The Gunslinger Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Gunslinger

Roland Deshayn, or Roland of Gillead is walking the desert chasing the "Man in Black". The "Man in Black" or Walter is an evil mage. They are in a place/time that has "Moved On", which seems to mean that a great war against Gillead has destroyed a very modern planet, leaving only desert wastelands and very few survivors.
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Roland meets one survivor, an old man with a talking pet raven, and sits to eat with him before resuming the chase. During the meal Roland, who it turns out is a Gunslinger from Gillead, hears of what happened when Walter had stopped to rest there earlier.
After resumes the chase he comes upon a town of very strange people. He suspects a trap has been laid for him by the Man in Black.

When he leaves the town, he next comes upon a boy of 9 or so. Again the boy describes the previous visit with Walter and joins the Gunslinger when he leaves. Roland likes the kid, and is faced with the decision of keeping to the chase or helping the kid.
The review of this Book prepared by Michael J Lucas

This is the first book in the Dark Tower series. This book introduces us to Roland, the last of the gunslingers from the ancient barony of Gilead, as he chases his nemesis, the man in black, across the desert.

Roland's quest (known only in his deepest heart) is for The Dark Tower, the hub of the universe itself. Roland's pusuit of Marten (The man in black; Maerlyn to some) leaves behind a trail of bloodshed by Roland's own hand!

His trail (following the Beam!) unites him with Jake, a pre-teen boy who is mysteriously waiting (for who?) at a way-station in the middle of nowhere. They continue on Marten's trail into a mountain on a rickety mining railway where they encounter horrors of time and circumstance called Slow Mutants - unimaginable horrors deformed and suffering in the dark.
Coming to a place in the track where the rails hang brokenly out over a deep chasm, Roland has to choose between, Jake - his 'son' - or The Tower.
The review of this Book prepared by sue jeffrey

Viking, Jun 2003, 25.00, 237 pp.
ISBN: 0670032549

Roland Deschain of Gilead knows he is obsessed over finding the Dark Tower, but does not care. He will follow the Man in Black wherever he goes and for how long it takes even into eternity until he catches this person, if he is a person, and force him to reveal the locale of the Dark Tower. If others die at his hands after meeting the Gunslinger so be it.

Currently he tracks his prey across a desert stopping at a way station where he meets a child whom he thought at first was his target, albeit two feet shorter. The kid is John “Jake” Chambers from 1977 New York City. Shockingly to the solitary Deschain, instead of his usual killing, Roland allows Jake to accompany him on his trek towards the mountains, the Man in Black, and ultimately the Black Tower.

This is somewhat of a reprint, but Stephen King has added back in edited out sections and rewritten some passages. The story line retains the strange, deep allegorical fantasy reminiscent of the cult movie El Topo with less gore and Michael Whelans' drawings add to that overall eerie feeling. The desert looms so vast and is so critical to the plot that the audience will see it as a character unto itself.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

The gunslinger pursues the man in black through a dismal desert land. When he meets people, his emotions combat his identity as an unfeeling archetype of justice.
The review of this Book prepared by Brittany Wallace

Chapter Analysis of The Gunslinger

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 20%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 10%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 30% Tone of book    -   depressing/sad FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   fantasy world/fantasy past Explore/1st contact/ enviro story    -   Yes Explore:    -   post environmental/nuclear disaster, fighting MadMax gangs Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   champion of justice Age:    -   long lived adults


Terrain    -   Desert Earth setting:    -   near future (later in 21st century) A substantial portion of this book takes place on a non-Earth planetary body:    -   humans in a primitive/fantasy society Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes Planet outside solar system?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   none/very little science jargon needed How much dialogue?    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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