In his most recent installment to The Dark Tower series author Stephen King revisits the world of the gunslinger Roland Deschain and his ka-tet (the young boy Jake, Susannah Dean, Eddie,and their billy-bummbler friend Oy), all on a journey in search of The Dark Tower. The novel, titled The Wind Through The Keyhole, is not a direct sequel within the series of books. Rather the novel is both sequel and prequel, coming in chronologically between The Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla.
In ...The Keyhole, King uses a frame narrative -- a story told in the middle of another story -- to pay homage to story itself and the teller of the tale, a theme he's explored frequently throughout his career. The story starts with Roland and his ka-tet traveling along the path that's going to lead them to The Dark Tower, what in the series is called "The Beam". They've just defeated Randall Flagg at the "Emerald City" and is headed in the direction of the Calla. While headed in this direction they learn of an impending storm that leaves them holed up in an abandoned building until it passes. In the midst of the storm, as a wind howls outside of the building, Roland tells his fellow travelers a story from his past.
The story Roland tells is of a time he hunted a skin-man, a shape-shifter, just outside of his home of Gilead before the world had completely moved on. In the story the skin-man terrorizes a little town called Debaria until Roland and his partner or "ka-mate" Jamie De Curry arrive in true lawman/gunslinger fashion to put an end to the town's terror and to the skin-man that birthed it.
While on the hunt Roland meets a little boy, Bill, who is orphaned by the skin-man. One night while Roland Deschain and his ka-mate were waiting to finish their business with the skin-man, Roland tells a story to the little boy, who is all alone in the world and scared, to calm and hearten him.
This final framed story is about Tim Ross and is the meat of the novel. Tim's story is a coming of age fantasy populated with a manner of magical creature -- a dragon, a fairy, Merlin the magician and a really bad man. Tim father dies, not unlike young Bill's own father who was killed by the skin-man, and Tim's father's death set off a chain of events that eventually led to the boy becoming a man and a very special one at that.
After Tim's story concludes, King backs out of the frame and conclude both the other stories he started telling.
The Wind Through the Keyhole is a solid edition to The Dark Tower series. It's a fun fantasy novel that can actually be read as a stand alone without much confusion at all. And it's fun for fans to revisit the world of Jake, Susannah, Eddie, Oy, and Roland Deschain again.