Year Published: 1990
Finally I read this book (which has been floating around my bookshelf for years), and now I want to read the series.
I don't know why it took me so long to read it--I loved the Dragonlance series by the same authors. Maybe I was worried it would be too different than those books, which I adored. Or maybe time got in the way. Whatever it was, I'm glad I read it now. It sets the scene for a struggle between two races of demigods, the Patryns and the Sartans. Other races featured in this book are elves, dwarves (Gegs), and humans. All races are divided and mistrustful of one another; it appears that some sort of apocalypse separated them. The world is divided into three realms--the low realm, which is closest to land and on which resides the dwarves, the mid-realm, which is floating in air and occupied by elves and humans, and the high realm, which is above a crust of ice where the highest order of human magicians live. There is also an underrealm which contains a labyrinth where the Patryn were imprisoned--and forgotten--by the Sartans, causing the current conflict.
The book begins with a hired assassin (Hugh the Hand) given the task of killing a king's son--a bright, cheerful boy of about nine. He and the boy, Prince Bane, leave under the pretext that he is protecting the boy from enemies, and Bane's servant, Alfred, follows them. As they journey, Hugh begins to realize there is more to both of them than he bargained for. They end up stranded in low realm, where the dwarves are undergoing a revolution, where they meet Haplo, a mysterious figure from the underworld, and his remarkable dog. The journey takes them up to the High Realm where they must confront one of the more powerful magi--and where the true battle begins.
I loved this book. I loved the complexity of the worlds and races involved (how they create cultures, history, language, terrain!), I loved how bits and pieces were revealed as I read on, I loved the multi-faceted characters. (Who is good in this book? Who is evil? This is not so black and white!) I am definately planning on reading the next book in the series.
Book-a-Week # 60
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