In this, Roland has to open three doors and choose three people to help him in his quest. The first is Eddie Dean, a heroine addict who Roland first meets on an airplane bound from Florida to New York. Eddie’s in the process of smuggling heroine back from suppliers to an Italian mob boss. The second is Odetta Susannah Holmes, a wheelchair bound, black woman who is the heiress to a fortune. But Odetta has another inside her; Detta Walker, a very cruel and spiteful woman.
What originally Roland believes to be the third person is in fact a way to make Odetta’s two halves see each other to become the third person.
Eddie comes from the late 1980s, while Susannah (as she becomes known) is from the late 50s/early 60s. Neither of them are prepared for the strange world of the gunslinger’s.
As we progress through the story, we get to see each of their lives; Eddie and Odetta’s through Roland’s eyes and through their own conversations. And little by little, a bit more of Roland’s as he is willing to offer it up.
This second book added another chapter to the series which makes for an excellent read. Make no mistake, King’s style of writing is recognizable, but he manages to form and interesting world with the narrative. With each person that joins Roland, it becomes more rich and interesting. It also brings about questions that eventually get answered in the third book (only to be replaced with more questions). But one thing is certain, the three join forces on the quest to the Dark Tower.
King’s choice of characters, time periods and even places is interesting. Usually we’re used to his books taking place in Maine (at least in the horror genre and what was dubbed the Castle Rock stories). Here, he chooses a black woman who had her legs below the knee cut off from a train accident (which we learn, wasn’t an accident at all). And a white man, from the projects who has become a pawn in the trafficking of drugs. Both come from New York City, and while they both come from different eras, Eddie still comes from a poor family and a poor neighbourhood (victimized by the mob that runs the place), Odetta is from an affluent family (although, she is still a black woman during the time before the Civil Rights Act passed and became law). Roland gets to see all of this clearly, and even though the two come from different eras, he learns as much from one as from the other, and finds similarities.
Through Roland’s eyes, the things from our world seem magical, as he asks about things like Asprin (Astin) and flying coaches, believing alchemists must be sought after in this world. But we can’t forget; Roland is a gunslinger, so even then he still has a different code.
The second book continues the journey and adds new and interesting characters to the quest. But questions still remain. Will the three survive together? Will Roland find Jake? What about the man in black? And just how far are they from the Dark Tower?