Roland, Cuthbert, and Alain have returned safely to Gilead . . . or have they? Roland is still enslaved by Maerlyn’s Grapefruit, and he refuses to tell his father about the sphere’s existence. Cuthbert and Alain have been declared gunslingers, but now must face the raging jealousy of their fellow apprentices who feel that Roland’s tet-mates have won their guns dishonestly. Steven Deschain is gladly awaiting the return of his wife, Gabrielle Deschain, who seems to have renounced her former lover, Marten Broadcloak, enemy of Gilead. But Gabrielle’s illicit love is too strong to renounce, and she sets off a chain of events that prove disastrous for herself, for Roland, and for Gilead.