This starts up with Eddie, Jake, Susannah and Roland still riddling with Blaine. It's interesting to see who stumps him. They get off the train in the 80's in Kansas. It's not our Kansas, or any of the characters in the book's either. It has been wiped out by the virus from the Stand book and popular things(cars, sports teams and sodas) have different names. They camp out near a "thinny" (thinnys are where the different versions of worlds are close and you can go from one to the next, I believe, though the creatures in between the worlds is nasty and can kill you) and Roland tells the story of how he got his guns and became a man. His story tells out about an evil type of sorcerer, Marten, and many of Roland's trials, with his trusty friends, Cuthbert and Alain. We also learn of Roland's first love Susan Delgado. Another important part of Roland's story is how he and his friends capture a pink colored Wizards glass, a kind of evil crystal ball. I won't go into his telling of the story too much, but it is interesting and a nice way of putting Roland into a little more perspective, it takes up most of the book, and runs on too long in certain places, but it is a much needed look into the man, Roland. At the books end, they reach Emerald City, which is like Oz and we find out who the Wizard is. The ka-tet, as the five call themselves, come to another Wizard's ball, and this one is set by the Wizard to try to get them to turn back and stop their quest with Roland.