“The Drawing of the Three” was released in 1987 and starts with Roland Deschain, the last Gunslinger, waking up on a beach to the water from the sea soaking his guns and shells. Roland, concerned for his weapons, leaps up but is attacked by giant lobster-like creatures that lop off the first two fingers on his dominant right hand.
King immediately cripples the story’s hero, starting the readers off knowing this will be a major test. “The Drawing of the Three” contains some of King’s best writing, hands down. His imagination and descriptions are truly incredible. This novel is incredibly fast paced compared to book one, and you’ll never want to put it down… Olivia and I finished it in three nights.
We get to meet two major characters in this one: Eddie Dean and Susannah. Susannah, we don’t get to until later, but we start off quickly with Eddie and if I’m being completely honest, he’s my favorite King character and one of the best he’s ever written.
This novel offers us a look into how vast King’s universe can be, but we only scratch the surface. “The Drawing of the Three” is easily a top 10/15 King novel overall for me, and its either #1 or #2 within “The Dark Tower” series.
Brief synopsis below that may contain spoilers, so tread lightly.
After losing his fingers, Roland shambles down the beach, realizing the lobstrosities have poisoned him. Roland is in desperation mode when he comes across a door in the middle of the beach. The door reads “The Prisoner.” Roland opens it and realizes he is looking through someone else’s eyes. Eddie Dean’s eyes.
Roland steps through the door, and into Eddie. King’s imagination is on full display here and it’s truly incredible. The scenes where Roland and Eddie co-exist in Eddies body, Roland taking food from Eddies world back to his own, Roland hiding the drugs Eddie was smuggling into the US in his world, so Eddie would make it through customs… amazing.
Eddie Dean is a heroin addict who, as I mentioned, was smuggling cocaine into the US for his heroin supplier, Balazar. Balazar is holding Eddie’s brother Henry hostage as collateral. Eddie, with Roland as his passenger arrive at Balazar’s place to exchange the drugs.
Eddie goes to the bathroom, followed by one of Balazar’s men, to retrieve the drugs from Roland’s world. While in the bathroom, Eddie pulls the goon into Roland’s world and together, Roland and Eddie feed him to the lobstrosities. Roland comes back through the door with Eddie, not inside him this time, but separately.
There’s a major shootout in Balazar’s where the last men standing are Roland and Eddie. After having Henry’s severed head thrown at him, Eddie is broken, and Roland convinces him to come back to his world to find the Tower.
“On the way to the Dark Tower anything is possible.” – Roland
“Okay, I didn’t have anything else planned tonight, anyway.” – Eddie
The two take some of Balazar’s antibiotics for Roland and trudge along the beach. Roland recovering from infection and Eddie withdrawing from his heroin addiction. Two peas in a pod. The two sufferers happen upon the next door marked: “Lady of Shadows.”
Roland opens the door again and is looking through the eyes of Detta Walker who is also Odetta Holmes. Odetta/Detta is a woman with a split personality. She is also a woman in a wheelchair because her legs are missing from the knee down.
Odetta/Detta’s drawing is much quicker and less messy than Eddie’s was, but once Roland gets her into his world, he and Eddie soon realize her personalities are unaware of each other, and vastly different. Odetta is kind, smart and inquisitive while Detta is much more animalistic: vicious, cunning and dangerous.
During the trio’s journey to the third door, Roland’s infection begins to reassert itself with a vengeance. Eddie and Odetta/Detta leave Roland, who is unable to walk, to find the door. Once there, Eddie leaves Odetta/Detta and takes her wheelchair to get Roland. Roland is the only one who can open the door marked: “The Pusher.”
Eddie gets Roland to the door, but Odetta/Detta is missing. Roland goes through the door and enters the vile Jack Mort. Eddie stays behind to look for Odetta… he has fallen in love with her but fears she has turned into Detta.
Meanwhile, Roland is inside Jack Mort’s head and stops the him from pushing Jake into traffic, the same Jake and same car that killed him and sent him to Roland’s world in “The Gunslinger.” Another glimpse at how big King’s universe surrounding the Tower can be.
Roland uses Jack’s body to get ammunition for his guns, and antibiotics for himself. This scene is fun and wild. Roland, not knowing New York culture makes Jack seem like an imbecile at times. Further examples of Kings genius. We discover Mort is the man that pushed Odetta in front of the train which caused her to lose her legs. In a final act of vengeance, Roland throws Jacks body in front of the same train and brings the drugs and bullets back to his world.
Back in his world, however, Detta has tied Eddie up and he is on the verge of death by lobstrosities when Roland reemerges. His return caused Detta and Odetta to finally see each other, causing the split personalities to converge into one woman: Susannah.
These three are the beginnings of a ka-tet: one from many; a group of people summoned by ka (destiny). Together they continue their journey to the Tower but not before Eddie rips our hearts out by thanking Roland in the most genuine way possible:
“You saved more than my life, you saved my fuckin’ soul.”
“The Drawing of the Three” is an absolutely incredible novel and leaves us totally broken but also empowered and ready for the next piece of the puzzle: “The Waste Lands.” I can’t say enough positive about this one though.