[Review written Nov 2004]
I read this series when it first came out in 1987, and several things impressed me about it at the time:
1) The author is a serious fan of roleplaying games, and has first hand experience in game design ... and it shows through clearly in his writings, both then and now.
2) This was one of the first books set in a 'pre-fab' role playing world (in this case, "The Forgotten Realms" of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons RPG), in which there were already extensive supplements available showing the lay of the land, the peoples, the creatures, the spells, etc. According, without having to re-develop all that from scratch, the author was able to leap directly into his story.
3) At the time, this was one of the few RPG-themed books out that dealt with Druidical themes - which was always a favorite subject of mine whenever I roleplayed.
In any case, it's a solid fantasy series, and I'm glad to see it come back into print. Despite being the first of many many forgotten realms novels that came out later, it's still among the best of the "RPG" sub-genre of Fantasy.