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The Dark Tower II: The Drawing Of The Three: The Drawing of the Three
 
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The Dark Tower II: The Drawing Of The Three: The Drawing of the Three [Format Kindle]

Stephen King

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Extrait

CHAPTER 1

The Door

1

Three. This is the number of your fate.

Three?

Yes, three is mystic. Three stands at the heart of the mantra.

Which three?

The first is dark-haired. He stands on the brink of robbery and murder. A demon has infested him. The name of the demon is HEROIN.

Which demon is that? I know it not, even from nursery stories.

He tried to speak but his voice was gone, the voice of the oracle, Star-Slut, Whore of the Winds, both were gone; he saw a card fluttering down from nowhere to nowhere, turning and turning in the lazy dark. On it a baboon grinned from over the shoulder of a young man with dark hair; its disturbingly human fingers were buried so deeply in the young man's neck that their tips had disappeared in flesh. Looking more closely, the gunslinger saw the baboon held a whip in one of those clutching, strangling hands. The face of the ridden man seemed to writhe in wordless terror.

The Prisoner, the man in black (who had once been a man the gunslinger trusted, a man named Walter) whispered chummily. A trifle upsetting, isn't he? A trifle upsetting ... a trifle upsetting ... a trifle-

2

The gunslinger snapped awake, waving at something with his mutilated hand, sure that in a moment one of the monstrous shelled things from the Western Sea would drop on him, desperately enquiring in its foreign tongue as it pulled his face off his skull.

Instead a sea-bird, attracted by the glister of the morning sun on the buttons of his shirt, wheeled away with a frightened squawk.

Roland sat up.

His hand throbbed wretchedly, endlessly. His right foot did the same. Both fingers and toe continued to insist they were there. The bottom half of his shirt was gone; what was left resembled a ragged vest. He had used one piece to bind his hand, the other to bind his foot.

Go away, he told the absent parts of his body. You are ghosts now. Go away.

It helped a little. Not much, but a little. They were ghosts, all right, but lively ghosts.

The gunslinger ate jerky. His mouth wanted it little, his stomach less, but he insisted. When it was inside him, he felt a little stronger. There was not much left, though; he was nearly up against it.

Yet things needed to be done.

He rose unsteadily to his feet and looked about. Birds swooped and dived, but the world seemed to belong to only him and them. The monstrosities were gone. Perhaps they were nocturnal; perhaps tidal. At the moment it seemed to make no difference.

The sea was enormous, meeting the horizon at a misty blue point that was impossible to determine. For a long moment the gunslinger forgot his agony in its contemplation. He had never seen such a body of water. Had heard of it in children's stories, of course, had even been assured by his teachers-some, at least-that it existed-but to actually see it, this immensity, this amazement of water after years of arid land, was difficult to accept ... difficult to even see.

He looked at it for a long time, enrapt, making himself see it, temporarily forgetting his pain in wonder.

But it was morning, and there were still things to be done.

He felt for the jawbone in his back pocket, careful to lead with the palm of his right hand, not wanting the stubs of his fingers to encounter it if it was still there, changing that hand's ceaseless sobbing to screams.

It was.

All right.

Next.

He clumsily unbuckled his gunbelts and laid them on a sunny rock. He removed the guns, swung the chambers out, and removed the useless shells. He threw them away. A bird settled on the bright gleam tossed back by one of them, picked it up in its beak, then dropped it and flew away.

The guns themselves must be tended to, should have been tended to before this, but since no gun in this world or any other was more than a club without ammunition, he laid the gunbelts themselves over his lap before doing anything else and carefully ran his left hand over the leather.

Each of them was damp from buckle and clasp to the point where the belts would cross his hips; from that point they seemed dry. He carefully removed each shell from the dry portions of the belts. His right hand kept trying to do this job, insisted on forgetting its reduction in spite of the pain, and he found himself returning it to his knee again and again, like a dog too stupid or fractious to heel. In his distracted pain he came close to swatting it once or twice.

I see serious problems ahead, he thought again.

He put these shells, hopefully still good, in a pile that was dishearteningly small. Twenty. Of those, a few would almost certainly misfire. He could depend on none of them. He removed the rest and put them in another pile. Thirty-seven.

Well, you weren't heavy loaded, anyway, he thought, but he recognized the difference between fifty-seven live rounds and what might be twenty. Or ten. Or five. Or one. Or none.

He put the dubious shells in a second pile.

He still had his purse. That was one thing. He put it in his lap and then slowly disassembled his guns and performed the ritual of cleaning. By the time he was finished, two hours had passed and his pain was so intense his head reeled with it; conscious thought had become difficult. He wanted to sleep. He had never wanted that more in his life. But in the service of duty there was never any acceptable reason for denial.

"Cort," he said in a voice that he couldn't recognize, and laughed dryly.

Slowly, slowly, he reassembled his revolvers and loaded them with the shells he presumed to be dry. When the job was done, he held the one made for his left hand, cocked it ... and then slowly lowered the hammer again. He wanted to know, yes. Wanted to know if there would be a satisfying report when he squeezed the trigger or only another of those useless clicks. But a click would mean nothing, and a report would only reduce twenty to nineteen ... or nine ... or three ... or none.

He tore away another piece of his shirt, put the other shells-the ones which had been wetted-in it, and tied it, using his left hand and his teeth. He put them in his purse.

Sleep, his body demanded. Sleep, you must sleep, now, before dark, there's nothing left, you're used up- He tottered to his feet and looked up and down the deserted strand. It was the color of an undergarment which has gone a long time without washing, littered with sea-shells which had no color. Here and there large rocks protruded from the gross-grained sand, and these were covered with guano, the older layers the yellow of ancient teeth, the fresher splotches white.

The high-tide line was marked with drying kelp. He could see pieces of his right boot and his waterskins lying near that line. He thought it almost a miracle that the skins hadn't been washed out to sea by high-surging waves. Walking slowly, limping exquisitely, the gunslinger made his way to where they were. He picked up one of them and shook it by his ear. The other was empty. This one still had a little water left in it. Most would not have been able to tell the difference between the two, but the gunslinger knew each just as well as a mother knows which of her identical twins is which. He had been travelling with these waterskins for a long, long time. Water sloshed inside. That was good-a gift. Either the creature which had attacked him or any of the others could have torn this or the other open with one casual bite or slice of claw, but none had and the tide had spared it. Of the creature itself there was no sign, although the two of them had finished far above the tide-line. Perhaps other predators had taken it; perhaps its own kind had given it a burial at sea, as the elaphaunts, giant creatures of whom he had heard in childhood stories, were reputed to bury their own dead.

He lifted the waterskin with his left elbow, drank deeply, and felt some strength come back into him. The right boot was of course ruined ... but then he felt a spark of hope. The foot itself was intact-scarred but intact-and it might be possible to cut the other down to match it, to make something which would last at least awhile.... Faintness stole over him. He fought it but his knees unhinged and he sat down, stupidly biting his tongue.

You won't fall unconscious, he told himself grimly. Not here, not where another of those things can come back tonight and finish the job.

So he got to his feet and tied the empty skin about his waist, but he had only gone twenty yards back toward the place where he had left his guns and purse when he fell down again, half-fainting. He lay there awhile, one cheek pressed against the sand, the edge of a seashell biting against the edge of his jaw almost deep enough to draw blood. He managed to drink from the waterskin, and then he crawled back to the place where he had awakened. There was a Joshua tree twenty yards up the slope-it was stunted, but it would offer at least some shade.

To Roland the twenty yards looked like twenty miles.

Nonetheless, he laboriously pushed what remained of his possessions into that little puddle of shade. He lay there with his head in the grass, already fading toward what could be sleep or unconsciousness or death. He looked into the sky and tried to judge the time. Not noon, but the size of the puddle of shade in which he rested said noon was close. He held on a moment longer, turning his right arm over and bringing it close to his eyes, looking for the telltale red lines of infection, of some poison seeping steadily toward the middle of him.

The palm of his hand was a dull red. Not a good sign.

I jerk off left-handed, he thought, at least that's something.

Then darkness took him, and he slept for the next sixteen hours with the sound of the Western Sea pounding ceaselessly in his dreaming ears.

3

When the gunslinger awoke again the sea was dark but there was faint light in the sky to the east. Morning was on its way. He sat up and waves of dizziness almost overcame him.

He bent his head and waited.

When the faintness had passed, he looked at his hand. It was infected, all right-a tell-tale red swelling that spread up the palm and to the wrist. It stopped there, but already he could see the faint beginnings of other red lines, which would lead eventually to his heart and kill him. He felt hot, feverish.

I need medicine, he thought. But there is no medicine here.

Had he come this far just to die, then? He would not. And if he were to die in spite of his determination, he would die on his way to the Tower.

How remarkable you are, gunslinger! the man in black tittered inside his head. How indomitable! How romantic in your stupid obsession!

"Fuck you," he croaked, and drank. Not much water left, either. There was a whole sea in front of him, for all the good it could do him; water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Never mind.

He buckled on his gunbelts, tied them-this was a process which took so long that before he was done the first faint light of dawn had brightened to the day's actual prologue-and then tried to stand up. He was not convinced he could do it until it was done.

Holding to the Joshua tree with his left hand, he scooped up the not-quite-empty waterskin with his right arm and slung it over his shoulder. Then his purse. When he straightened, the faintness washed over him again and he put his head down, waiting, willing.

The faintness passed.

Walking with the weaving, wavering steps of a man in the last stages of ambulatory drunkenness, the gunslinger made his way back down to the strand. He stood, looking at an ocean as dark as mulberry wine, and then took the last of his jerky from his purse. He ate half, and this time both mouth and stomach accepted a little more willingly. He turned and ate the other half as he watched the sun come up over the mountains where Jake had died-first seeming to catch on the cruel and treeless teeth of those peaks, then rising above them.

Roland held his face to the sun, closed his eyes, and smiled. He ate the rest of his jerky.

He thought: Very well. I am now a man with no food, with two less fingers and one less toe than I was born with; I am a gunslinger with shells which may not fire; I am sickening from a monster's bite and have no medicine; I have a day's water if I'm lucky; I may be able to walk perhaps a dozen miles if I press myself to the last extremity. I am, in short, a man on the edge of everything.

Which way should he walk? He had come from the east; he could not walk west without the powers of a saint or a savior. That left north and south.

North.

That was the answer his heart told. There was no question in it.

North.

The gunslinger began to walk.

4

He walked for three hours. He fell twice, and the second time he did not believe he would be able to get up again. Then a wave came toward him, close enough to make him remember his guns, and he was up before he knew it, standing on legs that quivered like stilts.

He thought he had managed about four miles in those three hours. Now the sun was growing hot, but not hot enough to explain the way his head pounded or the sweat pouring down his face; nor was the breeze from the sea strong enough to explain the sudden fits of shuddering which sometimes gripped him, making his body lump into gooseflesh and his teeth chatter.

Fever, gunslinger, the man in black tittered. What's left inside you has been touched afire.

The red lines of infection were more pronounced now; they had marched upward from his right wrist halfway to his elbow.

He made another mile and drained his waterbag dry. He tied it around his waist with the other. The landscape was monotonous and unpleasing. The sea to his right, the mountains to his left, the gray, shell-littered sand under the feet of his cut-down boots. The waves came and went. He looked for the lobstrosities and saw none. He walked out of nowhere toward nowhere, a man from another time who, it seemed, had reached a point of pointless ending.

Shortly before noon he fell again and knew he could not get up. This was the place, then. Here. This was the end, after all.

On his hands and knees, he raised his head like a groggy fighter ... and some distance ahead, perhaps a mile, perhaps three (it was difficult to judge distances along the unchanging reach of the strand with the fever working inside him, making his eyeballs pulse in and out), he saw something new. Something which stood upright on the beach.

What was it?

(three)

Didn't matter.

(three is the number of your fate)

The gunslinger managed to get to his feet again. He croaked something, some plea which only the circling seabirds heard (and how happy they would be to gobble my eyes from my head, he thought, how happy to have such a tasty bit!), and walked on, weaving more seriously now, leaving tracks behind him that were weird loops and swoops.

He kept his eyes on whatever it was that stood on the strand ahead. When his hair fell in his eyes he brushed it aside. It seemed to grow no closer. The sun reached the roof of the sky, where it seemed to remain far too long. Roland imagined he was in the desert again, somewhere between the last outlander's hut (the musical fruit the more you eat the more you toot) and the way-station where the boy (your Isaac) had awaited his coming.

His knees buckled, straightened, buckled, straightened again. When his hair fell in his eyes once more he did not bother to push it back; did not have the strength to push it back. He looked at the object, which now cast a narrow shadow back toward the upland, and kept walking.

He could make it out now, fever or no fever.

It was a door.

Less than a quarter of a mile from it, Roland's knees buckled again and this time he could not stiffen their hinges. He fell, his right hand dragged across gritty sand and shells, the stumps of his fingers screamed as fresh scabs were scored away. The stumps began to bleed again.

So he crawled. Crawled with the steady rush, roar, and retreat of the Western Sea in his ears. He used his elbows and his knees, digging grooves in the sand above the twist of dirty green kelp which marked the high-tide line. He supposed the wind was still blowing-it must be, for the chills continued to whip through his body-but the only wind he could hear was the harsh gale which gusted in and out of his own lungs.

The door grew closer.

Closer.

At last, around three o'clock of that long delirious day, with his shadow beginning to grow long on his left, he reached it. He sat back on his haunches and regarded it wearily.

It stood six and a half feet high and appeared to be made of solid ironwood, although the nearest ironwood tree must grow seven hundred miles or more from here. The doorknob looked as if it were made of gold, and it was filigreed with a design which the gunslinger finally recognized: it was the grinning face of the baboon.

There was no keyhole in the knob, above it, or below it.

The door had hinges, but they were fastened to nothing-or so it seems, the gunslinger thought. This is a mystery, a most marvellous mystery, but does it really matter? You are dying. Your own mystery-the only one that really matters to any man or woman in the end- approaches.

All the same, it did seem to matter.

This door. This door where no door should be. It simply stood there on the gray strand twenty feet above the high-tide line, seemingly as eternal as the sea itself, now casting the slanted shadow of its thickness toward the east as the sun westered.

Written upon it in black letters two-thirds of the way up, written in the high speech, were two words:

THE PRISONER A demon has infested him. The name of the demon is HEROIN.

The gunslinger could hear a low droning noise. At first he thought it must be the wind or a sound in his own feverish head, but he became more and more convinced that the sound was the sound of motors ... and that it was coming from behind the door.

Open it then. It's not locked. You know it's not locked.

Instead he tottered gracelessly to his feet and walked above the door and around to the other side.

There was no other side.

—from The Drawing of the Three: The Dark Tower II by Stephen King, copyright © 1982, 2003 Stephen King, published by Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher.

From Publishers Weekly

Elaborating at great length on Robert Browning's cryptic narrative poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came," the second volume of King's post-Armageddon epic fantasy presents the equally enigmatic quest of Roland, the world's last gunslinger, who moves through an apocalyptic wasteland toward the Dark Tower, "the linchpin that holds all of existence together." Although these minor but revealing books (which King began while still in college) are full of such adolescent portentousness, this is livelier than the first. Roland enters three lives in the alternate world of New York City: junkie and drug runner Eddie Dean, schizophrenic heiress Odetta Holmes and serial murder Jack Mort. If King tells us too little about Roland, he gives us too much about these misfits who are variously healed or punished exactly as expected. Typically, King is much better at the minutiae and sensations of a specific physical world, and several such bravura sequences (from an attack by mutant lobsters to a gun store robbery) are standouts amid the characteristic headlong storytelling. BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 504 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 438 pages
  • Editeur : Hodder & Stoughton; Édition : New Ed (19 août 2003)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B003BVFZ6O
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En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Stephen King est l'auteur de plus de cinquante livres, tous best-sellers d'entre eux à travers le monde. Parmi ses plus récentes sont les romans La Tour Sombre, Cell, Du Hearts Buick 8, Everything's Eventual, en Atlantide, La Petite Fille qui aimait Tom Gordon, et Sac d'os. Son livre documentaire acclamé, sur l'écriture, a également été un best-seller. Il est le récipiendaire de la Médaille nationale de 2003 Réservez Fondation pour contribution exceptionnelle aux lettres américaines. Il vit à Bangor, Maine, avec son épouse, la romancière Tabitha King.

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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5  560 commentaires
25 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A masterful addition to the series 29 février 2004
Par Matt - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This book is a fitting sequel to the first of the spell-binding series- The Gunslinger. It's a definite page-turner and in the end will leave you begging for more. Although personally I thought The Gunslinger left more to be desired, The Drawing of the Three more than makes up for its minor flaws and leads you ever closer to the climax of Roland's epic quest.

One of the Dark Tower Series' greatest strengths is Stephen King's remarkable description. It makes you not only see but feel the sorroundings. King definetely showcased this talent in this book, and put you through one heck of a ride. From the moment you begin the book you are taken to a a different world, Roland's world, a desolate beach full of terrible "lobstrosities" that King takes great pains to describe. King also describes New York City in depth through Roland's eyes, a truly monumental challenge considering Roland is oblivious to the technological marvels of our world.

But the greatest feat the book has accomplished is, without question, the whimsical ensemble of characters King creates. The cast is full of interesting stories, an odd group of crusaders bound by the same "ka". Eddie Dean is perhaps the most memorable, a heroin addict fighting his addiction and the New York Underworld, reluctantly "drawn" by Roland to quest for the great tower. But Odetta Homes can't be overshadowed- as well as her secret evil double- Detta Walker. She's a skitzophrenic, fighting her dark half which threatens to rule her, the makes of a brilliant story. The third character who is drawn also fits suprisingly into the storyline and sets the stage for a thrilling climax.

And in the middle of it all, lies Roland, the lone gunslinger. Haunted by his past and obsessively bound by his duty to search for the Dark Tower, he is the central character, the pinnacle of the books. He is perhaps King's greatest creation, his struggle is inspiring, he is the nail that holds the fantastic story together. You can't help but wait for the final climax, the next installment- it'll leave you begging for more.

King has worked wonders with this book. It was an awesome read!
39 internautes sur 48 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 it's getting better! 14 juillet 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
Wow, fantastic. if you've read "The Gunslinger" and then gave up, then i encourage you to read this, the second volume. It is SO much better than the first! With "The Gunslinger" you could tell it was written while King was still in college because it was pretty rough around the edges and (forgive me for saying this about a SK story), a little boring. But "The Drawing Of The Three", in which Roland must pass through three doorways to 1980's America, is riveting, fast-paced,emotional, and yes, humorous. Some parts where Roland is trying to get used to our world are very funny (the "tooter-fish popkin" incident springs to mind). The 450 pages just fly past, but it gives some indication of the epic saga that King is creating, since even at the end of Volume II, we are still near the start of the journey. I only hope that once Roland reaches his Dark Tower (if he ever does?), the tale doesn't fizz out. All in all, this book offers much more bang for your buck than The Gunslinger, because it's twice as long, written twice as good, and there's twice as much action :)
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Incredible Surprise 5 janvier 2004
Par Jack M. Walter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This second volume of the Dark Tower series is masterfully plotted and a real tour de force for Stephen King. I was amazed at how he deftly took so many disparate settings and characters and brought them all together. I won't comment on anything specific, because I don't want to spoil anything for the reader. It's best to come to this series with no knowledge of what is going to occur. Only one gripe: schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder are two different things. Schizophrenics do NOT have more than one personality, but rather have one that is fragmented. King deserves 50 lashes with a wet noodle for this big-time mistake. However, all is forgiven due to a tale that grabs you by the throat and never lets go.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 And the Tower is closer... 16 janvier 2002
Par John - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
Wow. I just finished reading this for the second time (I'm rereading the whole series) and that is all I can say. Wow. This really is an amazingly good volume in the Dark Tower series. I was put off of it at first when I read The Gunslinger. I thought it was wierd, outlandish, hard to follow, and totally unlike Stephen King. Of course, it is all those things the first time you read it. The second time it is still all those things, excluding hard to follow, because now you know where the book leads. It leads to this book (and beyond of course). Speaking of this book, and after all, this book is what I came hear to talk about and what you came to read about, it is absolutely jam-packed with adventure, action, and anything else you could want.
The Drawing of the Three continues the story with Roland, the last gunslinger taking people from our world into his own. The first one is the Prisoner that Walter foretold in the end of the last book. The prisoner is Eddie Dean, a very funny character, but also a very strong character. It is really cool how the gunslinger is actually inside Eddie's mind and can "come forward" and take control of his body. This section of the book is the best in my opinion. There is a shootout at the end of the "Prisoner" section which is definately not to be missed.
The next person to be drawn is Odetta Holmes/Detta Walker. She is a rich black woman who had her legs amputated via a collosion with a subway train (which turns out to be no accident). She is also schizophrenic. I think this was the worst part of the book because it dealt too much with Susannah's (as Odetta comes to be called) background. This is probably necessary in order to understand everything that happens, but that still doesn't make it that interesting.
Last and least comes Jack Mort, who is actually not drawn at all but proves to be usefull because Roland uses him to get some medecine which he sorely needs because back in his world, he is dying. Jack Mort is a very sick individual to say the least. It is him that Susannah has to thank for the loss of her legs. Good old Jack gets his kicks by pushing people in front of cars and dropping bricks on their heads. At the end the gunslinger gives him what he has coming though, and that provides some satisfaction. This part is as riveting as the beginning part where Eddie is drawn. It includes some more gun battles which I just can't get enough of. There is one thing though. During this part, Roland two unconscious police officers guns and straps them around his waist so that he can take them back to his world for Eddie and Susannah to use. Mr. King seems to forget about this, though, because when Roland returns to his world, there is no more mention of the guns and the only guns they have are Rolands two revolvers. What gives?
Anyway, that aside, this is a wonderful chapter in the Dark Tower Saga. I suggest also getting The Waste Lands and Wizard and Glass at the same time, because once you read this, you will want to continue the journey along the path of the beam.
9 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A great improvement over the first one... 2 mai 2005
Par NSCPE - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
"The Drawing of the Three" focuses on Roland gathering his "ka-tet" (his party or fellowship if you will). He meets Eddie Dean, a junkie from the 80s, and Odetta Holmes, a civil rights activist from the 60s. Eddie Dean is a cool character, I loved him right away (when Allie and Jake died in the first one, I thought "Good, now Roland can get on with his quest", but when Eddie almost died in this one, I thought "Noooooo! Not Eddie Dean!"). Odetta Holmes isn't as cool, but she is interesting (she's a double-amputee with a split personality, one of whom is extremely dangerous--what's not to like about that?). Roland is as cool as ever; he's so Stoic and tough-as-nails. I couldn't help but crack a smile as he gave some Very Bad People what they deserved. This volume puts aside the ridiculous prose of the first book, and it seems a lot shorter than it is. Quite frankly, it's hard to put down. Highly recommended. I bought the third volume today, and I can't wait to see what happens.
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