In the fifth novel in King’s bestselling epic fantasy series, the farming community in the fertile lands of the East has been warned the wolves are coming back. Four gunslingers, led by Roland of Gilead, are also coming their way. And the farmers of the Calla want to enlist some hard calibers.
In Wolves of the Calla, volume five of Stephen King’s epic fantasy western The Dark Tower, coincidence has, as Eddie Dean observes, been cancelled. Everything the gunslinger Roland and his companions encounter has taken on symbolic significance. So when they come to Calla Bryn Sturgis, named after the director of The Magnificent Seven, its clear that King will follow the classic western archetype of a small band of heroes defending peaceable homesteaders. Here, the heroes resist masked raiders who abduct one of each pair of twins (and almost all children are twins), only to return them a month later horribly changed.
Father Callahan from King’s Salem’s Lot is resident in Calla Bryn Sturgis, and has his own tale of vampires, regulators and the secret highways though alternative Americas. Not coincidentally, the evil Glass Black 13 is hidden in his church. Meanwhile Susannah is again sporting a secondary personality, this time Mia, mother to the inhuman child that Susannah does not know she is carrying, while Roland realises their quest has become a race against the arthritis which will soon leave him crippled.
Taking off from where we left the last installment “Wizard And Glass”, the book takes a while to really get going. King spends a long time setting the scene again, no doubt aware that when the book was first released there had been a six year gap between the two novels. Once the plot finally begins to take shape, King builds on the suspense of the battle that will inevitably take place. A whole host of new and uniquely interesting characters are introduced throughout the novel, drawing the reader deeper into the strange atmosphere of Mid-World.
From “Wizard And Glass” the reader has now found a new and deeper love for the character of Roland, which King utilizes with developing on the characters little traits and quirks. As the storyline builds, King carefully weaves in clever sub-plots that incorporate some of his other previous novels. This, as I’m sure you are by now aware, has been a recurring theme within the “Dark Tower” series, but never so dominating as within this book.
The tale mounts to its final conclusion, which although short, delivers an action packed climax that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Yet again, the novel closes on a dramatic cliff-hanger, setting the reader up for the next part of this epic adventure “Song Of Susannah”.
All in all, I found the book an enjoyable read from start to finish, but unlike previous instalments, the story-line seemed to weaken somewhat through the middle. King is a writer who certainly likes to write for pages and pages simply setting a scene. For me this ended up with each chapter seemingly over padded, which on occasion made the novel seem to loose itself. Nevertheless, the novel was certainly a good read.