Wolves of the Calla is the fifth volume of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series which follows the ageless gunslinger, Roland Deschain, on his quest to conquer the Dark Tower which would signify the triumph of the powers of good over evil.
Having recently shared with his katet the sad story of his youth, Roland leads his group onward. They arrive in a friendly village, Calla Bryn Sturgis, where they settle and meet a local priest Father Callahan – a character who once featured in an earlier King book, Salem’s Lot. He relates a harrowing tale of his life after Salem’s Lot, where he vanquished some vampires, he continued to be hounded by them until he begins to kill them at random. They find him and kill him in 1983, which somehow propels him into Mid World and Calla Bryn Sturgis.
In the Calla, the townsfolk have a problem of their own: the Wolves are coming. Every so often they appear and snatch the babies who return a few years later gigantic in size and very empty in mind. The messenger robot, Andy, appears to sense when they’re coming and has informed them that the next attack is imminent. The townsfolk request the gunslingers’ assistance.
The gunslingers have trouble of their own. Susannah has been acting strangely, and it is revealed that when she was savaged by a demon in The Waste Lands, she was impregnated by it and appears to have a new identity inside her, a maternal personality whom she has named Mia.
The gunslingers begin investigating the threat of the wolves and discover a traitor in the person of Benny Slightman’s – a boy who has befriended Jake – father. As they slowly uncover more information they realize that the wolves are some kind of robots and that Andy is their spy who passes on information received from Slightman Sr.
It is also revealed that one of the objects of the katet is to protect a rose that grows in an abandoned lot in Manhattan. They must protect it for if it is destroyed the tower falls as well. Father Callahan reveals that he has a magic ball called Black 13 and it helps transport them to New York to protect the rose.
The wolves arrive and this time the townsfolk are prepared thanks to Roland and his katet, and despite a fearful exchange of fire, during which the wolves fire exploding sneetches (a reference to the snitch in Harry Potter novels) at the townsfolk but are eventually overcome. The victory is short-lived as they find that Susannah has vanished.
Wolves of the Calla, for me, was the best volume yet and was 714 pages of gripping narrative. Continuously switching from the terrifying wolves and vampires to describing the peaceful village and its friendly folk, the book encompasses everything King is renowned for, colorful depiction of characters, great scene setting and a bit of horror thrown in to ensure you won’t sleep too easily for quite a few nights.