And so we move on to the second of the Dark Tower books (click here for my review of book one, The Gunslinger), The Drawing of the Three.
I'm pretty sure that this one is my favorite of the books (my least favorite, without a doubt, is book six, The Song of Susannah. Bluch.). In this story we are introduced to two of the new members of Roland's "ka tet" (a group bound by destiny), Eddie Dean and Odetta Holmes. I am a sucker for Eddie Dean, and love everything about him, so that's probably why this one is my favorite (note to Ron Howard and Brian Grazer: I know you're probably going to screw this movie/miniseries up. But please be nice to my Eddie. Thanks.).
As the story begins, Roland finds himself on a beach, waking up in the surf. He sees enormous lobster creatures (dubbed lobstrocities), who immediately attack him and eat one of his toes and two of his fingers before the end of page 2. And so, Roland makes his way down the beach, dying of blood infection and wondering how and when he will "draw" his companions: The Prisoner, The Lady of Shadows, and The Pusher.
Roland comes upon a massive door, free-standing on the beach. On the front of the door it simply says "THE PRISONER", and when he opens it, he finds himself in the mind of Eddie: a cocaine mule and heroin addict, living in New York City in the 1980s. Roland "draws" Eddie into his world and his "when" by pulling him through the door (along with enough antibiotics to improve his health for the time being).
The next door they find is labeled "THE LADY OF SHADOWS" and it opens upon Odetta: a young, beautiful, paraplegic (she lost her legs after being pushed onto the NYC subway tracks) African-American in the New York City of the 1960s, who just happens to be schizophrenic (her other personality is a nasty young woman named Detta Walker, who was "born" when Odetta was a young girl and a brink was dropped on her head, putting her in a coma). Odetta and Detta are not aware of each others' existence.
Roland and Eddie spend much of the time while searching for the third door wondering about Odetta/Detta and what to do about the two. Odetta is lovely and beautiful (and Eddie falls in love with her immediately) but Detta is dangerous and clever and plots to kill Eddie and Roland.
The third character who is "drawn" is a sociopath named Jack Mort ("THE PUSHER"), who just so happens to be the same man that once dropped a brick on Odetta's head, and who also pushed her in front of the subway a few years prior. And if those coincidences weren't enough, when Roland enters his mind, he is also planning to push young Jake Chambers into traffic to his death. Roland stops Mort from pushing Jake (which causes Roland to lose his mind in book three…), uses his body long enough to get more antibiotics and bullets for his guns, and then drags him back through the door to the beach.
When Roland and Mort appear on the beach (where Detta is waiting to kill Roland and has left Eddie to be eaten by the lobstrocities), Detta and Odetta merge, battle and become a new, third woman: Susannah Dean. Mort is eaten by the lobstrocities on the beach.
Roland, Eddie & Susannah leave the beach and head to the woods to continue on the quest for the Tower.
Confusing? Absolutely. And sadly, the least confusing and most straightforward of the books.