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The Hand of Chaos

(The Death Gate Cycle #5)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  17,696 ratings  ·  165 reviews
Chaos is everywhere as the Lord of the Nexus orders his servant Haplo and the human child known as Bane to further their master's work on Arianus, the realm of air. But their one time companion Alfred has been cast into the deadly Labyrinth. And somehow the assassin Hugh the Hand has been resurrected to complete his dark mission. More important, the evil force that Haplo a ...more
Paperback, 446 pages
Published November 1st 1993 by Spectra (first published March 1st 1993)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,696 ratings  ·  165 reviews

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Tom Quinn
Sep 09, 2016 rated it liked it
The story cycle at last revolves back to the original setting and characters interesting enough to carry the plot out of its unfortunate morass. As awful as it sounds, the best way to enjoy this series is to go straight from Book 1 to Book 5 - you get serviceable summaries of the relevant plot points from the weak installments previous anyway.

3 stars.
Jim C
Apr 30, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is part of a series and must be read in order as each book builds on each other. In this one, the serpents are using the Death Gate as they travel to worlds so they can incite fear, anger, and chaos. This will allow the serpents to thrive.

I have really enjoyed this series but I did think this was the weakest book so far. This book was like a first episode of a new season of a television show. Things were wrapped up in the previous episode and now we are setting the table for the upcomi
Apr 13, 2012 rated it liked it
This one is so far the weakest link in the chain, but it's still good. It suffers from some pretty unlikeable main characters (an annoyingly precocious and evil child, a gang of evil incarnates, and a suicidal assassin). And there's a rehash of the annoyingly simple Gegs (dwarves) who have lost their innocence but haven't gained much wisdom. The previous books had long stretches of compelling reading (so far Fire Sea is the one I couldn't put down), but this one I could start and stop at will. A ...more
Jul 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is the book where The Death Gate Cycle changes--Haplo has explored all four worlds created during the Sundering of the original world, and it's time to start putting his Lord's plans for domination into action. However, Haplo is suffering a crisis of faith. He's doing his best to blindly follow Lord Xar, but he has seen too much and experienced too much to believe in the one-dimensional view of the world that Xar is promoting. Haplo is also starting to believe that Xar is misguided and just ...more
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This series full of unlovable characters is somehow growing on me.
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was a little annoying. I don't know why. I think it's Bane. That little bitch pisses me off! ...more
May 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I didn't like so much this one because of two main things:
1. There are too many repetitions and explanations about things that the reader already knows. I know that it was the fifth book so maybe, the reader who was reading the serie during its publication could have forgotten some details but it was too much: too many notes and too many repetitions in dialogues.
2. I was he first person who, after the first book, would have Hugh still alive but after 3 books, I resigned myself to it and his retu
Gumbo Ya-ya
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Working through this series, a couple of things become increasingly apparent about Weis and Hickman: though they may be accomplished story-tellers, the novel is not a medium that plays into their strength; and, given this, they have clearly improved as novel writers over the course of the series. In fact, it's a little surprising that The Hand of Chaos, the fifth of seven in the cycle, came only 3 years after the first.

As for the first observation, the appendices in these novels are the kind of
Stephanie Carr
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This series sure likes to end its books, while still wrapping up the main plot, with a cliffhanger for the next one. Gosh. Darn. It.

Haplo! Precious boy must protect main character buddy! Your character development is So. Damn. Good.

It was such a joy getting to come back to the first world from the first book. Seeing the changes in the characters we'd left here and what they've accomplished while we were gone. (Thanks to this style of us readers following Haplo from world to world here). Limbec
Charlie George
Enjoyed the reintroduction of the popular character Hugh the Hand, thought dead in Dragon Wing (Book 1), but resurrected by Alfred. Haplo begins to stand up and defy his master Xar, blinded by ambition and hatred of the Sartan. He also shames the mensch of Arianus for fighting and hating one another by illustrating their common enemy. In turn, the mensch, including a human mystriarch, elven Kenkari wizards, and the stubborn dwarven leaders Limbeck and Jarre, show Haplo that the only way to fight ...more
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: borrowed
I've said it a thousand times, and I'll keep saying it. I absolutely love this series.

It's the kind of fantasy that I really enjoy, it's intricate, thought out, culturally diverse and in depth, great action, and wondrous feels.

The powers that are pulling every races strings in this are quite mysterious and fascinating- the series always leaves you questioning everything you think you know. While you're going through the story you learn so much, yet everything you learn leaves you asking more qu
James Kinsley
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
On the negative side, ugh, more Bane. Too much Bane, and no Alfred. Some of the dialogue is still woefully stilted, and the Assassins Guild is such a fantasy staple as to be overly familiar. But overall, we're really moving forward now in terms of plot, the pieces are all moving into place, and Haplo's personal journey stoll delivers. And the book gets better as it goes along. ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My favorite installment so far, at first I was growing weary of the whole Sang-Drax business, dragging my rating between 2 and 3 stars, but once the Kenkari kicked in the whole mythos of the series began growing at an amazing rate and the whole story just went uphill from there.
Óscar Montequín torre
I have thought for the last 3 books that they wrote these series with a sort of a filler feel about it. They feel longer than they should, however, this one finally pushes the plot forward and finally let's you see the whole picture, sort of. Anyway, let's see how everything unravels. ...more
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I enjoyed the continuation of the story in this one, but I can't stand Bane. He has a much larger role in this one, and that detracted from how much I was really able to enjoy the book. However, a lot of questions get answered, and a lot of things happen in this book. ...more
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an inbetween like the two towers: you have met all the players in the previous book(s) and now they are preparing themselves for the final(s). Things happen, a lot of things happen, a lot of beginnings, a few endings, better, clearer alignment, all in preparation of the climax
Nov 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good. There was a bit of a pokey plot but nothing compared to the slog of The Elven Star. Considering keeping the series when after book 2 and 3, I was going to finish to put it in the free library.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are a lot of good things about Hand of Chaos. Haplo continues to develop. I like the Kenkari. I applaud the return of Bane the devil child. As well as Limbeck and Jarre. Also, randomly, I like the side character Trian.

I'm sort of ambivalent about the return of Hugh the Hand from the dead. On the one hand, what he turns out to be is pretty interesting, and... I like the guy. I also really, really appreciate that his relationship with Iridal doesn't go anywhere beyond –– his admiration of he
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some surprising twists in this one & also left me wondering what happened to some of the characters in a predicament at the end of book 4. The journey continues.
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010, fiction, fantasy
This book took me a long time to get into. I'd say it was around the last third of the book where it stopped being a chore to read. Much as there definitely is some good stuff in this series, I'm seeing that it does suffer from the self-indulgence that I dislike about fantasy. This series should be shorter, and could be without losing anything integral to the story or the emotions meant to be generated by it.

But anyway. I was happy to have Hugh back (although I really hope they explain his resur
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
(view spoiler)

Very welcome indeed, as is the series' return to Arianus, the most vividly imagined of the 4+ realms of the Death Gate Cycle. Of course, that may be because Weis and Hickman made a killing in a similar realm in Krynn.

Anyway, now that we, the readers, have had a primer on the four new Sartan worlds (view spoiler), we n
Mar 29, 2014 rated it liked it

Having visits each of the four realms in the previous four books, we now return to the first world, Arianus, world of air. We also now start to see things begin to spiral towards the inevitable climactic conclusion. The plot has definitely been advancing along the way, with this book we start to delve into the plot in a serious way. This series has certainly taken a lot of twists and turns along the way, and is ending up in quite a different direction than I'd first anticipated. It's not a bad d
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Yay, a return to a familiar world and characters! Of course, a year has passed and our beloved mensch have undergone some dramatic personality developments as a result of the past year's events. Also very cool was being able to visit new parts of a familiar world (Skurvash, Kenkari, Tribus Empire).

This was another 'bridge' book, very much a continuation of the ones before and after...which isn't a big issues for someone (me) who is determined to read the whole shebang.

Surprisingly, I missed Alfr
Grayson Lawrence
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In the book, Haplo is tasked with turning on the Kicksey-Winsey. Meanwhile, Lady Iridal and Hugh the Hand, with the help of the Kenkari Elves, are going to rescue Bane from the Elves. The dragon snakes are wreaking havoc down on Drevlin. This is all happening on the world of Arainus. At the end of the book, Hugh the Hand is tasked with killing Haplo.

I chose to read this book because mainly, I didn't have another book to read so I found the series at a thrift store and couldn't put it down.

Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This fifth installment was most difficult to digest for me, in sheer length and what felt to me as "we're a bit lost", aren't we? They could have made this shorter. A lot shorter, maybe, not sure. Hard to judge. I’m a quick reader, luckily, and I also have a knack for sensing when I’m getting additional, but not necessarily vital information, so I often quick-read over such passages. Even if I do miss vital information this way, it doesn’t bother me much. This is the kind of epic I willingly sin ...more
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another great book in the series. The first part is amazing; not only do we go back to Arianus, to see some old characters from the first book, but we also find things about the great machine, Kicksey-winsey. We also get some hints about other worlds from Zifnab (yes, he makes an appearance in this book but thankfully, a pretty short one).
Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the second half of the book that much as it turns from a mystery to a political novel. We have all these various factions and ch
Jan 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel Eggert
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Agree with many of the others who thought this book was a ponderously paced. I read the first 4 of the series in 3-5 days each. This book took me six weeks because I grew disinterested in:
all the scenes without Haplo
most of the scenes with (view spoiler)
The lack of Alfred bumbling through everything (Never thought I'd say that.)
Haplo's inactivity during his appearances in the storyline
Bane's non-development as a character
(view spoiler)
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Copied from Dragon Wing. Review is for entire series.


The Deathgate Cycle is one of my favorite series ever. Everything about it - all 7 books - are just... high fantasy perfection.

- The world (or rather universe) is amazingly unique, stunning in set up and description, and terrifically told.
- The magic and its use is top notch. It's one of few series that really go into HOW the magic of the world works.
- The characters are all highly memorable, including "Dog", the secondaries, the
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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)
  • Dragon Wing (The Death Gate Cycle, #1)
  • Elven Star (The Death Gate Cycle, #2)
  • Fire Sea (The Death Gate Cycle, #3)
  • Serpent Mage (The Death Gate Cycle, #4)
  • Into the Labyrinth (The Death Gate Cycle, #6)
  • The Seventh Gate (The Death Gate Cycle, #7)

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