Hodder & Stoughton is set to publish King’s new novel in the Dark Tower series, The Wind Through the Keyhole, next spring

Horror author Stephen King is set to return to the world of his bestselling fantasy series, the Dark Tower books, in a new novel out next year.

Just acquired by UK publisher Hodder & Stoughton, The Wind Through the Keyhole is set between the fourth and fifth books in the Dark Tower series, and addresses the “hole in the narrative progression”, as King himself put it, between “what happened to Roland, Jake, Eddie, Susannah, and Oy [when] they leave the Emerald City (the end of Wizard and Glass) and the time we pick them up again, on the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis (the beginning of Wolves of the Calla)”.

Hodder will publish the novel, which King said was shorter than the 700-plus paged final books in the series, but “quite a bit longer” than the 300- paged first volume, next spring. His UK editor, Philippa Pride, said it would be a “wonderful reunion” for current fans of the series, while “for readers who have yet to embark, it is a delightful way into the series as the novel stands perfectly alone – a story within a story – and features both the older Roland and the younger”.

King revealed that he started thinking – “and dreaming” – about Mid-World, where the books are set, while he was “worrying over the copyedited manuscript” of his next book 11/22/63, which involves time travel and JFK.

“There was a storm, I decided. One of sudden and vicious intensity. The kind to which billy-bumblers like Oy are particularly susceptible. Little by little, a story began to take shape,” he said. “I saw a line of riders, one of them Roland’s old mate, Jamie DeCurry, emerging from clouds of alkali dust thrown by a high wind. I saw a severed head on a fencepost. I saw a swamp full of dangers and terrors. I saw just enough to want to see the rest. Long story short, I went back to visit an-tet with my friends for a while. The result is a novel called The Wind Through the Keyhole … Call this one DT-4.5. It’s not going to change anybody’s life, but God, I had fun.”

King’s agent, Chuck Verill, said the book was “fabulous, and should be wholly satisfying to both Dark Tower cognoscenti and newcomers who are bound to be drawn in”.

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