While taking shelter from a storm along the Path of the Beam, Roland tells his ka-tet a story from his youth, about going up against a skin-man with Jamie DeCurry, in which he tells a frightened youth yet another story to bolster his courage...
First off, it pains me to give a Dark Tower book less than four stars but I thought this one was on par with Wizard and Glass.
The Wind Through the Keyhole is really three tales nested within one another. One features our beloved ka-tet, somewhere between the green city from the end of Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla, the second a tale from Roland's youth, and a third a fable from Roland's world. Since The Dark Tower is one of my all time favorite works, my expectations were extremely high and this book didn't live up to them.
It isn't a bad book, though. Roland and the ka-tet are true to form. It didn't feel forced or tacked on. Rather, the stories felt natural and fleshed out both Roland's background and the mythology of Mid-World. I liked the Covenant Man quite a bit and the tale of the skin-man held my interest. If they weren't part of The Dark Tower, I probably would have rated them higher. Tim's tale reminded me of Eyes of the Dragon, one of Stephen King's more underrated works.
I guess my main gripe was that there wasn't much in the way of gunslinging action. Sure, Roland got to strut his stuff a bit but I was hoping for something to explain the ka-tet's transformation between books four and five.
Despite my gripes, I did enjoy The Wind Through the Keyhole and I was quite pleased that King left the ending open enough that he could stick another book or two in before the gang gets to the Calla. That'll have to satisfy my Dark Tower jones for now.