Dark Tower 01 – The Wind Through the Keyhole – GUEST

Stephen King’s first Dark Tower novel – The Gunslinger – was published a long time before the rest of the series, which follows the quest of the last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, and his companions along the Path of the Beam to find the Dark Tower.
These books are set in a post-apocalyptic world where there is a slow decline into chaos, technology is slowly decaying and failing, fierce mutant creatures abound and magic is becoming a potent force. This book is a kind of apocrypha to the series which fills in some of the history of Roland whilst he and his companions shelter from the Starkblast, a freak once-in-a-generation storm which strips the landscape bare. 
The first part deals with the companions realising they are in danger by working out why their intelligent animal companion Oy (a Billie Bumbler or Throcken) keeps pointing himself towards a certain direction and sniffing the air. As they shelter from the Starkblast, Roland tells the tale of one of his first missions as a Gunslinger, to a town where a mutant shape shifter is killing townsfolk, in order to apprehend, or kill, this evil being. 
Within this tale, a third tale is told by the much younger Roland to a boy that he has found hiding from the mutant, of a far earlier historical time where a son loses his father, tries to protect his mother against harm from his father’s brother, and in his quest to find out his father’s fate is protected by the magic of Maerlyn against the Starkblast and his nasty uncle.
So, a tale within a tale within a tale, which might be confusing if it wasn’t told by a master storyteller. It could be read on its own, but some understanding of the Dark Tower series is probably necessary to get the full appreciation of this book.
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