The Gunslinger by Stephen King
This first volume in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, a sort of spaghetti western/epic fantasy crossover, sees our protagonist The Gunslinger pursuing the enigmatic Man in Black across a post-apocalyptic, Wild West landscape on his quest to find the Dark Tower, which may or may not control the flow of time in the world.
First published as a series of novelettes in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction between 1978 and 1981, this book collects the stories in one volume and sets the scene for the ongoing series, which currently comprises eight novels.
As the first book in the series, the novel is basically a scene-setter, introducing the main character and his nemesis, and setting out the background for The Gunslinger’s revenge-fuelled pursuit of The Man in Black. As such, there is no neat wrap up to the novel, merely a convenient place to pause before the next instalment.
The prose style is a bit flowery in places, but is not unreadable, and the characters are engaging enough, though the short novelette format of the original stories does not provide much scope for in-depth character development.
Not recommended as a stand-alone read, but a decent start to the series if you intend to take it further (and there are enough unanswered questions in this first volume to make that a real possibility).