Key characters and plotlines of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, as well as its alternate reality world, were first referenced in The Talisman (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $9.49). From Amazon:
On a brisk autumn day, a thirteen-year-old boy stands on the shores of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra. The past has driven Jack Sawyer here: his father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back across America–and into another realm.
One of the most influential and heralded works of fantasy ever written, The Talisman is an extraordinary novel of loyalty, awakening, terror, and mystery. Jack Sawyer, on a desperate quest to save his mother’s life, must search for a prize across an epic landscape of innocents and monsters, of incredible dangers and even more incredible truths. The prize is essential, but the journey means even more. Let the quest begin. . . .
Library Journal adds: In The Talisman, 12-year-old Jack Sawyer takes on a quest in this and a parallel world, the “Territories,” to acquire a mystical talisman that will save the life of his dying mother and her “twinner,” the Queen of the Territories. Jack “flips” back and forth between worlds during his journey, finding his way through and past representatives of good and evil in both.
The Audible Audiobook edition of The Talisman is definitely worth considering also, either as an alternative to, or an adjunct to, the Kindle book. Remember that if you’d like to take advantage of Whispersync for Voice, you can buy the Kindle book first, then get the Audible edition at a discounted price. Library Journal says this about the audiobook:
Award-winning reader Frank Muller continues his long string of superlative performances.
Muller truly inhabits each of the different characters as he performs, and his interpretation of the most evil man imaginable will send chills down your spine.
The sequel to The Talisman is Black House (4/5 stars, currently priced at $8.99).
Twenty years ago, a boy named Jack Sawyer traveled to a parallel universe called the Territories to save his mother and her “Twinner” from an agonizing death that would have brought cataclysm to the other world. Now Jack is a retired Los Angeles homicide detective living in the nearly nonexistent hamlet of Tamarack, Wisconsin. He has no recollection of his adventures in the Territories, and he was compelled to leave the police force when a happenstance event threatened to awaken those long-suppressed and dangerous memories.
When a series of gruesome murders occurs in western Wisconsin, reminiscent of heinous killings committed several decades earlier, Jack’s buddy, the local chief of police, begs Jack to help find the killer. But are these new killings merely the work of a disturbed individual, or has a mysterious and malignant force been unleashed in this quiet town? What causes Jack’s inexplicable waking dreams—if that is what they are—of robins’ eggs and red feathers? As these cryptic messages become impossible to ignore, Jack is drawn back to the Territories and to his own hidden past.