Plume, 2003 (nook edition)
First Line: The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
Despite being the book that kicked off Stephen King’s Dark Tower series I originally read it third, during the long wait between The Waste Lands and Wizard and Glass, oddly enough I never felt that this spoiled my reading of the series; it marks the only time I know of that I’ve managed to read a series out of order. The Gunslinger is based loosely off of the Robert Browning poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” a poem based off of a line from Shakespeare’s King Lear, a line itself referencing a traditional fairy tale, a fairy tale which may have been inspired by an old Scottish ballad. Which is all fascinating, if slightly confusing, but perhaps more fascinating is that The Gunslinger, and the rest of the novels in the series, create something of a unifying mythology for most of Stephen King’s novels.