The Wind through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel

( 337 )

Overview

In a storytelling tour de force, Stephen King explores an uncharted corner of the Dark Tower universe—and the early days of the gunslinger Roland—with the twice-told tale of a murderous shape-shifter, a “skin-man,” who inspires fear and wonder, fantasies and bedtime stories, and one boy’s savagely real nightmares.

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Overview

In a storytelling tour de force, Stephen King explores an uncharted corner of the Dark Tower universe—and the early days of the gunslinger Roland—with the twice-told tale of a murderous shape-shifter, a “skin-man,” who inspires fear and wonder, fantasies and bedtime stories, and one boy’s savagely real nightmares.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Stephen King fans waited eight years for this Dark Tower prequel. (King certainly helped whet those appetites: He announced the title of The Wind Thru the Keyhole as early as 2009.) This sturdy standalone follows future gunslinger Roland Deschain as a teenager, coping with guilt and a homicidal shape-shifter. A powerful lead-in to a reader favorite series that has sold over thirty million copies. A Barnes & Noble Bestseller; now in mass-market paperback and NOOK Book.

Bill Sheehan
…an epic fantasy unlike anything else in its overcrowded field…[the] interlocking narratives address a number of King's recurring themes: families in crisis, imperiled children, the burdens of guilt and grief and the possibility of forgiveness. The structure of the book—a tale within a tale within a larger, ongoing tale—underscores another of its central points: the consolation to be found in stories. In Roland's words, "A person's never too old for stories…Man and boy, girl and woman, never too old. We live for them." King's entire career, one that has resulted in an ocean of narrative, is a fitting monument to this belief. At his characteristic best, King creates the kind of fully imagined fictional landscapes that a reader can inhabit for days at a stretch. In The Wind Through the Keyhole, he has done this once again.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
King returns to the Mid-World of his Dark Tower series in this gory but hopeful set of nested tales. As gunslinger Roland Deschain and his companions quest toward the Dark Tower, Roland tells a story of his early days as a gunslinger, hunting down a murderous shape-shifter on a rampage. Within that tale is a fairy tale Roland tells to a young boy about Tim, a very brave boy tricked into a dangerous quest by an evil man. Tim’s adventure is pitch-perfect, capturing both the feel of Mid-World and the perilous nature of a fairy story. Its placement within the quest works beautifully, and it propels the story of the shape-shifter and the child who holds the key to its identity. Even those who aren’t familiar with the series will find the conclusion both satisfying and moving. This gripping novel is sure to put King back on the bestseller lists. Agent: Chuck Verrill, Darhansoff & Verrill. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
The bestselling novelist scales down his literary ambition with a return to the Dark Tower series. Though King has expanded his thematic terrain and elevated his critical reputation in recent years (11/22/63, 2011 etc.), he remains a master of fantastic stories spun from a very fertile imagination that seek to do nothing more (or less) than entertain. Some readers might be surprised at this return to the narrative that King had apparently concluded with the massive The Dark Tower (2004), the seventh book in the series. Yet rather than extend and revive the plot in this installment, he mines a seam from earlier in the series, suggesting that "this book should be shelved between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla...which makes it, I suppose Dark Tower 4.5." He also makes a point of reassuring readers new to the series that they can start here, that the novel can be understood as a stand-alone title (with just a little contextual background, which he summarizes in a couple of paragraphs). Short by King's standards, the novel draws inspiration from tales of knighthood and Old West gunslingers, as its story-within-a-story (within a story) details the rite-of-passage heroism of Roland Deschain, who saves a terrified boy in Mid-World from a shape-shifting marauder. "These tales nest inside each other," explains Roland at the outset, as he prepares to recount a story through which its characters drew courage and inspiration from a story. If it weren't for the profanity which liberally seasons the narrative, it could pass as a young adult fantasy, a foul-mouthed Harry Potter (with nods toward The Wizard of Oz and C.S. Lewis). It even ends with a redemptive moral, though King mainly concerns himself here with spinning a yard. Will more likely serve as a footnote for the many fans of the series than a point of entry to expand its readership.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451658910
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 11/6/2012
  • Series: Dark Tower Series
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 198,878
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.08 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Richard Bachman
      Stephen A. King
      Stephen Edwin King
    2. Hometown:
      Bangor, Maine
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 21, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portland, Maine
    1. Education:
      B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

An excerpt from The Wind through the Keyhole: A Dark Tower Novel by Stephen King

FOREWORD

Most of the people holding this book have followed the adventures of Roland and his band—his ka-tet—for years, some of them from the very beginning. Others—and I hope there are many, newcomers and Constant Readers alike—may ask, Can I read and enjoy this story if I haven’t read the other Dark Tower books? My answer is yes, if you keep a few things in mind.

First, Mid-World lies next to our world, and there are many overlaps. In some places there are doorways between the two worlds, and sometimes there are thin places, porous places, where the two worlds actually mingle. Three of Roland’s ka-tet—Eddie, Susannah, and Jake have been drawn separately from troubled lives in New York into Roland’s Mid-World quest. Their fourth traveling companion, a billy-bumbler named Oy, is a golden-eyed creature native to Mid-World. Mid-World is very old, and falling to ruin, filled with monsters and untrustworthy magic.

Second, Roland Deschain of Gilead is a gunslinger—one of a small band that tries to keep order in an increasingly lawless world. If you think of the gunslingers of Gilead as a strange combination of knights errant and territorial marshals in the Old West, you’ll be close to the mark. Most of them, although not all, are descended from the line of the old White King, known as Arthur Eld (I told you there were overlaps).

Third, Roland has lived his life under a terrible curse. He killed his mother, who was having an affair—mostly against her will, and certainly against her better judgment—with a fellow you will meet in these pages. Although it was by mistake, he holds himself accountable, and the unhappy Gabrielle Deschain’s death has haunted him since his young manhood. These events are fully narrated in the Dark Tower cycle, but for our purposes here, I think it’s all you have to know.

For longtime readers, this book should be shelved between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla . . . which makes it, I suppose, Dark Tower 4.5.

As for me, I was delighted to discover my old friends had a little more to say. It was a great gift to find them again, years after I thought their stories were told.

—Stephen King

September 14, 2011

STARKBLAST

During the days after they left the Green Palace that wasn’t Oz after all—but which was now the tomb of the unpleasant fellow Roland’s ka-tet had known as the Tick-Tock Man—the boy Jake began to range farther and farther ahead of Roland, Eddie, and Susannah.

“Don’t you worry about him?” Susannah asked Roland. “Out there on his own?”

“He’s got Oy with him,” Eddie said, referring to the billy-bumbler who had adopted Jake as his special friend. “Mr. Oy gets along with nice folks all right, but he’s got a mouthful of sharp teeth for those who aren’t so nice. As that guy Gasher found out to his sorrow.”

“Jake also has his father’s gun,” Roland said. “And he knows how to use it. That he knows very well. And he won’t leave the Path of the Beam.” He pointed overhead with his reduced hand. The lowhanging sky was mostly still, but a single corridor of clouds moved

steadily southeast. Toward the land of Thunderclap, if the note left behind for them by the man who styled himself RF had told the truth.

Toward the Dark Tower.

“But why—” Susannah began, and then her wheelchair hit a bump. She turned to Eddie. “Watch where you’re pushin me, sugar.”

“Sorry,” Eddie said. “Public Works hasn’t been doing any maintenance along this stretch of the turnpike lately. Must be dealing with budget cuts.”

It wasn’t a turnpike, but it was a road . . . or had been: two ghostly ruts with an occasional tumbledown shack to mark the way. Earlier that morning they had even passed an abandoned store with a barely readable sign: TOOK’S OUTLAND MERCANTILE. They investigated inside for supplies—Jake and Oy had still been with them then—and had found nothing but dust, ancient cobwebs, and the skeleton of what had been either a large raccoon, a small dog, or a billy-bumbler. Oy had taken a cursory sniff and then pissed on the bones before leaving the store to sit on the hump in the middle of the old road with his squiggle of a tail curled around him. He faced back the way they had come, sniffing the air.

Roland had seen the bumbler do this several times lately, and although he had said nothing, he pondered it. Someone trailing them, maybe? He didn’t actually believe this, but the bumbler’s posture—nose lifted, ears pricked, tail curled—called up some old memory or association that he couldn’t quite catch.

“Why does Jake want to be on his own?” Susannah asked.

“Do you find it worrisome, Susannah of New York?” Roland asked.

“Yes, Roland of Gilead, I find it worrisome.” She smiled amiably enough, but in her eyes, the old mean light sparkled. That was the Detta Walker part of her, Roland reckoned. It would never be completely gone, and he wasn’t sorry. Without the strange woman she had once been still buried in her heart like a chip of ice, she would have been only a handsome black woman with no legs below the knees. With Detta onboard, she was a person to be reckoned with. A dangerous one. A gunslinger.

“He has plenty of stuff to think about,” Eddie said quietly. “He’s been through a lot. Not every kid comes back from the dead. And it’s like Roland says—if someone tries to face him down, it’s the someone who’s apt to be sorry.” Eddie stopped pushing the wheelchair, armed sweat from his brow, and looked at Roland. “Are there someones in this particular suburb of nowhere, Roland? Or have they all moved on?”

“Oh, there are a few, I wot.”

He did more than wot; they had been peeked at several times as they continued their course along the Path of the Beam. Once by a frightened woman with her arms around two children and a babe hanging in a sling from her neck. Once by an old farmer, a half-mutie with a jerking tentacle that hung from one corner of his mouth. Eddie and Susannah had seen none of these people, or sensed the others that Roland felt sure had, from the safety of the woods and high grasses, marked their progress. Eddie and Susannah had a lot to learn.

But they had learned at least some of what they would need, it seemed, because Eddie now asked, “Are they the ones Oy keeps scenting up behind us?”

“I don’t know.” Roland thought of adding that he was sure something else was on Oy’s strange little bumbler mind, and decided not to. The gunslinger had spent long years with no ka-tet, and keeping his own counsel had become a habit. One he would have to break, if the tet was to remain strong. But not now, not this morning.

“Let’s move on,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll find Jake waiting for us up ahead.”

Two hours later, just shy of noon, they breasted a rise and halted, looking down at a wide, slow-moving river, gray as pewter beneath the overcast sky. On the northwestern bank—their side—was a barnlike building painted a green so bright it seemed to yell into the muted day. Its mouth jutted out over the water on pilings painted a similar green. Docked to two of these pilings by thick hawsers was a large raft, easily ninety feet by ninety, painted in alternating stripes of red and yellow. A tall wooden pole that looked like a mast jutted from the center, but there was no sign of a sail. Several wicker chairs sat in front of it, facing the shore on their side of the river. Jake was seated in one of these. Next to him was an old man in a vast straw hat, baggy green pants, and longboots. On his top half he wore a thin white garment—the kind of shirt Roland thought of as a slinkum. Jake and the old man appeared to be eating well-stuffed popkins. Roland’s mouth sprang water at the sight of them.

Oy was beyond them, at the edge of the circus-painted raft, looking raptly down at his own reflection. Or perhaps at the reflection of the steel cable that ran overhead, spanning the river.

“Is it the Whye?” Susannah asked Roland.

“Yar.”

Eddie grinned. “You say Whye; I say Whye Not?” He raised one hand and waved it over his head. “Jake! Hey, Jake! Oy!”

Jake waved back, and although the river and the raft moored at its edge were still half a mile away, their eyes were uniformly sharp, and they saw the white of the boy’s teeth as he grinned.

Susannah cupped her hands around her mouth. “Oy! Oy! To me,

sugar! Come see your mama!”

Uttering shrill yips that were the closest he could get to barks, Oy flew across the raft, disappeared into the barnlike structure, then emerged on their side. He came charging up the path with his ears lowered against his skull and his gold-ringed eyes bright.

“Slow down, sug, you’ll give yourself a heart attack!” Susannah shouted, laughing.

Oy seemed to take this as an order to speed up. He arrived at Susannah’s wheelchair in less than two minutes, jumped up into her lap, then jumped down again and looked at them cheerfully. “Olan! Ed! Suze!”

“Hile, Sir Throcken,” Roland said, using the ancient word for bumbler he’d first heard in a book read to him by his mother: The Throcken and the Dragon.

Oy lifted his leg, watered a patch of grass, then faced back the way they had come, scenting at the air, eyes on the horizon.

“Why does he keep doing that, Roland?” Eddie asked.

“I don’t know.” But he almost knew. Was it some old story, not The Throcken and the Dragon but one like it? Roland thought so. For a moment he thought of green eyes, watchful in the dark, and a little shiver went through him—not of fear, exactly (although that might have been a part of it), but of remembrance. Then it was gone.

There’ll be water if God wills it, he thought, and only realized he had spoken aloud when Eddie said, “Huh?”

“Never mind,” Roland said. “Let’s have a little palaver with Jake’s new friend, shall we? Perhaps he has an extra popkin or two.”

Eddie, tired of the chewy staple they called gunslinger burritos, brightened immediately. “Hell, yeah,” he said, and looked at an imaginary watch on his tanned wrist. “Goodness me, I see it’s just gobble o’clock.”

“Shut up and push, honeybee,” Susannah said.

Eddie shut up and pushed.

The old man was sitting when they entered the boathouse, standing when they emerged on the river side. He saw the guns Roland and Eddie were wearing—the big irons with the sandalwood grips—and his eyes widened. He dropped to one knee. The day was still, and Roland actually heard his bones creak.

“Hile, gunslinger,” he said, and put an arthritis-swollen fist to the center of his forehead. “I salute thee.”

“Rise up, friend,” Roland said, hoping the old man was a friend—Jake seemed to think so, and Roland had come to trust his instincts. Not to mention the billy-bumbler’s. “Rise up, do.”

The old man was having trouble managing it, so Eddie stepped aboard and gave him an arm.

“Thankee, son, thankee. Be you a gunslinger as well, or are you a ’prentice?”

Eddie looked at Roland. Roland gave him nothing, so Eddie looked back at the old man, shrugged, and grinned. “Little of both, I guess. I’m Eddie Dean, of New York. This is my wife, Susannah. And this is Roland Deschain. Of Gilead.”

The riverman’s eyes widened. “Gilead that was? Do you say so?”

“Gilead that was,” Roland agreed, and felt an unaccustomed sorrow rise up from his heart. Time was a face on the water, and like the great river before them, it did nothing but flow.

“Step aboard, then. And welcome. This young man and I are already fast friends, so we are.” Oy stepped onto the big raft and the old man bent to stroke the bumbler’s raised head. “And we are, too, aren’t we, fella? Does thee remember my name?”

“Bix!” Oy said promptly, then turned to the northwest again, raising his snout. His gold-ringed eyes stared raptly at the moving column of clouds that marked the Path of the Beam.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 337 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(217)

4 Star

(66)

3 Star

(35)

2 Star

(12)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 338 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 24, 2012

    The Wind Through The Keyhole is the newest novel by Stephen King

    The Wind Through The Keyhole is the newest novel by Stephen King taking place somehere between book four and five of the The Dark Tower series. It is surprisingly very good considering the lastest efforts that have come from King. The narrative is crisp and the story itself is one of introspective realization that comes in the form of a tale told within a tale told within a tale as the characters sit out a storm one night in an abandoned building.
    You don't have to have read any of the Dark Tower series to enjoy this book but to help out King offers a quick synopsis in the beginning so that any questions would be answered. There is the tale to begin with of the main troop of characters escaping a fast moving storm that is likely to freeze you to the spot as a lava flow is likely to burn you alive. Only moving much faster.
    As they wait out the storm the gunslinger Roland tells them a tale of when as a youth he and his partner went into the town of Dabaria to hunt a skin shifter. A murderous creature that can change from man to any manner of animal and whose bloodlust holds not bounds. During the a long night in jail the young Roland tells the tale of Tim Stoutheart and the Covenant Man. A timeless tale told of a young boy coming of age in a time where violence and lust destroys all that was pure in his life.
    After that tale is told comes the conclusion of the tale of young Roland and the skin shifter and its bloody conclusion. From there comes the end to the storm and the older Roland coming to terms with his own soul.
    Fine stories all told before your grandfather's grandfather was born, Once upon a bye...

    27 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2011

    Wow...Awesome!

    Another Dark Tower Novel... Never thought I would see the day. Sure it's not part of a series but it's Dark Tower!

    23 out of 45 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    loved this book! Such an awesome story line. Finished it very qu

    loved this book! Such an awesome story line. Finished it very quickly.

    19 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    I loved the book! My only issue is that the ebook that I bought

    I loved the book! My only issue is that the ebook that I bought from BN has extremely funky text. The font and size of the text was constantly changing and I found it very distracting. Did any one else have this problem?

    18 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I am sure the story is great. I am a huge fan of SK but it's dis

    I am sure the story is great. I am a huge fan of SK but it's disappointing that the formatting is bad on this ebook. The fonts are not changeable with the nook software. They are too light and there are spots where it changes back and forth between the publisher's default and my selected one. And yes an made sure that the box was unchecked for using Publisher's default. I hope they will fix this and provide a better copy for us to downlod since I was looking forward to this book very much.

    17 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    Fix font!!

    For the love of all things- please please fix the font!!!! I can't read the book. It is way too distracting. :(

    16 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    TERRIBLE FORMATTING! SCRIBNER needs to fire their quality contro

    TERRIBLE FORMATTING! SCRIBNER needs to fire their quality control team. Good book but the publishers should be ashamed. This is the only really lousy formatted book I've ever seen for the Nook. The font and font sizes jump unpredictably. There's no middle-sized font between too large and too small for me.
    MInus two stars for a poorly manufactured book.

    15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    Loved the story, but what was up with the text!!! The script was

    Loved the story, but what was up with the text!!! The script was barely dark enough to read, and it changed at strange places, and there were a lot of grammatical errors. I expect better for a 13$ ebook.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2012

    Better quick, than none a'tall...

    When I first turned the corner in the book-seller, settling in fiction's "K" section, I experienced a bit of melancholly at the sight of such a painfully thin offering. And now that I think of it, it really IS King's fault, isn't it? Spoiling us Constants with eight, nine hundred pages? Say thankya. But...he wrote true and remembered the face of his father. So how do I complain over so silly a gripe as the width of the tale? I don't-now. I cry King's pardon, and go about my duty, and wait to see that clearing there. At the end of the path. Not yet, though. I'm chasing someone.

    10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2012

    I absolutely LOVED this book...I though it fit right in with the

    I absolutely LOVED this book...I though it fit right in with the rest of the DT series....couldn't lay it down and read it in 2 days.....If you like the Dark Tower series you will definitely enjoy this book! It would be wonderful if SK continues to add these little gems to the series....

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2012

    Story within a story within a story... Another reviewer describe

    Story within a story within a story...
    Another reviewer described it thus and hit the nail on the head. All great King stories and all tied to the Tower, but if you're looking another heavy dose of Eddie, Jake, Susanna and Roland you may be disappointed. The inner stories (which make up the majority of the book) introduce new and very interesting characters.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2012

    Cheap shot to the real fans of the series! While the story may be nice King is milking the cow! Not a story of Roland and the Dark Tower.

    Adds nothing to Rolands story, nothing. Youll get more out of the comics than this book. While it does take place in the "universe" of the Dark Tower dont expect it to add to the overall naritve of Rolands tale.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2012

    We Were Well Met on the Path of the Beam, Yet Again, Sai King.

    Unknown to me up until minutes ago when I finished this book, I feel like a missing part of me is yet with me again. Shall we never go so long in life without a nod to the gunslingers on a more regular basis

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Wow, I've missed Roland and his ka-tet, but we didn't spend that

    Wow, I've missed Roland and his ka-tet, but we didn't spend that much time with them. In that respect, the book is a good stand-alone, in that you don't have to know the rest of the series to enjoy it. I couldn't put the book down, and finished in a day, which made it far too soon to leave Mid-World again. Guess I'll have to start reading the series again...

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Short but hopefully sweet!

    Only 320 pages. Hope it moves fast and packs a really big punch

    6 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2011

    Dgcgcevhfrfv

    Hard toread

    5 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    If you haven't begun the journey, now's a good time to pack your gunna and get going!

    This is a not-to-miss essential for long-time Dark Tower fans. Stephen King does it yet again: spinning another yarn of pure storytelling-around-a-fire style. For the Constant Reader, this is a good point in the journey; where you stop, turn your head, pack your gunna, and brace yourself for the details of characters that have since been forgotten. For those that aren't the Constant Reader, 'fear not': this holds a great solo piece of the Dark Tower legacy and can be enjoyed in its own right, without being the shadow of the other novels in the series.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2012

    A pure delight in this series, and as King writes in the forewor

    A pure delight in this series, and as King writes in the foreword, can easily be read alone, without reading the other Dark Tower novels. I read the whole Dark Tower series, and felt that the writing fell off after the third novel, that King just felt compelled (and held hostage by his fans) to just finish the thing. When he himself showed up as a character in one of them (I forget which one), I was sure that was true, and the (then) final novel only proved that, in my mind at least. I think King would agree, especially given his treatment of Roland at the end (if you ignored the warning).
    In this novel, King I think, unforced by the impetus of finishing anything, rediscovers his love for the worlds that began with his collaboration with Peter Straub. I was as tired of the Dark Tower series as I suspect King was by the time he was done with it. After this novel, I guess I hope (but hardly demand) that he write another novel about a young Roland. Unless he thinks of something new to write about. Which I will always buy, everytime, and I think King knows why.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2012

    This story takes you right back into the time with Eddie, Jake,

    This story takes you right back into the time with Eddie, Jake, Susanna, Oy and Roland... as if they had never left. It seems there could be an infinite number of stories to tell from Roland's life... I only hope he continues releasing these.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    Excellent!

    A welcome addition to one of the best series of all time.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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