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Dragon Wing

(The Death Gate Cycle #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  26,268 ratings  ·  640 reviews
Ages ago, sorcerers of unmatched power sundered a world into four realms--sky, stone, fire, and water--then vanished. Over time, magicians learned to work spells only in their own realms and forgot the others. Now only the few who have survived the Labyrinth and crossed the Death Gate know of the presence of all four realms--and even they have yet to unravel the mysteries ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 430 pages
Published October 1990 by Spectra (first published January 1990)
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Nicky This is probably one of the first fantasy series I ever picked up and I love it for that.
Wren is similar in some ways, humor especially. The Belgariad series is certainly a much simpler plot and can be a…more is similar in some ways, humor especially. The Belgariad series is certainly a much simpler plot and can be a bit repetitive if you read it all at once, but it's still enjoyable :)(less)

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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  26,268 ratings  ·  640 reviews

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Jennifer Troike
Sep 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fantasy lovers
Book one in a 7 book series. I LOVE the series. Let me say this, if you think 'oh no it's just another fantasy series', think again. Yeah it sure seems that way, till you get further in... and you start realizing some of the plot, and the timeline... just WHEN it happens will interest you! Some books drag, some are better, but the last 2 books are my favorite.

Book 1 however is action packed and hooks you in quickly.
Tom Quinn
Sep 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Imagine something like the grand mythos of Tolkien adapted for the stage by an exuberant community theatre company. Sure, there are faults but their edges are softened by enthusiasm and you can easily lose yourself in the grandiose, scene chewing theatrics. There's action, excitement, comedy, magic, political intrigue... Fans of swords and sorcery in any form will find something to love in this wide-ranging series.

4 stars out of 5. Bigger than the sum of its parts, and loads of fun.
Aaron Miller
Feb 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The Death Gate Cycle is probably my favorite fantasy series. The settings are unique and engrossing. The characters are deep and complex. Haplo is the most interesting fantasy character I've come across. ...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
Oct 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, books-i-own
This is certainly an example of 'thinking out of the box' as far as world building is concerned. I'm not too sure how to approach a review of this book. I've never read the Death Gate Cycle before, and I must say that this book left me intrigued. I did, initially, have a struggle wrapping my mind around the world of Arianus and the different realms. The maps and diagrams in the front of the book certainly helped. One or two of the characters left me cold, but that didn't really alter my reading ...more
Sarah Trites
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
5 stars for the phenomenally creative world building and all of the awesomeness this book sets up for lager in the series, 3 stars for the character development. Completely changed my thinking as an RPG player.
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I split the review for this up... Too long = too lazy to read (admit it). I first read these as a teenager and I was completely and utterly hooked. It’s been roughly fifteen years since then, and of course, the reading experience changed.

This is sci-fi-fantasy at its hugest form. Tolkien has created a massive fantasy world, in all its glory. The Death Gate Cycle can rival Middle-earth in its magnitude, though I’m not sold on its ability to speak to people’s imagination. Weis and Hickman wrote so
Brandon Pratt
Jul 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
hands down, my all-time favorite series. it's starts a little slow... you have to make it to the point where haplo is introduced, the main character in the series. from that point on, the series is amazing. this isn't just some wierd fantasy series for dorks, like trekkies or something. there are a lot of philosophies and ideologies presented throughout the course of this series, plus the story is wildly creative and interesting. there's nothing like it. ...more
H. P.
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: modern-sf
Dragon Wing is book 1 of 7 in The Death Gate Cycle. The Death Gate Cycle is set in the far future, a post-apocalyptic world that looks a lot like traditional fantasy worlds—full of humans, elves, and dwarves. The difference are two races, Patryns and Sartans (demigods in their own minds). Their war led to the Sundering of the world. The Patryns were imprisoned in the hellish Labyrinth and the world was split into four—one for each of the old elements. The Death Gate Cycle follows a Patryn escape ...more
Jim C
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book of a fantasy series from the authors who were responsible for the origins of Dragonlance. In this one, we are introduced to a land that has different realms. These realms could either be higher or lower than each other and they have their own story. Each realm is known but at the same time remains a mystery to the other realm's residents.

I would classify this as epic fantasy as there was so much going on but it never got bogged down in the details. There were aspects of su
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm re-reading the Death Gate Cycle because it's been a long time and it seemed like a good summer series. The first book is amazingly spry in that they don't bog it down with endless details and make it carry the entire world-building burden. Plus they are pretty sneaky by starting the reader off with a main character (Hugh the Hand) who isn't really the main character at all, yet he makes a good entry point for the reader. You think you are getting some pretty standard fantasy/medieval realm s ...more
Alejandra Sc
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
This was the first epic fantasy book I ever read. This saga is the reason why I never enjoyed Harry Potter at a young age. I found it rather lame compared to this.

If you are into exploring new worlds, this is definitely my way to go. Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman are an amazing writing duo.

Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is the first Weis/Hickman novel I've read. I'll certainly keep
going with this seven-volume series because this one was a lot of fun.
Any time I pick out a Fantasy or Sci-Fi novel to read, it is imperative
that it has this one quality: Give me an interesting (the more
mind-blowing, the better) world or concept.
These authors obviously put a lot of thought into this world they've created, and described it in a manner that was not dull or over-wordy, but fun and adventurous.
Top marks here, and he
Nimrod Daniel
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A good start for the series. The characters are nice, the plot is quite good, but the ambitious worldbuliding is probably its greatest achievement.

Silvera Starling
Oct 17, 2015 rated it liked it
A good book, but with some noticeable flaws.

The world building is really great and unique, definitely the highlight of the book for me. Instead of seeing the usual fantasy world and culture that is in most novels, this one is very out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to that aspect. It seems everywhere you go, it's the usual: the elves are the magical hippies, the dwarves are the earth/mountain people, and the humans are everything else. Plus dragons. Dragon Wing is pretty good at avoiding all
Jan 29, 2011 rated it liked it
I am given this first volume a reluctant three stars, but I don't recommend the series.

In the mid 80's Weis and Hickman wrote the first Dragonlance novels which were very popular. I quite liked them as a teen (although after rereading this series, I'm afraid to revisit them). Since Dragonlance they have worked on a number of other series but never as successfully as the first. Perhaps the most ambitious is The Death Gate Cycle, seven books set across five worlds each with its unique ecology and
Feb 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
I decided to re-read my favorite fantasy series of all time, The Death Gate Cycle. I was recently telling a friend and her husband (and you know who you are, Emily) how wonderful these books were, and as I was talking to them, I managed to talk myself into re-reading the books.

Hundreds of years ago, the Sartans (a magical race) Sundered the world, dividing it into four components (air, stone, fire, and water) in order to prevent their enemies, the Patryns, from gaining control of the earth. The
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the first book of the Death Gate Cycle that I never got around to reading in the 1990s. I’m glad to catch up on the series as I’ve been meaning to read it for quite some time. The world-building is decent. The Sky Realm where this book is set has been split apart by a powerful race of magicians long ago. As such, the highest realm is too cold to sustain life without sever magic intervention. The middle realm which is the most resource-rich lacks access to water, and the lower realm is tr ...more
Joey Nguyen
Jan 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fantasy Fiction readers
Recommended to Joey by: My Brother
In Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's book Dragon Wing, tosses you into a new fantasy world that is so unique and innovative, quite literally. The character development of this book is unrealistically advanced, to the point that you have several main characters. They complement and contrast other characters in this book. The storyline takes you from reality and puts you into a time line which is unknown to you, and that to progress forward into the book is to learn of the past. The trek t ...more
Fantasy Literature
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
The Margaret Weis/Tracy Hickman novels make up one of those corners of the Fantasy genre that you either enjoyed in your teens (and remember fondly)... or you didn’t. I have to admit that I’m of the latter camp, and while I strongly suspect that there was a time when I could have greatly enjoyed Dragon Wing, that time has passed me by. These days, I’m a little too jaded and I’ve read a few too many works in a very similar vein. Dragon Wing isn’t bad, necessarily, but I’d be lying if I said I par ...more
Ross Alon
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Just as I remembered. Not the most sophisticated book, and it has some of the 80's fantasy book villains issues, but the world building is quite good, and the characters aren't flat as you'd expect.

I thing it still can hold it's own against now days novels, but it might be my inner 12 years old.
David Woolridge
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still in my top 5 book series!

If you are in the market for a satisfying high adventure story filled with a unique take on classic fantasy tropes then look no further.
Allison Sesame
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I do love this series. I haven’t read the full Death Gate Cycle in several years, but this return to book 1 did not disappoint. Only six more to go!
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of D&D and modern sword&sorcery novels
I originally read Dragon Wing in the early 90s, at the peak of my Dungeon & Dragons phase (before I moved to Call of Cthulhu and Vampire), when my brother and I read as many Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms books that we could get hold of. And, of course, since Weis and Hickman wrote the original Dragonlance novels, we got our fist dive into the Death Gate Cycle... and our last for several years, since the next books were not available where we lived. Now that my brother has finally gotten hold ...more
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dragon Wing is almost one of the rare 5 star stories. Set in a world that is bizarre and novel in construction, but self consistent, different races live segregated lives. The pacing of how they get tied together is excellent and keeps the interest in the story high.

Several of characters, notably Limbeck and Alfred are memorable, and the Gegs in general reminds me of the Monopods in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader at some level. I think the flaws in the story are not so much the characters thems
Jul 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to kingshearte by: Don
Shelves: fiction, 2010, fantasy
I say I don't read fantasy, but fantasy titles do keep popping up here occasionally. It's my husband's fault. He reads the stuff, and sometimes he gets on me to read certain titles too. However, this is leading me to the conclusion that my husband has excellent taste in fantasy, because anything he has recommended to me (and he certainly doesn't recommend it all to me - he's never suggested I should read any of the vast array of roleplaying novels out there, for example) has actually been very g ...more
David Sarkies
Feb 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I only ever read book one
6 February 2012

Another fantasy novel that was given to me by a friend who told me that it was good so I should read it, and I did, a long time ago. Back in those days I really did not have huge amounts of money, so would generally borrow books from the library or off friends. The problem with borrowing books from the library is that you generally have between two to four weeks to read them, which is not really a problem if you can devote your entire time to reading book
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
OK ok ok, any fantasy lover should truly consider reading this book series. It is the perfect example of what real fantasy is, as it should be, rather then this odd fad with writing bad fantasy. In my Mytholoy class we studied fantasy and there are six rules that Tolkein set for the genera and if those rules arent fallowed then it is not fantasy. Now what I am saying is not that there are rules on writing, which there should never be, but when LOTR what written there were six elements that made ...more
It's been a long time since I have seriously enjoyed a fantasy novel. Strange, since I still consider it my favorite genre. Somehow, this book was what I needed to get back. From start to end, I enjoyed it and wanted to read more about it.

All the characters, for one, are really well-developed. They are all so multi-faceted that its hard to figure out who you want to support (They are all kinda against each other, but team up at times). My favorite character is the assassin, Hugh the Hand and Alf
Sarah-Jayne Briggs
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
(This review may contain spoilers).

I think it's really difficult to find any truly unique fantasy books, but this was at least an interesting concept, with a mix of fantasy and technology. The characters were quite well-rounded - and I particularly liked Alfred.

I have to say, I felt sorry for Bane for part of the book, but he was a complete brat for most of it. I'm not sure even Haplo could be classed as a true villain - I felt for him as much as Bane, though in a different way. I suppose he com
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A huge wow for this book, I do think this is my very favourite book so far in the dragonlance series and it is the first book from the death gate cycle. loved it because it spoke about a tiered world, with the gegs (dwarves) being the ones on the bottom rung, totally exploited by other beings who proclaimed themselves to be gods and afraid of the elves!! finally as all subjugated peoples do, a small faction started to rebel, and foment unrest amongst the gegs, the factree where they worked to pr ...more
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Fantasy novelist who, along with Tracy Hickman, was one of the original creators of the Dragonlance game world. I've written numerous novels and short stories set in the world of Krynn, as well as series in other, original worlds. These include: Darksword, Rose of the Prophet, Star of the Guardians, DeathGate, Dragonvarld, Sovereign Stone, Dragonships, and the Dragon Brigade. I also wrote two para ...more

Other books in the series

The Death Gate Cycle (7 books)
  • Elven Star (The Death Gate Cycle, #2)
  • Fire Sea (The Death Gate Cycle, #3)
  • Serpent Mage (The Death Gate Cycle, #4)
  • The Hand of Chaos (The Death Gate Cycle, #5)
  • Into the Labyrinth (The Death Gate Cycle, #6)
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News & Interviews

Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
159 likes · 59 comments
“Truth wasn't something you went out and found. It was wide and vast and deep and unending, and all you could hope to see was a tiny part of it. And to see that part and to mistake it for the whole was to make of Truth a lie.” 28 likes
“A 'why' is a dangerous thing... It challenges old, comfortable ways, forces people to think about that they do instead of just mindlessly doing it. (Haplo)


I think the danger is not so much in asking the 'why' as in believing you have come up with the only answer. (Alfred)”
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