The Black Tower: A Novel


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According to one review the book proves itself necessary as a transition from the earlier "Tower" novels to the last three, which were quite notably influenced by the then-new "Harry Potter" books King goes as far to include flying balls called "sneetches" bearing the letters "HPJKR" in their serial number.

King has at least shown a commitment to making his changes and additions to the series canonically airtight. The guide was later revised and published separately as an aid for anyone looking for a canonical guide to series. Furth now works for Marvel on the "Tower" comic adaptations, and the Concordance itself was updated and revised upon the release of "Wind Through the Keyhole. Normally, a reading order should be more concerned about canon, character development and cultural impact than with biographical details about the author.

Of course, in this case you can kinda throw that out the window after the first time King connects back to his past work. Without spoiling too much, Stephen King appears in the series himself. Explicit self-inserts are a common enough trope. They can be amusing, surreal, vaguely upper-crust literary and post-modern — and of course, the idea easily slots right into a multiverse scenario.

There's the world you're reading, and the over in our universe next door there's the author writing it. King's self-insert comes from a dark place. On June 19th, , he was hit by a minivan while out for a walk near his beach house. It was a serious collision: The man who hit King, Bryan Edwin Smith, died a little over a year later of a fentanyl overdose, after a public legal battle that ended only with a short suspended prison sentence and revocation of Smith's license for a year.

In an eerie coincidence, Smith passed away on King's birthday. They shared a middle name. It's fair to say that the accident is the sole reason why King wasted little time in putting a capper on the series, and without saying much more, the way he writes himself into the books absolutely supports that idea. In the introduction to the revised edition of "The Gunslinger," King reflects on the accident and how it almost put an end to "The Dark Tower" — comparing the thought of the series cut-short to the Chaucer's unfinished "Canterbury Tales.

Now there's a new iteration of "The Dark Tower" that might leave audiences without an ending. The development deal that brought forth the new movie also pinned a prospective TV series to the package — an adaptation of the flashback story in "Wizard and Glass" with cameo appearances by Idris Elba reprising his role as grown-up Roland in the movie. On top of franchise aspirations, there have been hints that the movie is more than an adaptation of the original novels.

Though King isn't super-closely involved with the new film, he tweeted out an image from the set that suggests how film could be seen in relation to the canon of the books seriously, only click this if you're fine with having the ending of the books completely spoiled.

Unfortunately, "Tower junkies" and newcomers alike might end up disappointed with the new movie, and if that translates to a box-office bust then the TV adaptation is probably going to an early grave. Then again, occasional TV and movie duds have done nothing to dull Stephen King's influence over the years. If 's "Dark Tower" movie goes down in flames, there's a pretty good chance at a reboot further on down the line.

The man in black will flee across the desert again, and the gunslinger will follow. Aug 3 , 6: Mathew Olson is an Associate Editor at Digg. The set of 70 bills is one of the only bipartisan pieces of legislation to be approved this year. From the golden carpet to the little golden statues, everything you need to know about the TV award show's 70th year. Congrats on caring enough about someone to share a bathroom. This is the most bro clip you'll see all week.

Kavanaugh will reportedly return to the Senate Judiciary Committee next Monday to testify about allegation that he sexually assaulted a year-old girl at a party when he was Who would ever do any of the things that the characters do in this book? And they do boring things, by the way, nonsensically boring - the worst kind of boring. Let's eat together every night in silence except for we'll take turns reading boring stuff a I don't understand how anyone can like this book.

Let's eat together every night in silence except for we'll take turns reading boring stuff aloud. Tonight is my turn, I'll read the phone book while you slouch in your wheelchair and masticate your food. Since half the potential suspects are in wheelchairs, the inspector has to keep the reader guessing by constantly speculating that this or that criminal act could not have been committed by a resident in a wheelchair EXCEPT if they had an accomplice - ooooh!

The worst is at the climax The climatic confrontation is almost laughable. When the good guy tries to make the phone call, the bad guy pops out and with no other preamble, asks 'How did you know it was me? Um, how did you know that I know that it was you?? The writing was fine, but the characters, the narrative, the action - not so great. Apr 23, Matthew L. This book is the definition of the word slow. It is a convalescence book about a character to whom I had little to no connection. I wonder if I would have felt differently if I had read any other books starring Adam Dalgliesh, but I didn't and I found the references to the case he was recovering from kind of irritating.

Like an in-joke to which I wasn't privy. I loved the sense of the solitude and reduced speed of Dorset, but it took too long to get to the action and I had very little att Hoo boy. I loved the sense of the solitude and reduced speed of Dorset, but it took too long to get to the action and I had very little attachment to the story. I also found the characters generally confusing and not terribly well fleshed out.

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The Dark Tower (novel)

The last 80 or so pages picked up, but it took me a long time to get through this mere page novel. I'd not recommend it, unless you like lurid descriptions of flowers and stories viewed through a mist. I'm inclined to try another of her books as I feel I may have just picked up the wrong one for starters and I'd give it a star and a half. The writing isn't bad, but when I feel like I'm slogging through a book I'm reading for pleasure, there is something amiss.

I picked up this book hoping to find another murder-mystery author I could enjoy as much as I do Christie.

This book takes place in a nursing home for the invalid. Where people are killed off one after the other is what seem like accidents. Inspector Dalgliesh slowly tries to pu pieces together and get to the bottom of the killings. The plot is tedious. The narrative creaks and groans and whimpers and almost left me in a stupor. And having reached the end of the book I'm surprised I made it till t I picked up this book hoping to find another murder-mystery author I could enjoy as much as I do Christie. And having reached the end of the book I'm surprised I made it till the last page.

I was thinking of trying another of her books - a more popular one - and then I read this article: James - her sensibilities about what makes a good murder-mystery are obviously starkly different from mine. I've lost track of how many P. James mysteries are set at medical facilities, but it's getting ridiculous. This one is pretty tedious up until the last 30 pages or so. We have a bunch of convalescents, some seriously ill or dying, in wheelchairs this makes pushing them off cliffs easier.

Commander Dalgliesh, himself convalescing from mono that the doctors at first thought was leukemia, serendipitously ends up among them, as they begin to die, apparently from suicide or natural causes. It tak I've lost track of how many P. It takes Dalgliesh pages to figure out that there is something more sinister going on - and since he has decided to quit the police force, he keeps pretending he isn't going to get involved anyway. Honestly, the most interesting part was when Dalgliesh was sorting through an old pile of books.

Adam Dalgliesh learns a little something about false diagnoses. Then he goes to visit a friend who apparently died just before he arrives. But the bodies keep falling and they all appear to be natural causes. There were too many for natural causes to have killed them all. All this while Adam is considering leaving the Met. This was okay but as I was listening to this today, I kind of think I dozed off for a couple of chapters because when I woke up he was solving it.

And facing other problems. I've been working my way through the Adam Dalgliesh stories and with James' recent passing, I will continue. View all 6 comments. Feb 07, Kirsten rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is possibly one of James's most introspective and well-handled mysteries. Recovering from a severe illness and newly aware of his mortality, Adam Dalgliesh makes the decision to leave the police force. Before returning to tender his resignation, however, he decides to visit an old friend who has written him alluding to a need for advice.

Father Michael is the chaplain at Toynton Grange, a home for the "young disabled" in Dorset, and it seems like as good a place as any to convalesce. When D This is possibly one of James's most introspective and well-handled mysteries. When Dalgliesh arrives, however, he finds a morass of a mystery.

This mystery shares a lot of characteristics with James's later Death in Holy Orders ; both are excellent, but I'd recommend not reading them in quick succession, as I found the similarities somewhat distracting. Oct 06, Elizabeth rated it did not like it Shelves: I picked this book up at a book sale for a song, mostly because the cover advertised the book as "Agatha Christie's Crown Princess" and being a Christie fan I thought I'd try it out.

The story was long, boring, and the mystery easy to figure out. Very few of the characters had any appeal to me and quite honestly, I skipped parts just to get through to the end. This is the first book that really starts to resemble her more modern day writing and also starts to showcase her own writing style. Before, we have followed an Agatha Christie type format and this was good, but not great.

This novel gives us far more background and characterisation of Adam Dalgliesh and is bound up in his past. This, as always, is a great way of giving us a more detailed and rounded character, without just saying it. Commander Dalgleish is visiting the home of an old friend whilst he is convalescing, instantly he is thrown into intrigue, much of which is hard to solve. Not so hard that I lost interest, but just challenging enough to want me to continue to journey. Dalgliesh is cleverly shown to be on less than top form, as you would expect from someone so recently very ill.

He is also having an identity crisis. Does he wish to continue as a Police Officer or not? This all complicates his thought processes and we are with him on the ride. All motives for crime fall into just a few categories. So what is the motive here? Are we dealing with love, greed or hate? It is not easy to work out, but I urge you to give it a try. PD James is really coming into her own with this novel and I am really inspired to move on with my year long reread of this series.

James writes sensual prose, while Dalgliesh continues to pull me in. I didn't go for his resolution to leave police work, but then, I know that 9 more books follow this volume, so there were no stakes in this prospect for me. As usual, the mystery, itself, is secondary to the character histories that manifest during the ensuing investigation. James is very good at writing about people and the complicated muddle they make of their lives. Murder is nasty; reading this book was pleasan A short take: Murder is nasty; reading this book was pleasant.

Would a murderer continue killing people in the middle of an active investigation, let alone an investigation in which a renowned officer is living within meters of the victim? So far, the last three Dalgliesh books have featured this trope, without which, hypothetically, Dalgliesh would be left short of needed evidence to resolve the facts of each crime. But to keep killing in the vicinity of an officer is stupid. This judgment does not detract from my enjoyment of the book, but it does keep the plot strong attached to fiction--which is fine by me: Dalgliesh and his adventures do not need to be true-to-life for me to like them.

Nov 26, Kyrie rated it liked it Shelves: Dalgliesh is recovering from a serious illness and gets a letter from an old family friend who's working at a home for the disabled? Not sure exactly what to call the place - it's not a nursing home for the elderly, but it's definitely a care place. Anyhow, the writing was difficult for me.

It was like being ill along with Dalgliesh and not being able to quite grasp things or wondering if I had a fever again or what. I don't usually care for the list of characters at the beginning Dalgliesh is recovering from a serious illness and gets a letter from an old family friend who's working at a home for the disabled? I don't usually care for the list of characters at the beginning of a book.

In this one, it would have been helpful, as there were a lot of recurring people and they sometimes called people by their first name, sometimes their last, and I often wasn't sure just who we were discussing. They were never distinct to me. Which one was a nurse, which one an aide? Which of the older men were we discussing? Which of the police? Which of the people who died before the tale began? It sorted itself out in the end, but I was frustrated throughout and not really certain it was worth the effort to figure it out.

If the intent was to make the reader feel as Dalgliesh felt,then it was a rousing success. Mar 29, Lorraine rated it really liked it Shelves: Scars from the Revolution still bleed. Napoleon has had his Waterloo and the monarchy has been restored. But who is the rightful heir to the aging Louis the 18th? Louis Bayard - image from the Washington Post Our hero, narrator and everyman is Hector Carpentier, a doctor of venereology, who lives a stunted life at his parental ho Louis Bayard likes to take on old authors and have some fun with their worlds.

Louis Bayard - image from the Washington Post Our hero, narrator and everyman is Hector Carpentier, a doctor of venereology, who lives a stunted life at his parental home, a survivor among many of the trials of revolutionary and post-revolutionary France. If so, that would not be a happy thing for those whose livelihood is based on their connection to the current king, Louis XVIII The most compelling character here is Vidocq, police detective extraordinaire, master of disguise, and in the know about all the crime that takes place in his fair city.

Of course he should know, given his unsavory background. The action is non-stop and Bayard offers a colorful depiction of 19th C. I found that at the end of the book, the revelations and explanations became a bit too much, making my head spin. Part of that may have been because I had not made my usual effort to sustain a log of characters, and thus was somewhat more at sea than usual.

But that is a quibble. This was a fun read, a beach book to be sure, but brush off the sand and enjoy. View all 16 comments. This tale reminded me of the York princes in the tower. Both the English and the French tragedies lent themselves to mystery, conspiracy theories and umpteen pretenders. This dark tale is told with irony and humour, and the reader is advised to suspend disbelief.

In fact, the author states: View all 13 comments. Jul 05, Becky rated it it was ok Shelves: I have had this book on my TBR for nearly a decade, and have owned this audiobook for almost half that. I don't know why I never got around to it before, but it's just one of those books that really catch my interest hard So many books, so little time. So now I've read this, or listened to it, and I wish I could actually say that I liked it more, but I ended up being kind of bored with it, and ended up increasing the s I have had this book on my TBR for nearly a decade, and have owned this audiobook for almost half that.

I wish I could actually say that I liked it more, but I ended up being kind of bored with it, and ended up increasing the speed of the playback quite a lot to get through it quickly. To be clear, I usually listen at somewhere between 1. That's about a normal speaking speed for me.

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I upped it to about 2. Since much of this book is first person narration of things that are happening, I was fine with it. I found Vidocq to be an interesting character, and I liked him He was gruff, smart, and willing to go to any length to solve a crime, as he felt that any crimes committed in Paris were a personal affront to him.

The other main character, our narrator, Hector I just had to look up his name. That's how memorable he was. He was the weak nobody who, for some reason, is the key to the mystery. Ehh, I don't really have much to say about this book. I found it mundane. But I found it hard to tell when we were listening to that vs the actual present day events. And so then I started to get bored.

I did like the historical setting, and I liked the political aspects, but I think this is a book that some readers will enjoy, and maybe it's one that would work better in print, but for me, even the brilliant Simon Vance couldn't bring this one up to a 3-star rating. It was just OK. Sep 09, Terry rated it really liked it Shelves: It is a period of huge turmoil and horror for France, where hope and possibility were mingled with despair and the worst elements of the human heart.

The story proper begins as the narrator, Dr. Hector Carpentier, recalls for us what is perhaps the most eventful period of his life. As Carpentier tells us: Unfortunately for him, Carpentier has fallen prey to just such an occurrence and as a result becomes enmeshed in an investigation involving murder and conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of French society and threatens to engulf the nation in yet another political upheaval that could destroy what little remains of its tattered foundations.

We learn, as events progress, that Louis-Charles the young son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, once thought to have perished in destitution while a prisoner in the eponymous Black Tower, may actually have survived and be in line to claim his rightful place as Louis XVII. As the mystery deepens and they are led to a strange and simple man going by the name of Charles Rapskeller who appears to be the centre of it all, the two men meet with greater resistance that threatens not only their lives, but the welfare of the nation. Written tersely in a sort of shorthand, they still manage to provide a bleak and moving picture of the horrors to which the former rulers of France were subjected.

In both the flashbacks and the story proper Bayard excels at depicting characters that are people whose lives and circumstances are the result of the world around them and the events that have occurred in their lives. Regardless of how you feel about monarchy vs. Ultimately this is a book that explores that human cost by taking a view of France from the Revolution to the Restoration and examining the impact of the turmoil of these events on individuals from the lowest to the highest levels of society which flip-flopped throughout the period.

It is in this personal examination of great political events and a concentration on well-drawn characters, without forgoing the complexity both of the people involved and the events into which they are thrown, that Bayard has his greatest success. All in all a very enjoyable reading experience. View all 12 comments. Aug 31, Susan rated it it was amazing Shelves: This was my second book by this author, and I loved it Set in France during the restoration, Hector Carpentier, a failing medical student, becomes embroiled in a very strange investigation into whether the Dauphin, the son of King Louis XVII and Marie Antoinette was murdered whilst he was imprisoned in the Black Tower, a dreadful prison in Paris also known as the Temple, or if he was rescued by Hector's father, a Doctor, who it seems, was called in to treat the desperately ill little boy.

When This was my second book by this author, and I loved it When Vidocq, a brilliantly larger than life character The young student's life is to be turned upside down as he joins forces with the unconventional detective, and battles with some very dark forces, people who are determined to keep the secrets of the Black Tower from ever being revealed. As things begin to turn nasty and old secrets are unearthed, we meet some weird and wonderful characters View all 4 comments.

Pressie from Wonderful Wanda. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. View all 6 comments. Jul 02, Elizabeth rated it really liked it Shelves: The Black Tower by Louis Bayard pp. As historical fiction goes, Bayard balances the details of the period, plausibility, and moving the plot along better than most.

The French Revolution and fast-moving, enjoyable fiction are not two ideas that I find go well together; but Bayard rises to the task and produces. The tale could easily be converted to a fun historic walk of Paris. Carpentier, Vidocq, the Lost Dauphin and even the supporting characters are well drawn.

But with most of this type of genre fiction, you are either left disappointed with the ending or wanting more. Here, Bayard finishes the third act nicely, but concludes with a Dun- Dunt-Da cliffhanger which could have open another interesting extension of the story. Overall, an excellent story with an average ending. May 05, Jann Barber rated it it was amazing. I realize this is my second 5-star review in a row, but this book deserves it! I have never read anything by Bayard before, although "Mr. Timothy" has been on my book shelves for at least a year. Reading this book was like unstacking a set of Russian nesting dolls.

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There were stories within stories, and plenty of twists and turns. I enjoy books that keep me guessing until the end This was one of those books. I found the character of Vidocq to be fascina I realize this is my second 5-star review in a row, but this book deserves it! I found the character of Vidocq to be fascinating, even more so because he actually existed.

Who would have thought that a criminal would one day be the founder and first chief of the French Surete police organization? According to Wikipedia, he is considered to be the father of modern criminology and is also regarded as the first private detective. In this novel, Vidocq is paired up with the young Hector Carpentier after the name "Dr. Hector Carpentier" is found on a scrap of paper in the pocket of a man who had been murdered. This murder leads them to the mystery of what happened to the Dauphin, officially declared to have died in the horrible Temple in Paris.

The chapter titles were interesting, the story moved at an excellent pace, and I am now ready to read more of Bayard's books. If you like mysteries and historical fiction, I strongly recommend this book. View all 3 comments. Jun 14, Liza rated it it was ok. There are a number of things that are almost inevitably true in historical fiction that drive me absolutely up the wall: I enjoyed it in a goofy way for awhile before it totally went off the rails.

One of the reasons I liked The 19th Wife was that the author took pains to make the first-person historical narrative feel like it was contemporary to the period. Aug 26, Laura rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Just arrived from Sweden, kindly sent by my dear friend Bettie.


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