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Wizard and Glass (Dark Tower) (Vol IV) Paperback – Illustrated, November 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

Wizard and Glass, the fourth episode in King's white-hot Dark Tower series, is a sci-fi/fantasy novel that contains a post-apocalyptic Western love story twice as long. It begins with the series' star, world-weary Roland, and his world-hopping posse (an ex-junkie, a child, a plucky woman in a wheelchair, and a talking dog-like pet named Oy the Bumbler) trapped aboard a runaway train. The train is a psychotic multiple personality that intends to commit suicide with them at 800 m.p.h.--unless Roland and pals can outwit it in a riddling contest.

It's a great race, for the mind and pulse. Movies should be this good. Then comes a 567-page flashback about Roland at age 14. It's a well-marbled but meaty tale. Roland and two teen homies must rescue his first love from the dirty old drooling mayor of a post-apocalyptic cowboy town, thwart a civil war by blowing up oil tanks, and seize an all-seeing crystal ball from Rhea, a vampire witch. The love scenes are startlingly prominent and earthier than most romance novels (they kiss until blood trickles from her lip).

After an epic battle ending in a box canyon to end all box canyons, we're back with grizzled, grown-up Roland and the train-wreck survivors in a parallel world: Kansas in 1986, after a plague. The finale is a weird fantasy takeoff on The Wizard of Oz. Some readers will feel that the latest novel in King's most ambitious series has too many pages--almost 800--but few will deny it's a page-turner.

From Library Journal

Frank Muller's reading of King's fourth book in a projected seven-part series (e.g., The Waste Lands: The Dark Tower, Bk. 3, Audio Reviews LJ 2/15/92) is effective in creating a suspenseful and fearful atmosphere. We find Roland, the knight errant/gunslinger, continuing his quest to attain the Dark Tower, the source of destructive forces in his Mid-World. A major portion of this work is a recounting by Roland of his ill-fated love affair with Susan Delgado. The writing is expectedly imaginative, the story line engrossing, and the characters vivid. The listener is carried along through alternating Western, urban, and futuristic settings. The work stands on its own, incorporating a summary of Books 1-3, but will be better appreciated if listened to as part of the whole. Recommended for sf/fantasy collections and Stephen King fans.?Catherine Swenson, Norwich Univ. Lib., Northfield, Vt.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Dark Tower (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (November 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452279178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452279179
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,052 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #987,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Customer Reviews

After each book in this series ends I can't wait to start the next one.
R. L. Wohlwend
After about 200 pages or so this book takes a very nice and welcome turn into Rolands past and the story is quite remarkable.
Wizard and Glass, written by the renowned author Stephen king, is the fourth installment of the seven book Dark Tower series.
Survey Masterson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Wizard and Glass," Volume IV of Stephen King's fantasy/western "Dark Tower" series is even better than the three books which preceded it. I didn't think it would be possible to top "The Wastelands," Book III, but King has accomplished the task with great elan. The author's tremendous talents and consistency as a writer are evident here. I can only advise the reader not to begin this novel during a busy period in your life, as it will cause you to miss all sorts of deadlines. I really found it difficult to put this page-turner down.

The novel opens with a wrap-up of the cliffhanger which began in Book Three, where bizarre Blaine, the psychotic, riddle-loving monorail tries to take the stoic Gunslinger and his companions on a suicide trip to a terminal destination. Given the dark humor, it's a really fun ride. The band of four...and a half, the Gunslinger, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and their talking dog-like pet, Oy the Bumbler, disengage from the wreckage of Blaine, and continue along the path of the Beam toward the Dark Tower. They finally take a rest, around a campfire, while Roland narrates the details of his quest, the whys and wherefores behind his decision to take this particular course. He tells the tragic tale of his lost love, Susan, and his beloved friends and companions Cuthbert and Alain, who all formed a magnificent Ka-tet, (King's word for a group of people drawn together by fate). These characters have been brought up in prior novels and all played a formidable role in Roland's past which will haunt him to the ends of the changing world. "Wizard and Glass" is more a traditional fantasy novel than the other, more darkly fantastic books in the series.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
Wizard and Glass is mainline heroin for Dark Tower junkies. Be warned: do not undertake this novel during finals week or if you have housecleaning to do. By the time I was finished, my apartment resembled that of Tommy from "Trainspotting".
If you happen to be a serious reader, the length of this novel is a boon. King writes with such fluidity, his characters' dialogue is so real, that the length is a necessity. If you're hungry, you eat a big plate of lasagne; you don't pick a French restaurant where they serve you a thin slice of pate garnished with a little radish rosette. King may not agree with the critics, but he's damn satisfying, and the Dark Tower series is his piece de resistance.
Roland lives how we'd all like to live-- doing the right thing, no matter how difficult. He's a hero, but he's accessible. He's so good, he doesn't have to swagger. What's so real about him is that he doesn't have a grand plan; he lives each day as it comes and doesn't worry about ka.
Wizard and Glass is not just a great book-- it stands as a fortress against the cynicism and apathy that pervades so much of modern literature. King has the gall to say that some things really matter, and for that his critics will crucify him.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Phrodoe on December 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Wizard and Glass is not only the best book in the Dark Tower series, it may well be the best Stephen King book I've ever read. It is grand, operatic, vivid, a story worthy of Tolkien, throbbing with atmosphere, and aching with the shattered soul and broken heart of the story's principal character, Roland Deschain, the last Gunslinger. This tale of first love, and that love's tragic loss, forms the centerpiece of the novel, which begins where The Waste Lands left off, with Roland and co. trapped on Blaine (the Pain), engaged in a riddling contest (shades of Bilbo and Gollum!) for their very lives. They defeat Blaine (how I won't say, but it's a moment that beats hell out of every time Captain Kirk ever overloaded a mad computer), and soon discover they've somehow jumped dimensions (another side effect of the Tower's failing), and have wound up in the world . of The Stand -- a moment so chilling I got goosepimples. Really! Of course, given that rambunctious Randy Flagg has now become the villain of this piece, this bit of dimension switching should hardly come as a surprise -- but it's nevertheless fascinating. Roland and co. travel on in this deserted world, finding evidence of both Mother Abigail and the Dark Man (as well as the Crimson King from Insomnia), and soon encounter a "thinny" -- a warp between dimensions that is like a mosquito with a thousand-watt amplifier buzzing in one's ear. This triggers in Roland a flashback -- and most of the next 550 pages are spent in the days of Roland's youth, just after he defeated Cort. He is sent by his father -- along with companions Cuthbert and Alain -- to the sleepy sea community of Mejis.Read more ›
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Chadwick H. Saxelid on February 10, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As well written and compelling tale as it is, Stephen King's fourth novel in the proposed seven book Dark Tower series will probably disappoint as many readers as it satisfies. After resolving the cliffhanger ending of The Wastelands and treating us to an alternate dimension of The Stand, King shifts gears. Most of Wizard and Glass is Roland telling a campfire tale of how he met his One True Love, Susan Delgado, and how she became one of the many ghosts that haunt and drive him him in his quest to right the slowly toppling Tower. While the yarn is a fine and beautifully textured one that creates a magical land that marries the gritty Spaghetti Western Mythos, made famous by Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood, with the noble myth of King Arthur, Merlin, and his Knights of the Round Table with an awe inspiring narrative surety, the story feels needless. Long time readers of the series may squirm even as King delights with this tragic tale set in a Barony a long time ago and far, far away. Some readers, like this one, may wonder why King is wasting so much time telling a story he has already spoon fed to us through hings and flashbacks in previous novels. Mayhap the tale needs to be told so Roland's new prentices will have a needed wedge between them, or have knowledge of their leader that strengthens their some times fragile ka-tet, for a future battle. I do not know, I am not Stephen King and have no clue what direction the final books will take. All I can say is that, right now, as fine a piece of fantasy writing that it is, Wizard and Glass seems a poor choice for a mid-series coffee break. The story feels far better suited for a Dark Tower prequel series than for the main series itself, so I'm docking it a star, while still recommending it to both fans of epic fantasy as well as to King's beloved Constant Readers.
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