Question about Stephen King / The Dark Tower (spoilers possible)

I’m reading the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I haven’t read anything by King before, and I’m enjoying it a lot. But after I had finished part 4, Wizard and Glass, I discovered this roadmap. It shows all the other books by King that have a connection to that series, but it doesn’t show how important those connections are.

So before starting Wolves of the Calla, I read Salem’s Lot. I’m glad that I did, because that story is very important for the new character, Callahan, and because Salem’s Lot would have been spoiled if I had read it later.

On the other hand, the connection between The Wastelands and The Stand (which I haven’t read, but I know some of its backstory) seems to be much less important. They travel through the world in which it happened, but there aren’t any characters from that book.

For the book I’m going to read next, Song of Susannah, the roadmap shows at least 8 other books with a connection. I’m willing to read a few of those, or even all, if it’s really that important to the story, but I don’t think it is.

So my question is, which of those books should I read to have the full backstory for The Dark Tower VI, and which should I read before because they would be seriously spoiled by that book?

(Spoilers only for the books that I’ve already read, The Dark Tower 1 -5, please.)

I’ve read all of King’s books, pretty much as they were published, including the Dark Tower books.

The only instance where I was glad to have read them in any particular order was the one you mentioned – Salem’s Lot before Wolves of the Calla.

That’s just MHO though. I don’t have a great memory for details of the Dark Tower story, so it’s unlikely that reading Insomnia after Dark Tower would spoil Insomnia for me. It might for you though.

I think some of the connections in the Road Map are pretty slight. Bag of Bones and The Gunslinger? I don’t remember anything from Bones that relates to Gunslinger.

Probably one of the King fans with a better memory will chime in.

You might also consider getting Bev Vincent’s book, The Road to the Dark Tower. All the connections are explained, in detail.

I read the whole dark tower series, but haven’t read much else by King. That being said, I don’t think you need to read any other books in order to follow and enjoy the dark tower. It made me kind of wish I had read Salem’s Lot, but it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the story. I HAVE read The Stand, and while the crossovers were interesting I don’t think it added all that much. (I liked The Stand a whole lot though, so I would recommend reading it) And as for other books being ruined, I am not sure that the books get as ruined as you think they do. I haven’t read Salem’s Lot, but I do plan to read it, and I also feel like I have no clue what really is happening in the book. Now not having read the book may be wrong. If the suspense of the book hinges on what is happening and the fact that it is vampires is the big payoff, then yeah that would be bad, but no worse than what you read on Amazon. The only things I feel I really know are that Callahan is an alcoholic, and that there are vampires in Jerusalem’s Lot. You think the book was spoiled because you have all the puzzle pieces and can make the connections, but to someone like me the puzzle is still only half finished. So don’t worry, enjoy the books, they are lots of fun. :smiley:

I may be wrong. :smack:

Thanks for the answers so far.

You’re right of course. The books wouldn’t really be spoiled if I read them in the wrong order. I’m sure I could still enjoy them if I knew a few plot details. Wolves of the Calla “spoils” a few more details of Salem’s Lot than just that there are vampires and Callahan is an alcoholic, but I probably only noticed or remembered them bacause I knew them already.

But I would still prefer to read them in order, if there was an important connection. Now I can freely decide what to read next, and if it adds something, why not read Insomnia or The Talisman first. If they just share some unimportant deatails, I’d rather just go on with the Dark Tower. After your responses, I think that’s what i’ll do.

I don’t have any of Sai King’s books here, so I can’t reference the roadmap, and have to do this from memory, that being said…

The Stand and Eyes of the Dragon feature the character Randall Flagg/Flagg whom you have already met in the Dark Tower series, under several different guises, Walter/Marten/The man in black who fled across the desert, etc.

Insomnia briefly features the boy Patrick Danville, whom you will meet in book 7, but King seems to discount to importance of that himself.

Desperation introduces the can-tak, or is it the can-toi, which has some little importance in book 6.

Hearts in Atlantis introduces Ted Brautagan, who is very important in book 7, and I would suggest reading that one first.

One of the stories in Everythings Eventual introduces Dinky Earnshaw, also from book 7.

The Tailisman introduces Jack, who later appears in Black House, which ties into the breaker plotline, also the tailisman may be one of the wizards rainbow, but that is just conjecture on my part.

From a Buick 8 and perhaps the Mist, feature creatures that come from a world near the gunslingers world, and hardly deserve to be on the map.

Rose Madder and Bag of Bones both reference people who come from the gunslingers world but have nothing to do with his story.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some but I hope these help. I would suggest you read the Stand, Hearts in Atlantis, Black House and Needful Things (which has nothing to do with the DT series but is my personal favorite of King’s)

Thank you, too. Now I think I’ll start with Black House. That’s a good thing, too, because I have Black House here, while I’d have to wait a few days before I can get Song of Susannah. I’ll start reading tonight.

Black House may be difficult to get into at the beginning. At least, it was for me. It’s written in a strange tense. Semi first person, semi second person.

For example, a line might be “we [the reader and the narrator] float through the window, and across the street to the police station.”

It was hard for me to get into it at first. But, when things start happening, it really picks up. Stick with it.

Have you read The Talisman? You really should read that before Black House, since Black House is its sequel.

I noticed that before starting Black House, so I’m reading the Talisman instead. This is all more complicated than I thought. :slight_smile: