The Wind Through The Keyhole is a story within a story within a story. Bear with me – I’ll explain. First and foremost The Wind Through The Keyhole is a Dark Tower Novel which King describes himself as Volume 4.5 fitting as it does between Vol4: Wizard and Glass and Vol5: Wolves of Calla in the series.
The Dark Tower series in King’s stab at a fantasy magnum opus influenced in part by Tolkein and a poem by Robert Browning which King started writing in his youth and has added volumes to since the early Eighties. The series is as engaging and entertaining as any of his works in the horror genre, and it is no wonder that he saw fit to revisit the much-loved characters of Roland of Gilead (the Gunslinger) and his band of followers known as the ka-tet.
The travellers seek shelter from a fierce storm and while they wait for it to subside Roland tells them a story of his youth – a mission he was sent on by his father. The mission is to investigate murders reportedly carried out in and around the village of Tree by a were-creature that is capable of holding many forms – a bear, a wild cat, and an alligator are among its guises.
While he is on his mission he tells a young boy, recently orphaned, the story of The Wind Through The Keyhole that Roland’s mother used to tell him. For fans of the series it is a great additional revisiting on the themes and imagery held within the other books – Roland’s guilt, coming of age, love for his mother and role as a gunslinger / puzzles / trickster magicians / enchanted forests and frontier violence. For readers not accustomed to the series, once you are into Roland’s tale-telling (page 35 of 335) it is mostly irrelevant whether it fits into the wider tale of Mid-World as it stands up well as a fantasy tale in its own right. However I urge you, if you have the time, to read 7 volumes of the Dark Tower series because it is a masterpiece and must for King fans.