Wizard and Glass is the fourth book in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. The story is set in a western fantasy world and focuses on the adolescent years of Roland, a mysterious gunslinger in search of the Dark Tower. For his own safety, Roland is sent to a sleepy town with two of his friends, Cuthbert and Alain. When the band of travelers reach their destination, they find the town to be anything but sleepy. The town is controlled by a group of outlaws that immediately clash with the three newcomers, and in this world conflict is solved with a revolver. This book is a combination of Lord of the Rings and classic western stories.
Stephen King has written over 50 best-selling horror and fantasy novels. He received the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2003. Stephen King considers The Dark Tower Series one of his greatest achievements. He often feared he would die before finishing the series. The writing of the Dark Tower series spanned thirty years. Because he doesn’t outline the entire book before he writes it, King didn’t know how the series would end when asked by a terminally ill reader fifteen years before its completion.
Roland, the central character, has very complex moral boundaries and continues to keep the reader guessing. The narrative flows like a movie. King makes you continue turning the pages late into the night. After reading the previous books in the series, it is refreshing to see where Roland came from and why he does the things he does. The novel can be treated as a stand-alone book as well, since this flashback novel tells of Roland’s adventures with his fellow gunslingers in an old west town run by a band of fierce gunslingers called the Coffin Hunters. Wizard and Glass has a hint of romance, which buries the reader deeper into the mind of Roland of Gilead. From start to finish, the plot never drags.
Although the book can be read apart from the others in the series, it is advisable to read the first three to develop an understanding of the strange world Wizard and Glass takes place in. For this reason, time may be an issue.
Fantasy, western, and sci-fi readers will appreciate this novel the most, though romance readers would be pleasantly surprised. The novel is written for an adult audience. It contains violent scenes, language, and sexual content.