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Dragon Wing (The Death Gate Cycle, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1990

4.3 out of 5 stars 238 customer reviews
Book 1 of 7 in the A Death Gate Novel Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

An assassin and the royal child he has been hired to kill form an unlikely and unstable alliance as the plots of human sorcerers, elven pirates, and dwarf revolutionaries threaten to overwhelm the airborne kingdoms of Arianus. Long-time collaborators Weis and Hickman ("The Darksword" trilogy; "The Rose of the Prophet" trilogy) have embarked on their most ambitious project to date in this first of a projected seven-volume cycle. The authors' combined talents for innovative world-building and sympathetic characterizations find ample outlet in this epic fantasy. Recommended for most libraries.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Preeminent storytellers Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman have redefined epic fantasy. Since the publication of their Dragonlance series, millions of readers have enjoyed their imaginative world-building, rich characterization, and intricate storylines. Now these bestsellingauthors bring their talents to one of the most innovative fantasy creations ever in Dragon Wing, the first volume in The Death Gate Cycle.

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Product Details

  • Series: A Death Gate Novel (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; Reissue edition (October 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553286390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553286397
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Mesinger on October 24, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This series (starting with Dragon Wing, of course) was the first fantasy novel I'd ever read. My husband was "into" fantasy and recommended it to me. It was not what I expected at all and I have read the entire series twice since then.
Dragon Wing is the first of seven novels in the "Death Gate Series." Long ago powerful sorcerers called the Sartans sundered Earth as we know it into four separate planets -- air, fire, stone, and water. Onto each planet they placed dwarves, elves, and humans, and of course many of their kind to watch over everything. They also created a prison world for their ancient enemy, the Patryns. I don't want to give away anything from the novel, but that is the set-up for the series.
A problem with most fantasy novels is the "good vs. evil" plot. It's all so formulaic. Evil is dark, good is light. Even "The Wheel of Time" series and the "Lord of the Rings" series, the two most popular fantasy series, succumb to this pitfalll of fantasy writing. The Death Gate series has a much more intricate plot. There's no "dark one" trying to take over the world. It's more true to life in that there is no clear-cut right and wrong.
If you decide to start this book, I want you to know what you're committing to: after the first fifty pages, you will be sucked in and forced to read the entire series. All other aspects of your life will seem trivial except for what is happening in your book. The plot becomes more and more intricate until everything will suddenly come together marvelously for a beautiful climactic ending.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. This is just a review of the first book. There's only one real problem with the first book: it's not clear who the main character is. First I thought it was the dwarf, then Hugh the Hand.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In all probability, people who read the first of the Death Gate Cycle books and like it, are going to want to read all of the books in the series (regardless of any flucutation in the individual books' ratings). Ditto for the reverse: if people don't like the first book, then they're probably not going to want to read any of the other books in the series. Thus, instead of individual book ratings, I've rated the whole series and given a short blurb on any specifics for each book.
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman have done it again with this excellent start to the Deathgate Cycle series. We are introduced to the usual species...humans, elves, and dwarves (called Gegs). However centuries ago, a human race known as the Sartan sundered the world into four sections (earth, fire, air, and water) to prevent their ancient enemies the Patryns (another human race) from ruling the world. The Sartan then sent the Patryn into a special prison known as the Labyrinth. The Sartan hoped to teach them the errors of their ways as the Patryn slowly made their way to the Labyrinth's exit. Then the Sartan went about to set up the new worlds they created but before they could finish, they all just vanished.
"Dragon Wing" takes place on the world of air known as Arianus. Land masses float in various orbits in the air in one of three realms...the Low Realm (occupied by the Gegs), the Mid Realm (occupied by Elves and Humans), and the High Realm (occupied by the powerful human wizards known as Mysteriarchs).
After many centuries, the Patryn have begun to escape the Labyrinth (which after the dissappearance of the Sartan became alive and evil) and are looking for revenge. Haplo is dispactched through the discovered Death Gate into this realm of air to learn everything he can about it and if there are any Sartan present there. While here, he encounters an interesting variety of characters including the human assassin Hugh the Hand, the strange and clumsy human Alfred, the curious Geg Limbeck, the mysterious child Prince Bane, and the powerful mysteriarch Sinistrad.
This is a well written book and an exciting entry into the strange new fantasy world created by Weis and Hickman. They successfully take fantasy writing to a new level here and while this book answers a few questions, it raises many more. I recommend this book to fans of Wies and Hickman, Tolkien, and fantasy.
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