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Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, Book 5) Mass Market Paperback – January 24, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 973 customer reviews
Book 5 of 8 in the Dark Tower Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Time is a face on the water," stretching and contorting reality as gunslingers Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and their talking pet "billy-bumbler" Oy continue their quest to prevent the destruction of the Dark Tower and, consequently, save all worlds from Chaos and the Crimson King's evil, red-eyed glare. Roland-the primary hero of King's epic tale, the first volume of which appeared in 1982-and company momentarily fall off the "Path of The Beam" to help the residents of Calla Bryn Sturgis, a farm town. But as Dark Tower fans know, everything follows The Beam, so what looks like a detour may really serve the will of "ka" (destiny). Roland and his posse learn that every 20-odd years the "Wolves" kidnap one child from each set of the Calla's twins, bring them to the Tower and, weeks later, send them back mentally and physically impaired. Meanwhile, back in 1977 New York City (the alternate world of Roland's surrogate son, Jake), bookstore owner Calvin Tower is being threatened by a group of thugs (readers will recognize them from The Drawing of the Three, 1987) to sell them a vacant lot in midtown Manhattan. In the lot stands a rose, or rather the Rose, which is our world's manifestation of the Dark Tower. With the help of the Old Fella (also known to `Salem's Lot readers as Father Callahan), the gunslingers must devise a plan against evil in both worlds. The task, however, is further complicated as Roland and his gang start noticing behavioral changes in wheelchair-bound, recovered schizophrenic Susannah.As the players near the Tower, readers will keep finding exciting ties between the Dark Tower universe and King's other books, with links to Black House, Insomnia, The Eyes of the Dragon, The Stand, `Salem's Lot and Hearts in Atlantis. The high suspense and extensive character development here (especially concerning Jake's coming-of-age), plus the enormity of King's ever-expanding universe, will surely keep his "Constant Readers" in awe.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Wizard and Glass (1997), volume 4 of King's massive, postapocalyptic, chivalrized western, The Dark Tower, was rather a snooze, not for lack of action but because it was primarily a flashback that drew unmercifully on King's stash of horse-opera cliches. "'S'all very nice," one thought, "but let's move it, Steve!" Volume 5--this book--moves it, despite not getting Roland the Gunslinger much nearer the Dark Tower, taking another big backward glance, and continuing to mine an open pit of oater conceits. Roland's ka-tet--himself and three twentieth-century New Yorkers, all of them now fellow gunslingers--approach a ranching and farming community anticipating a recurrent pestilence. After 23 years, the Wolves are coming from the evil-darkened East to abduct one of every pair of prepubescent twins older than three. The children will be returned, but nearly witless and sterile, doomed to grow immensely and enormously painfully in their middle teens, serve (if not too stupid) as workhorses, and suddenly, painfully wither and die in their early thirties. An erstwhile priest in the community knows what Roland and company are, and he persuades a community to send a committee to ask for their help. Of course, once asked, the code of the gunslinger compels acceptance. Gonna be a humdinger of a fight! Fore and aft of the showdown, King stuffs the book with juice, like the big flashback, in which Pere Callahan reveals his past in . . . 'Salem's Lot. One of the greatest cavalcades in popular fiction is back on track. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Dark Tower, Book 5 (Book 5)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141651693X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416516934
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (973 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Maybe not the best in the series...I still think the fourth book holds that place, but well worth the wait.
It is in this book we see the characters finally work together as trained Gunslingers. Each of the characters has a pressing problem and hardship in their lives, and yet they must put them aside to help the children of the Calla . How these characters deal with their own monumental problems and act as true heroes at the same time is a reflection of the fact they have become true gunslingers, following Roland.
King also takes the opportunity to let this book show us more of Roland's world and culture. I found the dance Roland did at the start of the book fascinating, and the society of goddess worshiping disk throwing women seemed like they might have walked out of the pages of Roman Mythology. King does a great job rounding the culture, and giving us views of the world just as if we were reading a historical fiction, instead of high fantasy.
Wolves of the Calla, at 736 pages, is the longest yet of the series. But the length is justified as King takes time to create characters and places so real, you feel as if you might have been there before in some odd and half forgotten dream. He builds suspense to the final battle with the Wolves, and then makes that battle as fast, and horrible as any real war skirmish.
Many complained about the references to pop culture, Kings other works, and aspects of the "real" world, but I thought they only served to make the idea of the Tower as an axis of reality more believable. Making himself a real, yet invisible character in the book gave me a little shiver, after all...if King is real in that world so am I and all his readers. Heh heh heh. It only served to make the sense of so many realities tied in one moment of fate more grand.
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Format: Hardcover
Stephen King has said that of all the books he has written, the Dark Tower is the most important and deeply meaningful work he has produced. Reading each successive volume, I can see that this is increasingly true. The series seems to be the summing up of his writing career by incorporating many of the characters, story lines, philosophies, mythologies, and literary inspirations of his previous works into this single far-reaching fantasy universe. This fifth installment more strongly than ever incorporates such references, including Salem's Lot, The Stand, Hearts in Atlantis, and many others. He also includes references to a myriad of books by other authors besides the obvious Tolkien. I found allusions to the works of L. Frank Baum, J.K. Rowling, Richard Adams, and even Marvel Comics.
I will not provide a detailed recap of the story here since so many other reviewers have already done so. What I will attempt to do is explain why I give Wolves of the Calla only 3 stars, as well as to list its strengths and weaknesses. The story of the residents of the Calla and their joining forces with Roland's ka-tet to vanquish the wolves deserves 5 stars. There is intrigue, town politics, an ominous threat hanging over the twin children of the residents, and an exciting battle between Wolf and man. The personalities of the townsfolk, who are divided in their opinions of whether to fight or submit to the wolves, are well developed, as is that of the enigmatic Andy the Messenger Robot. King has done an excellent job developing the mythology and culture of the "folken" of Calla Bryn Sturgis. The reader is treated to a realistic and colorful portrayal of their language, culture, festivals, music, and traditions.
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Format: Hardcover
(I'll attempt to make this review spoiler-free, but I can't give any promises)
I'm aware that the crowd here is fairly rabid, so I'll get the obligatory positive points out of the way. I've read almost everything Mr. King has written up 'til the point, and I firmly believe that he will be lauded in retrospect (laudation always seems to occur in retrospect) as one of the preeminent writers of his generation. His prose is artful, his characters believable, and his stories spell-binding, and the Dark Tower is no exception. It is, as he has frequently said, the lynchpin around which his universe revolves.
In recent years, however, I've seen this as becoming more of a crutch than anything else. Mr. King has been inserting Dark Tower-isms into everything he's written as of late, and while I don't necessarily mind this particular conceit, it frequently comes off occasionally as something he simply cannot escape doing (like that legendary gag about how every William Shatner TV appearence includes the word "Klingons" somewhere). "Black House" disappointed me by turning the vibrant and original world of the "Territories" that he and Peter Straub created in "The Talisman" into just another adjunct of the Dark Tower universe. I was hoping, then, that the actual followup to the series would solve the problem a bit, at the very least making all of these tie-ins worthwhile.
"Wolves of the Calla," then, is something of a mixed experience. For the first time, a Dark Tower book feels like it's being written long after previous installments. References to the previous books in the series feel forced, almost of a "hey, remember when *that* happened?" sort; if one follows Mr.
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