In 1970, Stephen King began his magnum opus, The Dark Tower. It didn’t see its first publication until 1978 in the magazine Fantasy and Science Fiction. Four years later, after four more installments appeared in the same magazine, the first actual BOOK appeared in a limited edition published by Donald M. Grant.
That information is just from the first chapter of Mr. Vincent’s 2004 Road to the Dark Tower book. He was given advance access to the manuscripts of the final three books so that it could be published around the time of the final book. If memory serves, it was supposed to be published the week after the final installment of King’s series was published, though with no strict on sale date, many bookstores released it early and diehard fans clamoring to know how the series ended sought those stores to read Chapter 8 of the book, where Mr. Vincent gives a detailed account of all the action of in the book, including the ending.
Despite this book examines the series, more than half is really nothing more than a synopsis for each book that talks connections to other books King has written. Other chapters, such as Chapter 9, the one entitled “Related Works” talks more of the connections. Chapter 10, “Dramatis Personae,” is where Mr. Vincent lays detailed descriptions of all the important characters in the series. Chapter 11, “Epics, Influences, and Ka” is probably the most interesting chapter. Here we really get into the meat of where King was inspired to write his series (beyond Browning’s poem, that is). There’s another chapter before the argument where Mr. Vincent asks if the series truly is King’s Magnum Opus. Then there are six appendices and some references.
So, the question is, does this book stack up to the claims? Well, that’s hard to answer. It really does give the reader a lot of information that wasn’t there beforehand. However, there’s also the problem that Mr. Vincent seems to have been reader King too long: he uses ten words when three will suffice. Overall, it’s a satisfactory read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the Dark Tower.