Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King

(The Dark Tower, #5)

The fifth installment of King's #1 "New York Times" masterpiece. Roland and his tet have just returned to the path of the Beam when they discover that they are being followed by a group of inexperienced trackers. The trackers are from the town of Calla Bryn Sturgis, and they desperately need the help of gunslingers. Once every generation, a band of masked riders known as the Wolves gallop out of the dark land of Thunderclap to steal one half of all the twins born in the Callas. When the children are returned, they are roont, or mentally and physically ruined. In less than a month, the Wolves will raid again. In exchange for Roland’s aid, Father Callahan—a priest originally from our world—offers to give Roland a powerful but evil seeing sphere, a sinister globe called Black Thirteen which he has hidden below the floorboards of his church. Not only must Roland and his tet discover a way to defeat the invincible Wolves, but they must also return to New Yorks so that they can save our world’s incarnation of the Dark Tower from the machinations of the evil Sombra Corporation.

“It was the possibility of darkness that made the day seem so bright.”

King again pauses a bit in the group’s journey to the tower as they stop in Calla Bryn Sturgis. The adventure experienced within the land is the focus of the book. It’s unusual, chilling, and fits into the ‘there’s just something wrong’ vibe of the Dark Tower world. Even if this journey involves many others – including, bizarrely, Father Callahan from Salem’s Lot – there’s plenty of focus and page light on our mains, the ka-tet of Roland, Eddie, Savannah and Oy.

There’s so much, I don’t know, ‘mysticism’ in this one? The rose in New New York is a bit confusing to me, I’ll admit it. A bizarre and bleak blend of technology failing, magic (bends), old school gunslinger style, knight type honor codes and fairytale-ism (Oy and the wolves) and science-fiction (Andy). The tower series seems to be mixing all sorts of fantasy types at once. King continues his tying his universe together, and while he threw in Wizard of the Oz in a previous book, he mentions Harry Potter in this one (to a lesser degree than Oz) and even comic books.

Roland continues to be epic. Savannah, who I’ve never liked as a character, is more interesting with some of her changes in this one. The sleepwalking segments are some of the creepiest/best of the series. The wolves townsfolk and unusual lore was more fascinating than I’d figured. Father Callahan must be a favorite of Kings’? How he got to Roland’s world was a clever twist.

King gives the story extreme style and polish in his awesome blending of so many genres and themes. Epic adventure that’s part of what makes the Dark Tower series so memorable. This is one of the better books. The ending is the best part.

   Book Quotes:

“No one ever does live happily ever after, but we leave the children to find that out for themselves.” 

“I wanted to say goodbye to someone, and have someone say goodbye to me. The goodbyes we speak and the goodbyes we hear are the goodbyes that tell us we´re still alive.”  

“Mister, we deal in lead.”

   Extras on Author's Website:

Link to Robert Browning's Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came poem that inspired the story

Discordia (Game Based on the Dark Tower series)

   Reviews of the Series: