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THE DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER - INSCRIBED TO JOHN D. MACDONALD by  Michael (illustrations)  Stephen (novel); Whelan - Hardcover - Second Edition - 1984 - from Captain Ahab's Rare Books (SKU: 4834)


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by King, Stephen (novel); Whelan, Michael (illustrations)

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  • hardcover
  • Signed
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About This Item

West Kingston, RI: Donald M. Grant, 1984. Second Edition. The Gunslinger begins the quest by Roland, the gunslinger, to track and confront the "man in black," who knows, perhaps, the secret of the "Dark Tower." As he travels across the barren landscape of King's alternate world, sometimes alone, sometimes with a boy named Jake, Roland recalls fragments of his own past. He finally confronts the man in black, who reads his future with a Tarot deck" (Barron, Horror Literature: A Reader's Guide 4-164). Among King's most widely-read works, successfully merging elements of the spaghetti western and epic fantasy. Basis for Nikolaj Arcel's 2017 film adaptation (The Dark Tower), starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey.

An association copy of the highest caliber. To the casual reader, the connection between King and John D. MacDonald (1916-1986) may not be immediately apparent, but despite a 31 year age difference, there was a strong friendship between the two men, and depth of mutual admiration. Prior to the publication of Night Shift (1978), King's first story collection, his editor Bill Thompson asked him who he'd like to write the introduction, putting the question to him thusly: "If you could have anyone in the world do the introduction to the book, who would you pick?" King's automatic response was "John D. MacDonald." When asked why, he responded, "Because he taught me everything I know...Because I idolize him." King, fearful the quality of his stories were not up to snuff, and certain that MacDonald would be too busy, felt it was a long shot; he was shocked when his editor called and read him a letter from MacDonald, who said he would read the stories, and if he liked them, would write the introduction. "His agreement to do that introduction and its prompt arrival a couple of weeks later pleased and impressed me more than the kind things the essay itself had to say about my work; MacDonald's generosity to a young writer who he'd never met helped to keep that young writer open to the needs -- and wistful hopes -- of other young writers."

For King, an introduction by MacDonald was a huge deal. At the time, he had Carrie, Salem's Lot, and The Shining beneath his belt; MacDonald, writing pulps since 1946, and novels under his own name since 1951, was already a household name, thanks to the success of his Travis McGee novels. He would ultimately make a friend of his literary idol, meeting MacDonald and his wife Dorothy, and exchanging frequent letters until MacDonald's death in 1986. In a 1987 interview, King affirmed his admiration for MacDonald's style and influence: "I had cut my teeth on his stories. I still think that of all the people doing top fiction today, he is the best. He was my model as a kid. If there are people out there that want to write, all you need to do is read 20 of his stories to get an idea what it takes to make a story kick over."

cf. Scott, Steve. Blog post: "The Stephen King Connection." The Trap of Solid Gold: Celebrating the works of John D. MacDonald. October 29, 2011. Konstantin, Phil. "An Interview with Stephen King." The Highway Patrolman, July, 1987. One of 10,000 copies. Octavo (23.5cm); black cloth, with titles stamped in gilt on spine; pictorial endpapers; dustjacket; [10],11-224pp; illus. Inscribed by King to John D. MacDonald on the title page: "For John - Welcome to the weird, weird west - Stephen King 4/10/84." Spine lean, base of spine bumped, light finger-soil to front cover, with moderate foxing to text edges, preliminary, and terminal leaves, occasionally along the margins throughout the text; Very Good+. Dustjacket is unclipped (priced $20.00), spine-sunned, with modest shelf wear, and a few tiny nicks, tears, and attendant creases - two of them neatly mended on verso; Very Good.


"The man in black fed across the desert and the gunslinger followed". Roland Deschain,gunslinger,hero,continues his perilous adventures in search of the key to the quest that defines his life. A thrilling tale of fantasy and horror. Truly King's magnum opus. Driven by revelation and suspense, this pivotal magnificent epic will leave readers gasping to read them all. *And the tower is closer....*


On Apr 23 2014, a reader said:
The book was a good read not what I expected from King,(he is usually pretty unusual) but it was really good. I have purchased the whole set and are reading the others.

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Captain Ahab's Rare Books US (US)
Bookseller's Inventory #
King, Stephen (novel); Whelan, Michael (illustrations)
Book condition
Second Edition
Donald M. Grant
Place of Publication
West Kingston, RI
Date Published

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About the Seller

Captain Ahab's Rare Books

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since 2010
Stephenson, Virginia
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About Captain Ahab's Rare Books

Founded in 2010, Captain Ahab's Rare Books specializes in first editions of literature, genre fiction, film-related books and ephemera, zines, manuscript and archival material.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Association copy
An association copy is a copy of a book which has been signed and inscribed by the author for a personal friend, colleague, or... [More]
Very generally, "leaves" refers to the pages of a book, as in the common phrase, "loose-leaf pages." A leaf is a single sheet... [More]
shelf wear
Shelf wear (shelfwear) describes damage caused over time to a book by placing and removing a book from a shelf. This damage is... [More]
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched... [More]
Another of the terms referring to page or book size, octavo refers to a standard printer's sheet folded four times, producing... [More]
When a book is described as being inscribed, it indicates that a short note written by the author or a previous owner has been... [More]
A term used to denote a condition a slight grade better than Good.
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in... [More]
The collective of the top, fore and bottom edges of the text block of the book, being that part of the edges of the pages of a... [More]
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf.... [More]

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