It's odd that some of my friends who I'd have expected to rate it higher than I did rate this book lower than I have. I'll try to figure that out.Here, we meet a clearly mythic and epic hero torn directly from the pages of Michael Moorcock and more importantly Joseph Campbell. King cites the "Man With No Name" of the western movies fame as a chief inspiration, but for me the other two seem deeper lying influences. The hero, Roland Deschain travels in pursuit of a Man in Black, undergoing trials and tribulations along the way, as you'd expect, but with the fatalist viewpoint so familiar to those who've read Moorcock. So why read this book? Well, I began it as background reading to lead a group discussion of his (at this writing) most recent novel, 11/22/63. What I found fascinating is the difference in prose style between the two, or in comparison with something from his famous middle period, such as "It". Here we find in a younger King a more poetic and descriptive writer, who felt freer to employ color and device to paint his canvases, and the text is improved for it. It's not a great book, but it tells you that Mr. King could have developed into a great titan of modern literature, but instead chose to write books for the common man. I wish he hadn't. No man wishes to be common, and all men are capable of more than they give.