the novel closes, Roland and his ka-tet continue to make their way to the Dark Tower in what readers will clearly see will be a worthy climax to the series.
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