An exiting kick-off of the second instalment of this series, where Stephen King doesn't fear to show that his main character is a mere mortal and can be hurt. With this knowledge we step back into Mid-World, knowing that the prophecy made by the man in black, named Walter as we found out, must be faced. On the beach Roland finds three doors just standing there without a purpose. On each door is written something: The Prisoner, The Lady of the Shadows and The Pusher.
Opening the first one, The Prisoner, Roland finds himself in the head of someone. Think Being John Malkovich on this one. This appears to be Eddie, a junkie and drugs courier, travelling by airplane with loads of illegal goodies on him and living in our world. Roland figures he needs Eddie, for he is on a quest to the Dark Tower, the object around which the world is build. Eddie isn't too happy about it, because Roland's doesn't have drugs. Roland pulls him through though, but not before he got Eddie to get him antibiotics and aspirin.
The second door presents a bigger problem when it brings back two (black) ladies trapped in one body. The original one is Odette Holmes, an educated woman with a rich father. The second one, Detta Walker appeared when Odetta got a brick on her head, a brick that didn't fall accidentally. Detta knows the darker side of life and enjoys it.
Behind the third door is a very foul creature, named Jack Mort. He was the one responsible for the brick that fell on Odetta's head, some years later he also threw Odetta/Detta in front of the train. This was the reason why Odetta/Detta is in a wheelchair now, her legs stop below her knee. But Mort has done more, he has also caused Jake, the boy from the first book, to die.
As you can see this gets rather complicated. Parallel universes, time paradoxes (Eddie, Odetta/Detta and Mort come from different times). But do not fret, King takes his time to explain it all. With that comes that Eddie and Odetta/Detta know as little as we do. Though we do not get much new information about Roland's quest, this is still a good book to read. We are presented with more or less likable and interesting characters, each with their own story to tell. All are facing problems and they need each other to solve them. So, a character book, I can hear you thinking, does that mean no action? Well no, there's still plenty of shooting, killing and all kinds of other form of action. But yes, characters are the key to this story. But who cares? Aren't they always in Stephen Kings' books? Did that ever cause a lack of action?
So a good story to continue our introduction to the world of the Dark Tower. Yes, it's still an introduction. But good enough to keep me reading and interested in what happens next. We now have the characters to really get the story going. On to Book Three!