Monday, May 14, 2012
Roland Deschain and his ka-tet are bearing southeast through the forests of Mid-World on their quest for the Dark Tower. Their path takes them to the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis. But beyond the tranquil farm town, the ground rises to the hulking darkness of Thunderclap, the source of a terrible affliction that is stealing the town's soul. The wolves of Thunderclap and their unspeakable depredation are coming. To resist them is to risk all, but these are odds the gunslingers are used to. Their guns, however, will not be enough....
It's been a few years since I read book four of Stephen King's Dark Tower Series. I really enjoyed the first four books and for a change I decided to listen to book five, The Wolves of the Calla instead of reading it. I have to admit, it was somewhat of a challenge.
Wolves picks up where we left off in book four of the series, Wizard and Glass. The ka-tet, Roland, the Gunslinger, young Jake, Eddie Dean and his wife Susannah are still making their way to the Dark Tower when they near the town of Calla Bryn Sturgis, a beautiful little peaceful town, pretty as a picture. Yet, all is not as it seems. Every generation hundreds of "Wolves" from nearby Thunderclap ride in to the town and steal it's children and carry them off. One pre-adolescent child per couple. One of the odd things about Calla Bryn Sturgis is everyone has twins, it's rare to have a singleton, though they do exist. And when the wolves come - they take one twin from each family. Months later, the kidnapped children are returned - roont. Their minds are gone and they grow to gigantic sizes after they reach puberty. Eventually they die in their thirties, mindless. No one knows why or what takes them, but it happens. This time, when Andy, the friendly Robot tells them the wolves are coming in a month, the townspeople say "no." Not again. This time they intend to fight the wolves and they ask the Gunslingers to help.
This is the main plot line in the book, but as anyone knows whose familiar with The Dark Tower Series, there is much, much more going on. We go back and forth to New York City, visiting the rose in the empty lot. The ka-tet meet Father Don Callahan, a former priest from Salem's Lot, Maine (yes, that Salem's Lot) who tells his long and detailed story and how he came to be in Mid-World and his brush with vampires. We find out that Susannah is pregnant - but not with Eddie's child. Instead it is some kind of monster she is carrying from when she coupled with a demon to save Jake in The Waste Lands. Another persona, Mia has manifested itself in Susannah's mind. She is the mother of the chap growing inside Susannah's body. What will happen when Susannah gives birth - the big question leading up to a major cliffhanger ending.
Overall this was an engrossing and complicated installment in the series and not one you can skip for things do happen, but probably my least favorite up to this point in the series. I got the impression that for the most part, Calla seemed like a weigh station for the ka-tet before continuing on their quest. The details on audio were hard to follow at times, especially regarding the significance of the rose in the empty lot in New York City. Although I had trouble following the story at time, the narrator did a good job with all the different voices. It's just that this is such a big book, it's easy to get lost in what's going on, especially when it refers to the earlier books which were hard for me to remember, it's been so long since I read them. Still, this was pretty good, but I wish I hadn't waited so long between books. I feel like I need to go somewhere on line and take a refresher course on the series before tackling the next one.