The Gunslinger is a novel by American author Stephen King, and is the first volume in the Dark Tower series, which King considers to be his magnum opus. The story centers upon "the gunslinger", who has been chasing after his adversary, "the man in black", for many years. Chronicled is the gunslinger's quest through a large desert, and then a mountain, in search of the man. Along the way, he encounters various people, among them a boy named Jake, who is from another world.
The book begins, "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." It tells the story of The Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead, and his quest to catch The Man in Black, which will ultimately lead him to the Dark Tower. Roland is a Gunslinger, his world's answer to the knight-errant, and he follows the trail of his fatal obsession.
The main story takes place in a world that is recognizable as the American West but exists in an alternate time frame or parallel universe to ours; Roland exists in a place where "the world has moved on." This world has a few things in common with our own, however, including memories of the song "Hey Jude" and the child's rhyme that begins "Beans, beans, the musical fruit." Vestiges of forgotten or skewed versions of real-world technology also appear, such as a reference to a gas pump in a tunnel under a mountain that is worshipped as a god named "Amoco", and an abandoned way station with a water pump which is powered by an "atomic slug".
It is at this way station that Roland first meets Jake Chambers, a child who died in the world that we know. Jake was pushed in front of a car by a fellow named Jack Mort, who he thought was the Man in Black, and woke up at the way station. Roland takes Jake with him on his journey across the desert and through the mountain. Jake becomes a symbolic son to Roland, but Roland sacrifices Jake when he is faced with a choice between saving Jake's life and catching the Man In Black. Before Jake dies, he says, "Go, then. There are other worlds than these." The importance of these other worlds, as well as some of their inhabitants, is revealed as the series progresses.
The Gunslinger takes the form of a series of interleaved flashbacks, as Roland's quest is interrupted with dreamlike vignettes from his youth. By far the most stylized and enigmatic of King's longer works, the book is perhaps best seen as an introductory tableau or prologue to the entire series, the subsequent books of which are much more concrete and linear in their story-telling.
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The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1)
|Donald M Grant Publishers Limited Hardcover edition, Date published 1982, Illustrated by Michael Whelan, ISBN 0-937986-51-8, 224 pages|
||1st published edition of the first of Stephen King's Gunslinger series. Published in a limited edition of 500 signed and numbered copies along with a first printing of 10,000 trade editions, a very small run for Mr. King. The Limited Edition was signed by Mr. King and illustrator Michael Whelan on a special limitation page.||
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|Fine Copy in Fine Dustjacket. An incredibly rare variant of the limited edition, this copy has an un-numbered limitation page signed by King and Whelan. This copy, and a few like it, were unnumbered because of a binding error at the bindery. In the case of this copy the signature (a gathering of pages) for pages 185-200, repeats, and the signature for pages 65-80, is totally absent this copy. The misbound copies were to be destroyed, but a few made it to the market place. Again, this is an unnumbered copy, with the signed limitation page, that was not released because of a binding error. It has duplicate copies of pages 185-200, and no copies of pages 65-80. Please note that this book will only be sold as part of the complete set of signed limited editions of the Gunslinger series, the total price for all 7 books being $15,000.||
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