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(The Death Gate Cycle #4)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  20,732 ratings  ·  185 reviews
In Toverslang zet Haplo zijn ontdekkingstoch door de gespleten wereldrijken voort. Zijn pad voert ditmaal naar Chelestra, het Rijk van de Zee, dat geen werelbol maar een waterbol is waarin eilanden ronddrijven. Het is een plaats waar mensen, dwergen en elfen in vrede met elkaar hebben leren leven. Daar werken zij gezamenlijk aan immens project: het bouwxen van schepen wari ...more
Paperback, 370 pages
Published 1998 by Uitgeverij Luitingh ~ Sijthoff (first published January 1st 1992)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  20,732 ratings  ·  185 reviews

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Tom Quinn
Sep 09, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This should have been Book 2 of 4. They might have skipped the "four elements" gimmick and just told the story of the godlike Sartan locking the magic-using Patryns away in the Labyrinth for rehabilitation and then mysteriously disappearing for eons while their prison turned malicious... Because that idea is very cool, and the sections that focus there show promise, while the "water world experiencing slow element-centric decline into ruin" stuff is tired and sluggish and for some reason they tr ...more
Mar 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know, whenever I'm lucky enough to find a reasonably literate person who has read some fantasy novels, I'm always surprised by the fact that - as far as I can recall - none of them have read The Death Gate Cycle. Granted, I had some holdover nostalgia from the Dragonlance Chronicles for Weis and Hickman, and so I probably had more cause to read them than most, but, even solely on their own merits, these are really excellent books. They're filled with interesting and nuanced characters - Hugh ...more
Jim C
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the fourth book of a series. I strongly advise reading the previous books first as this book builds on the story arc. In this one, Haplo ends up on a water planet where all powerful dragon snakes are threatening the occupants of this world. Meanwhile, Alfred also ends up on this world and discovers his own race living on this planet.

While I still think the previous book was my favorite of the series this is still a five star read. So far each book has been a self contained story tha
Charlie George
Oct 29, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Charlie by: Grace Kessler
I am a huge fan of the Death Gate Cycle septet. Dragon Wing (book 1) is epic, Elven Star is still 5 stars, and Fire Sea is really good (4 stars). However, Serpent Mage (book 4) was disappointing on the second read. Weis and Hickman pretty much phoned this one in. Nothing of any gravity happened until page 370 of 400. I don't know what possessed them to draw out the meanderings of the uninteresting mortal characters for so long with so little action.

We do learn a great deal about the Sundering, t
May 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-edit
Well Serpent Mage managed to jump Weis and Hickman back on track after the slightly average performance of Fire Sea. Despite the lack of interaction between Alfred and Haplo, the development of both characters in this book really set the scene for an interesting conclusion coming up in a couple of books.

In Serpent Mage both Haplo and Alfred land in Chelestra, the land of sea. Haplo meets the mensch and the sinister dragon-serpents, whilst Alfred unwittingly awakens the original Sartan from the S
[Name Redacted]
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie Carr
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

Yes, keyboard smashing because that's a rude cliffhanger ish of an ending. What's up with the dog? What's up with Alfred? What's up with those sea dragons???? What's going to happen to Haplo now?! Ahhhhhhhhh!
Adrie Schutte
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Multi-dimensional story thats getting beter as the cycle continues!!
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yaaaaay what a ride!!

This book, more so than the others in the series, was a 'bridge' book, versus one that could stand on its own as a complete story. But it is SOOOOO deliciously compelling. This one also clarified some questions I had after finishing the last (specifically what Jonathan's revelation was in that secret chamber). I had to exert all my self-control and will to enter this review (and the one for book 3!) before hurtling ahead in this series. I'm glad I still have three more to g
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
Oct 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This fourth book in the series is the first one to have a weaker hold
on my interest. Once again, though, a very unique world is created. Having said that, I had a real hard time visualizing the durnai with respect to where the living areas were in relation to the water and mountains. This even after the illustrations of cross sections and the descriptions in the Appendix.

The story with respct to the characters of Chelstra wasn't all that captivating, but there are revelations to be had in how th
Fantasy Literature
Serpent Mage, book four of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's DEATH GATE CYCLE, is not as good as its immediate predecessor but also manages to be significantly superior to the first two installments in the series. For the most part, the focus on Alfred and Haplo continues to be a good move and the tension is certainly ratcheting up as we get closer to the endgame, but on the other hand this one just didn't feel as tightly constructed as the more gripping Fire Sea.

Following our cliffhanger ending
Sara Forsberg
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The deeper entrenched into this story I get, the more impressed I become with how the authors have managed to create such a fantastic tale. With every book it gets more and more complicated while still never losing sight of the few, basic, simple themes at its core. This book is just as fantastic as the previous 3, and anyone who likes a great story with amazingly complex characters needs to read this series.
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The series definitely reached its highest point so far in this volume, for me, and I found myself drawn deeply into the story once again. The originality of this series really makes it stand out, and the amount of planning that must have gone into it is astounding. With each volume, mysteries are being revealed while more are coming to light, pushing me to keep reading just a few more pages.

This is what epic fantasy is really meant to be.
Evan Leach
The fourth entry in the Death Gate Cycle series takes us to Chelestra, a water world. Like the first three books in the series, Serpent Mage features an interesting fantasy setting and as the middle book in the saga, continues to push Haplo further towards his ultimate destiny. 3 stars.
May 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Seriously these books are getting better and better. Although I do highly recommend to anyone reading this series that they have the 5th book on hand when they finish the 4th. This book does not end as the others do, with a true ending, this is more of a cliff hanger.

Alejandra Sc
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
This one is pure magic. This book is where everything starts making sense and is the start of the sagas second and final period. Where all characters come to terms with what lies ahead. Really engaging.
jason yates
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pure awesomeness!!!

I really love this series, and I highly recommend it. I can hardly wait for the next one. So, go ahead and pick up all seven books in the bundle. I promise you, you will not be sorry you did!
Jun 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not a compelling read. The book has its good points and bad but it's not a book that'll make readers want to read more, find out more about what's going to happen with a character (except, possibly Alfred)

First, I'll start with why this book didn't feel good-
There was no story even after completing 60% of the book.
The real action begins only in the last 10% of the book
The book largely fails to catch attention of the reader because of the continuous descriptions about the mensch and thei
Nicholas Szkotak
Feb 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first read this series as a teenager, I remember this being my favorite. Rereading and being older, I'd still say I enjoy it but in all honesty, I'm probably closer to a 3.5 that the 4 I am rating this.

I really enjoy the bones of the story in this one. Unlike in the first two books, the humans, elves, and dwarves feel interesting, dynamic, and relevant to the story. It helps that the focus is still on Haplo and Alfred and the other races are used as foils to them, and are portrayed immedi
Apr 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, for a moment, it started to look like "Serpent Mage" was going to go the way of "Elven Star" with another world that the Lord of the Nexus wasn't going to have to expend any effort to swoop in and save because there wasn't gonna be anybody left, plus another round of out-of-the-blue, nonsensical (and kind of creepy) love subplots.

Like Elven Star, I was not clear on the rules of Chelestra. We're all underwater all the time except when we're not, but it doesn't matter because we can breathe ei
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, Death Gate cycle doesn't disappoint! This time, Haplo and Alfred are on Chelestra, the world of water where, surprisingly, the mensch (humans, elves and dwarves) live in harmony. But the mensch aren't the only inhabitants of this world – Sartan are also awakened from their deep slumber, and another, more sinister and devastating power.

Some questions are answered, but for each answer we get, another question pops up. The world and the story are magnificently crafted and it seems that
Geoff Battle
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After a somewhat lacklustre third entry, Weis and Hickman play to their strengths in 'Serpent Mage'. All the requisites of high fantasy are included, with elves, dwarves and magic vs. science. These factors are cleverly blended with the strong Death Gate scenario, brimming with originality and ideas. The setting does not overshadow the plot, with less premable and backstory than previous entries - Haplo's journey is central to the action and mayhem. Good characterisation and clever use of narrat ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series definitely has to be read in order to make any sense of anything going on. The plot seems to be thickening, with a few more questions answered. Haplo seems to be growing in to his own person, Alfred is becoming clearer as a character, with the appearance of the original council of Sartans, and then there's the Dog. The series starts out with the good Sartans, the bad Patryns, and the mensch that war among themselves unaware of these magical godlike beings. However the reader gets a t ...more
Nicole Mosley
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This installment of the death gate cycle had some heavy and fantastic character development for both Alfred and Haplo. Chelestra, the world of water, is fascinatingly built and thought up, what I expect from Hickman and Weis. Alfred unites with his people as he has desired but does he desire it? Haplo is near his goal of stirring destruction in all four worlds but is there an even greater enemy in the four realms? Is the One something they can believe in? Can a Patryn and a Sartan be allies? Thi ...more
The covers have all made decent sense up until now. The cover for this one does not represent a scene that actually happens in the book. Anyway, I love this series.
Based on prior information, I am appalled at how Samah acts. Every decision he makes is horrendous, and he should be ashamed.
I liked Grundle, I think she is my favorite Dwarf ever, right now. I was surprised to be neutral about Devon. I'm usually drawn to the Elf characters in any book.
I loved the parts where the book covered racial
Feb 16, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book 4 down...and what do I make of it.

I have got mixed feelings on this one. What surprised me is that the way the book was written is different (again) from the previous books. The book starts in the 'tradional' way with Haplo and Alfred. But next we follow the story as told by one of the dwarves, a character in the main story that follows the intro part.

The overall story line was okay and enjoyable to read, yet somehow I felt that something was lacking. At the end of the story you are left wi
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
James Kinsley
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here we go, into the meat of the thing. Not only the point where I'm less familiar with the story (having read the whole cycle only once, but the first three books several times), but also Haplo's journey to the fourth and last of the sundered worlds. From here on in, we're in endgame territory. Haplo and Alfred's relationship shifts again, we get more of a sense of there being more to this world than the Patryn/Sartan showdown, there's some great characters (who doesn't love Grundle?) and there ...more
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um, hilarious classic fantasy novels. The plot and story lines are fun to read, but are pretty simple. I love how the worlds are painted and the environment is depicted. The writing is well, and I think there is ok character development. I’ve noticed that some early works of Weis and Hickman in regards to character development kind of lack that realism. I’ve noticed the characters responses to each other or their environment is kind of off, but it’s not anything for me to effect my enjoyment too ...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)
  • Dragon Wing (The Death Gate Cycle, #1)
  • Elven Star (The Death Gate Cycle, #2)
  • Fire Sea (The Death Gate Cycle, #3)
  • The Hand of Chaos (The Death Gate Cycle, #5)
  • Into the Labyrinth (The Death Gate Cycle, #6)
  • The Seventh Gate (The Death Gate Cycle, #7)

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61 likes · 20 comments
“Haplo: ‘single, alone.’ That is your name and your destiny,” said his father, his finger rough and hard on Haplo’s chest. “Your mother and I have defeated the odds thrown for us already. Every Gate we pass from now on is a wink at fate. But the time will come when the Labyrinth will claim us, as it claims all except the lucky and the strong. And the lucky and the strong are generally the lonely. Repeat your name.” 1 likes
“Being around humans over a long period of time taught me to understand that their impatience and ambition and their constant need for hurry, hurry, hurry is just their way of attempting to outrace their own mortality.” 0 likes
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