TITLE: THE DARK TOWER: THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE
AUTHOR: STEPHEN KING
PUBLISHER: HODDER & STOUGHTON
GENRE: FANTASY FICTION
BLURB FROM THE COVER
For readers new to The Dark Tower, THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE is a stand-alone novel, and a wonderful introduction to the series. It is a story within a story, which features both the younger and older gunslinger Roland on his quest to find the Dark Tower. Fans of the existing seven books in the series will also delight in discovering what happened to Roland and his ka-tet between the time they leave the Emerald City and arrive at the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis.
This Russian Doll of a novel, a story within a story, within a story, visits Mid-World’s last gunslinger, Roland Deschain, and his ka-tet as a ferocious storm halts their progress along the Path of the Beam. (The novel can be placed between Dark Tower IV and Dark Tower V.) Roland tells a tale from his early days as a gunslinger, in the guilt ridden year following his mother’s death. Sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape shifter, a ‘skin man,’ Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, a brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast’s most recent slaughter. Roland, himself only a teenager, calms the boy by reciting a story from the Magic Tales of the Eld that his mother used to read to him at bedtime, ‘The Wind through the Keyhole’. ‘A person’s never too old for stories,’ he says to Bill. ‘Man and boy, girl and woman, we live for them.’ And stories like these, they live for us.
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.
I love The Wind Through the Keyhole. This was only the second time I’ve read this novel. The Wind Through the Keyhole is set between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla. King uses a story-within-a-story structure. Well two stories-within-a-story. Roland tells his ka-tet a story about something that happened when he returned from Mejis (Wizard and Glass) and within this tells them another story, a favourite of his from a book of stories his mother read to him as a child.
My favourite bits of The Wind Through the Keyhole involved Roland, Eddie, Susannah and Jake. I wanted to read more about their adventures. I would have been delighted if The Wind Through the Keyhole had been twice as long. King left me wanting more.
I loved the storm that comes in the opening section, Starkblast. King’s descriptions were great. I liked the idea of a storm that causes the temperature to drop so much things freeze over. I liked how this storm was repeated in the second story-within-a-story about Tim in the Endless Forrest. I liked the way King returns to Roland his ka-tet at the end of The Wind Through the Keyhole.
I really enjoyed The Skin Man. I thought it was very well written. I liked reading more about Roland when he was young after Susan Delgado’s death. The skin man is a human who can turn into any animal or creature it wants including a bear and a reptilian monster. I liked Jamie DeCurry’s character, a member of Roland’s first ka-tet. I would have liked to read more about him.
My favourite story-within-a-story was The Wind Through the Keyhole. I loved it. I thought Tim was a great character. I loved it when he met the giant tiger at the Dogan deep in the woods just as the Starkblast came and managed to shelter with it beneath a magical sheet. Cool!
I would be happy if King wrote dozens more Dark Tower novels. They are among my absolute favourite novels of all time. I would really like to read about the battle at Jericho Hill and the fall of Gilead. Maybe that will be the next story?