Dragon Wing was the first non-Dragonlance book I read by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. This was years ago, of course.

And when I saw this book at used book store, along with Elven Star and Fire Sea (books 2 & 3 of the Death Gate Cycle), I just had to pick them up.

What is the Death Gate Cycle?

There’s seven books total, covering the adventures of Haplo, who’s been sent forth by his master to reconnoiter the Four Worlds (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water). Powerful wizards known as the Sartan sundered the world into these four realms, hundreds of years before the events in Dragon Wing began.

Not only did the Sartan split the world, but they put Haplo’s ancestors in a prison dimension known as The Labyrinth. Haplo and other members of his race, the Patryns, had fight their way to freedom.

And interesting premise. And what’s even more interesting is that through about the first half of the book Haplo doesn’t even make an appearance, though he’s been sent to the World of Air, Arianus. This world is divided into three layers of floating islands hovering above a massive maelstrom below. Humans and elves populate the middle realms, the dwarves on the lower realms, and the mysteriarchs, powerful magic-user, inhabit the high realms.

The main character really, is an assassin named Hugh the Hand who’s been hired by a king to kill the king’s own son. And even then Hugh’s story takes a back seat to the trials of Limbeck, a dwarf agitator.

Eventually all of their stories converge in a final confrontation, which I won’t spoil here.

I think I enjoyed this book more now than when I read it as a teenager.

You’ll find a number of standard fantasy tropes throughout: magic, dragons, airships, and the like. Weis and Hickman have once again introduced a race of dwarves, Gegs, which are oppressed by other races like the Gully dwarves in Dragonlance. The book moves along smoothly and the authors know how to use suspense to keep the reader interested.

I’m glad I picked up Dragon Wing again, though I remember the final book in the series, The Seventh Gate, being a disappointment, though I don’t recall why.  I guess I know if I pick up the copy and read it–or maybe it will have gotten better with age.

Get this if: You’re a fan of Dragonlance. You’re interested in reading a fantasy series that isn’t as dark and gritty as Game of Thrones or doesn’t have such a long run like The Wheel of Time.

Don’t get if: You’re not a fan of Dragonlance. 

It looks like Dragon Wing is available on Kindle for $1.99. Though I bought my used hardcover for 99 cents. I win. 🙂