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Wolves of the Calla (Dark Tower) Hardcover – November 4, 2003
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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.
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
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Wolves of the Calla adheres to the series' western roots by giving us the Mid-World version of The Magnificent Seven. And for the most part King pulled it off. This is a worthy entry in the series.
Going todash and those spine-tingling chimes, visiting the rose in the vacant lot, the Ka-Tet being welcomed at the town pavilion, Callahan's tale and the highways in hiding, the bizarre rural dialect of the townsfolk, training the Sisters of Oriza, Jake and the Dogan, confronting Andy, and the final showdown with the Wolves of course.
Saving that pushover Calvin Tower and his stupid rare books, the over-and-over-and-overuse of the number nineteen, the cartoonish weapons of the Wolves—their lazer swords (lightsabers from Star Wars) and their sneetch grenades (snitches from Harry Potter), and book 5's number one gripe from the fans: Stephen King inserting himself into the story. This will play out more in the next two books, but in my opinion it's a wash. King being in the story works in some places and not so well in others.
Its a must read!