The Wind through the Keyhole by Stephen King


I read my first electronic book yesterday after downloading the iBook app on my new iPad. Not being a huge fan of this whole eBook trend I was dubious to say the least. After buying the book and downloading it, I found to my delight that the “book” was displayed like…well, a book. It had the edges of the cover surrounding the “page” and I could even “flip” the pages. The book itself was only £4.99 and in a very, very short time, I was immersed in King’s latest addition to the Dark Tower verse.

As an eBook virgin till yesterday, I am now sold on this new “style” of reading and have already downloaded and started reading my next electronic book, Life of Pi. (This book, via the iKindle app cost me, twenty pence!) I am digressing terribly but I had to say what I thought of my first eBook reading. *This is not to say that I do not still prefer actual books over the electronic variety, but I am not dead set against them any longer. I think that I can now be referred to as a convert.*

I could not tell you when I first read the first book in King’s epic fantasy tale. The Gunslinger was published in 1982, I don’t remember when I bought it, probably not too late after it hit bookstalls. I do remember waiting for what seemed like forever for the second book in the series to come out. I did buy that one immediately as I was frantic to know what came next.

I feel like I know how those fans felt that thronged the docks in New York waiting to find out what happened to Little Nell in Dickens’s serial The Old Curiosity Shop. The arrival of each new tale in the Dark Tower series felt as though they took forever to be published and I read and re-read the books I already owned while waiting for the next “instalment.”

I fell in love with Roland Deschain the Gunslinger from Gilead. I also fell in love with all the members of his Ka-tet. Ex-drug user and drug mule, Eddie Dean; with his wise-ass way of viewing the world and his razor-sharp humour. Susannah Dean, Jake Chambers, and the billy bumbler Oy all have a place in my heart. I had not realised how much I missed them until I picked up my iPad and started reading King’s last contribution to the Gunslinger’s tale.

Even though this epic long tale has always been called the Dark Tower series, I’ve always thought of it as The Gunslinger series. In my mind King’s verse was (and still is in my mind) the world’s first Western Fantasy. A world that leaps between other worlds and modern times effortlessly as the story moved forward.

The Wind through the Keyhole is a sort of “bridge” story. King himself has said that it filled the gap between Wizard and Glass and The Wolves of Calla. This book is really a story within a story. Related to the others by Roland as they wait for the mother of all ice storms to pass.

In his story, Roland tells of another mission that he went on before the fall of Gilead. This time he went with his friend Jaime De Curry and they are going to find and dispatch a “skin-man” who is terrorising and killing a number of citizens in the town of Debaria. Roland also learns more things about himself in the process.

The very instant my eyes read the first paragraph, I felt I was at home again. I realised that I had really, really missed this small group of gunslingers and their interaction with one another and I missed their world (or worlds to be more accurate). It was nice to be back with the “gang” once more.

The cover on my copy of the first in the Dark Tower seres.
The cover on my copy of the first in the Dark Tower seres.

The book itself came out Spring last year. My life was a bit hectic at that time and I never got a chance to buy or even borrow it from the Library. Time marched on and my life became even more hectic, so much so that I forgot all about King’s newest Dark Tower entry. I only remembered yesterday, when I was looking at the iTunes iBooks listing and I typed in Stephen King on the search bar.

The title appeared and I did not hesitate to purchase and download it. At 601 pages it is a good-sized book, but like most of King’s books, it is a fast read, I was able to finish it in a single reading. I would have written my review immediately upon finishing it (I was that excited about it) but it was after three in the morning and my eyes felt like they’d been dipped in Kerosene.

It’s a  brilliant book, if you’ve not read it for what ever reason, do so now. It’s worth the time you spend and if you are like me, it’s even worth the painful eyes you’ll have when you finish.

5 stars out of 5 for atypical Stephen King entertainment.

Stephen King.
Stephen King.