One author who’s work has really taken off in the world of film and television over the last few years has to be the master of horror himself, Stephen King. The renowned author has had several of his works turn into blockbuster hits, from It to Pet Sematary.
One project that had a lackluster film debut however was The Dark Tower, the book series that is considered the author’s magnum opus. However, Amazon is investing a lot of money into making it into a worthy series, so let’s look at 10 books to read to prepare for the series debut.
10 Hearts In Atlantis
The first novel fans should read has to be Hearts in Atlantis. A collection of short stories, the main story focuses on Ted Brautigan, an older man who has powerful psychic abilities. His appearance in the short story Low Men In Yellow Coats is the biggest connection to Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.
The character is crucial to the final book’s battles, and in the short story’s ending protagonist Bobby Garfield receives an envelope filled with red rose petals from Ted, which is symbolic of the Dark Tower being surrounded by a field of red roses, giving the character closure.
9 Salem’s Lot
The next novel fans should read that is crucial to the Dark Tower lore is Salem’s Lot. Stephen King’s second novel and one of his biggest hits, the book followed a writer who returns to the small town of Jerusalem’s Lot, otherwise known locally as Salem’s Lot in Maine.
The town became infested with vampires, showcasing the decay of the small town America that used to be. One of the main characters in the novel was Father Callahan, who was turned into a vampire by the evils hiding in Jerusalem's Lot. His story carries over into the last three books in the Dark Tower.
8 Everything’s Eventual
One story that fans will not want to miss out on is Everything’s Eventual, from the anthology of the same name. Another collection of short stories, the titular short tale focuses on protagonist Richard “Dinky” Earnshaw.
With a unique ability to mentally influence people by drawing complex designs and sending them to people, an organization recruits him to take out people they tell him are evil, in exchange for living well off. However he learns these aren’t evil people, and he was used. He is later seen in the final Dark Tower novel, working with the heroes to stop The Crimson King.
A unique and somewhat underrated novel in the Stephen King multiverse that deserves to be read to better understand the nature of the world of the Dark Tower series is Insomnia. Protagonist Ralph Roberts is a widower who has trouble sleeping and sees the auras of people around him.
When a man he knew begins to act irrationally and attacks his wife, forcing her to flee, Ralph begins to see three bald, small “doctors," two good and one bad. They help take those who’s time, but the bad one works for The Crimson King, the villain of the Dark Tower series.
6 Desperation/The Regulators
The next two choices are actually novels that come in pairs, either as a series or as connected novels. The first is the pairing of Desperation and The Regulators. The first written by Stephen King and the second written by his pseudonym Richard Bachman, the book explores two realities with the same cast of characters in different scenarios.
Despite different scenarios, both books deal with the emergence of an ancient evil known as Tak, a formless entity that possesses people. Tak is actually a creature from Todash Space, a realm created by the author connected to the Dark Tower series.
5 The Talisman/Black House
This next unique pairing is a novel written by both Stephen King and author Peter Straub, which is not only connected to the Dark Tower immensely but is a cult classic series. The Talisman and Black House follow protagonist Jack Sawyer.
The Talisman follows him as a child, traveling across the United States and the fictional parallel world of the Territories to find a way to save his mom from cancer and battle evil. Black House sees him as an adult, rediscovering the Territories to save an abducted child from a serial killer under the influence of The Crimson King.
4 The Eyes Of The Dragon
With Randall Flagg being one of the biggest antagonists fans will see in the Dark Tower series, (also known as the Man in Black), the next novel they should check out has to be The Eyes of the Dragon. A major change in tone for the author, this epic fantasy novel explored the evil agent of chaos in a whole new light.
Taking place in the fictional kingdom of Delain, Flagg is King Roland’s magician, who plots against him when he fears his position in jeopardy at the birth of Peter, a future noble king. He plots to destroy them.
3 The Stand
Keeping on track with the history and many evil plots of the man in black himself Randall Flagg, the next novel fans should read is The Stand. One of Stephen King’s longest and most well written works, this epic focuses on a virus that wipes out most of the world’s population.
The survivors enter a battle of good versus evil, as the good gather in a small community under the guidance of Mother Abigail, and the evil gather in Las Vegas under the rule of the sinister Randall Flagg. It showcases the power and influence Flagg has on other people.
2 Doctor Sleep
One of Stephen King’s newer novels has a major impact on the Stephen King multiverse, bringing one of his most iconic tales into the Dark Tower universe as a whole. Doctor Sleep visits a now adult Danny Torrance, the young boy with the gift known as The Shining in the novel of the same name.
Having to fight to save a young girl and fight his father’s alcoholism and legacy of violence, Danny finds he has a connection to a well known Dark Tower character, Jake Chambers, uttering Jake’s infamous quote from the series, “There are other world’s than these.”
Of course the most popular novel to date that will be perfect for fans to read to get acquainted with the Dark Tower series is Stephen King’s It. The book inspired two interconnected films that have become extremely popular, following a group of friends from childhood to adulthood to battle the ancient evil known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
Pennywise is an ancient evil from Todash Space, who feeds off of people’s fear. His enemy is Maturin, the turtle who’s famous in the Dark Tower universe and is one of the guardians of the beams holding up the eponymous Dark Tower.