Onyx reviews: Song of
Susannah by Stephen King
Song of Susannah, Book VI of the Dark Tower series, recounts the events of
the day after Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, and his ka-tet defeated the
Wolves in Calla Bryn Sturgis. Their success, however, was bittersweet because
Mia, the demon possessing Susannah, kidnapped her through the UNFOUND door.
What's worse, she took with her the evil Wizard's Glass, sealing this doorway to
Manni magic and the innate powers of the ka-tet wrest the magic door open on the
last two places it accessed. Though Roland assigns specific tasks to his group,
the enigmatic force of destiny known as ka has its own plan. Father Callahan,
Jake and Oy are sent to 1999 on Susannah's trail while Eddie and Roland are
hurled into rural Maine in 1977, where an ambushing party led by mobster Jack
Andolini lies in wait.
King manages three parallel plots throughout the book. Foremost is the story of
Susannah and Mia, whose sole imperative is to give birth to the child they
carry. Though Susannah is the mother, raising the child has been promised to
Mia. The identity of the fetus' father will come as a shock to most readers.
They arrive in a city foreign to both; Mia is of Mid-World and thirty-five years
have wrought many differences on New York since Roland plucked Susannah from
1964. If they are to survive, they must form an uneasy alliance. Susannah knows
how to navigate in this world; Mia has information about the Crimson King and
the nature of existence that may prove useful should Susannah ever be reunited
with her friends. Susannah tries to convince Mia that she made a poor deal with
people who cannot be trusted.
In Maine, Roland and Eddie seek to purchase the vacant lot supporting the rose,
the Dark Tower's representation in Keystone Earth, from Calvin Tower. Tower and
his friend, Aaron Deepnau, are supposed to be in hiding from Enrico Balazar, but
the contrary bookseller doesn't realize the danger of his situation and he's
changed his mind about selling the lot again.
The gunslingers discover they also have business with a resident of Turtleback
Lane, the young author of 'Salem's Lot. They must confront their creator, who is
as traumatized to meet them as they are. Though he is a minor character, King's
presence adds a twist with serious implications for the remainder of the quest.
The Crimson King doesn't want him to finish writing the Dark Tower series.
Finally, Jake, Oy and Callahan follow Susannah's trail toward her fateful
rendezvous at the Dixie Pig. As they approach the restaurant, they prepare for
the eventuality that they may not survive a confrontation with dozens of low men
Song of Susannah sets the stage for the final book in the series, which will be
published on King's birthday in September. The ka-tet learns much about the true
nature of their quest but King leaves his readers with several cliffhangers and
new mysteries to consider. Long-time fans of the series will be happy to see the
ka-tet taking action toward their goal after two books where they covered little
ground on the road to the Dark Tower.
The book hints at unpleasant things to come, but Roland and his friends have a
lot left to deal with in the final volume of the book. "One more turn of
the path, then we reach the clearing," King writes in the author's note.
The end of a twenty-year journey is in sight.
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