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The Path to Stephen King's The Dark Tower

The Path to Stephen King's The Dark Tower

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

The Talisman. This collaborative work by Stephen King and Peter Straub was never meant to be part of “The Dark Tower” mythos when first published in 1984. But because of the parallels between this world and that of Mid-world it eventually made itself a “Dark Tower Connection.” The main connection in this story is with King’s short “Dark Tower” story “Little Sisters of Eluria.

Jack Sawyer is the 12-year-old son of “Queen of the B-Movies,” Lily Cavanaugh. His father died under mysterious circumstances and he is left to care for his ailing mom who is battling cancer. They are holed up in the old Alhambra Hotel by the sea in New Hampshire.  While walking the boardwalk of Arcadia Beach he meets up with the mysterious “Speedy” Parker.

Speedy tells Jack about a crystal talisman that could cure and save his mother, but he needs to go to the west coast. He teaches Jack how to “flip” into a parallel world where things are much smaller but more dangerous. Jack uses this skill to make it to the west coast faster.

The parallel United States is known as “The Territories.” There everyone has a twin or a “twinner,” except for Jack because his twinner died at birth. His mother’s twinner is the Queen of the Territories and she is also sick and he learns he must save her too.

Throughout his journey to get the talisman, he befriends a werewolf known simply as “wolf.” They make their way across the United States/Territories trying out stop his father’s ex-business partner Morgan Sloat from taking over his father’s business /mother’s kingdom. They make some friends and some awful enemies. They find their way imprisoned in a home for wayward boys and escape. They are chased by werewolves that work for Morgan; and Wolf makes a final sacrifice to save Jack’s life.

Jack finally makes it to the Agincourt Hotel in Point Venuti in California. In the Territories, the hotel is a dilapidated black castle. The Agincourt shifts in appearance and Jack learns that there are more worlds than just the Territories and his world. But can he get the talisman and return with it in time to save his mother and the Queen?

The connection with the Dark Tower series: The tent hospital from “The Little Sisters of Eluria” is where the Queen is resting to be healed. The language of the Territories is very similar to that of Mid-World. “Speedy” Parker/Parkus, is a gunslinger. Morgan Sloat/Morgan of Oriss uses a key to open a “thinny” or thin spot in reality to go from one universe to another. “The Blasted Lands” are very similar to “The Wastelands.