Pursued by assassins, Haplo, the only one who knows the location of the mysterious Seventh Gate, and his old companion, Alfred, seek refuge in the Labyrinth, a lethal prison maze whose inhabitants are condemned to death. Reprint.
The way that Tracy and Margaret bring the characters to life significantly contributes to the reason this series of books is so great. By the end of the 1st book, Hugh the Hand (Best Assassin in the world), Alfred(Sartan Mage), Haplo(Patryn Mage), Bane(son of most powerful human mage alive), and the rest of the characters have almost come to life in your mind.
If you're going to read Fantasy(Or SciFi) start with this! The sense of depth these books have to them makes you wonder if it's actually historical fiction that Margaret and Tracy are writing about and the index each book has is absolutely amazing. Whenever you're confused about something the characters are making reference to (or if you 'missed' [skipped, lol] the part when the character's were discussing it) you can simply look it up in the back index and you'll understand it better than you would have just reading straight through. (THEY EVEN HAVE DIAGRAMS OF EVERYTHING!)
Margaret and Tracy together are unparalleled writers equal to only a few such as Tolkien, Piers Anthony, Knaak, Louis Lamour(SP?) and the like.
I won't be suprised when this series becomes the next movie series. Except for the fact that since the book's environs are so diverse (they 'literally' create whole worlds with flora and fauna and a whole system of language [actually I think it might be latin]) the movie industry right now might not be up to it.
Finally, if you're worried about it being too advanced or too intellectual, don't.Read more ›
Overall, this is a very good series. The authors were amazingly creative in coming up with this concept and the books are well-written, extremely interesting, and internally consistent (mostly -- see below for some exceptions). I highly recommend this series of books for everyone. My comments for the indidual books follow:
Vol. 1 -- Dragon Wing: This book covers the exploration of Arianus: the realm of Air. It introduces us to the two main characters (Haplo and Alfred) and many of the recurring characters throughout the series. It's a well-paced, well-written book that's an excellent reresentation of what to expect in most of the rest of the series. Essentially, if you like this book, you'll like the other six books. If you don't like this book, then there's no sense in reading any of the others.
Vol. 2 -- Elven Star: This book covers the exploration of Pryan: the realm of Fire. Alfred is entirely missing from this book, and Haplo isn't really the centerpiece. Instead, the book is mostly written from the perspective of the mensch and of the newly introduced (and recurring) Zifnab. The one possible weakness in the book is that Weis/Hickman wrote it such that the structure of Pryan itself is more of a mystery than Arianus was in the first book.
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Here, too, we meet up again with the giant serpents that saw a real opportunity in closing off and trapping everyone within the Labyrinth, forever feeding on the fear, hatred and hopeless that the Labyrinth pounded into its victims.
Xar, Haplo's mentor and "father", had already been convinced by lies that Haplo was a trader which was just what the serpents wanted...a divided people meant a weakened army and an easier foe to conquer on the battlefield. From here on the book focuses on the war with the serpents and Xar's belated realization that he has been fooled.