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|Series||The Death Gate Cycle|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Pages||432 pp (paperback edition)|
|ISBN||0-553-28639-0 (paperback edition)|
|Followed by||Elven Star|
Following the Rose of the Prophet trilogy, Weis and Hickman embarked on an ambitious seven-volume series that began with Dragon Wing. As described by the publisher, "Preeminent storytellers Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman have redefined epic fantasy. Since the publication of their Dragonlance series, millions of readers have enjoyed their imaginative world-building, rich characterization, and intricate storylines. Now these bestselling authors bring their talents to one of the most innovative fantasy creations ever in Dragon Wing, the first volume in The Death Gate Cycle."
Arianus, the World of Air, is composed entirely of porous floating islands, aligned in three basic altitudes. In the Low Realm, the dwarves (called "Gegs", an elven word for "insects") live on the continent Drevlin and cheerfully serve the giant Kicksey-winsey, a city-sized machine that is the source of all water in Arianus. In the Mid Realm, elves and humans have warred for centuries with each other and amongst themselves for water, status, and advantage. Above them all in the High Realm live the Mysteriarchs, isolationist human wizards of the Seventh House rank. They were some of the most powerful wizards of their kind, leaving fellow humans behind in their disgust for the constant warfare, but they never equalled the likes of the missing Sartan and Patryn races.
In the Realm of sky, humans, elves, and dwarves battle for control of precious water—traversing a world of airborne islands on currents of elven magic and the backs of mammoth dragons. But soon great magical forces will begin to rend the fabric of this delicate land. An assassin will be hired to kill a royal prince—by the king himself. A dwarf will challenge the beliefs of his people—and lead them in rebellion. And a sinister wizard will enact his plan to rule Arianus—a plan that may be felt far beyond the Realm of Sky and into the Death Gate itself.
- Alfred Montbank
Bane's servant, whose body is disproportionate and causes him to be embarrassingly clumsy. He appears unassuming, but has secrets of his own.
Prince of the Mid Realm, and changeling child of mysteriarch Sinistrad. He is enchanting, in every sense of the word, using his supernaturally enhanced charisma to convince even the man hired to kill him to let him live. He lives to please his father, the only person in the world who will not love him.
A loner in every sense of the word, Haplo misses little but keeps his own council. Mild and almost unassuming for most of the book, he is nonetheless driven by his mission. Haplo is a Patryn, the ancient enemy of the Sartan, and is sent by his lord to scout the worlds before the Patryn conquest his lord has planned.
- Hugh the Hand
An infamous assassin, Hugh was raised by Kir Monks after the death of his mother. His father, an aristocrat, abandoned Hugh's mother shortly after his birth. Hugh took revenge on his father after leaving the Kir Monks, sending himself down a path that would eventually lead to him becoming the most feared assassin in Arianus. Based off Maragrets friend and fellow author, Hugh Hawkins.
Limbeck's girlfriend, who must constantly deal with his absent-minded ways. She is very supportive of him despite being not-so-keen on his unusual vision.
- King Stephen
The current king of the human realm, ruler of both Volkaran and Uylandia via his marriage to Queen Anne. Though the marriage was originally for political convenience, the two have come to love one another dearly.
- Limbeck Bolttightener
A dwarf with too many questions, he is awed by much of what he sees over the course of the book. He has not lost his childlike capacity to wonder, a value that Jarre (at least) values highly. He is considerably myopic.
- Lord of the Nexus
Leader of the Patryns and the first of their race to escape the Labyrinth. It is he who learns of the existence of Death Gate and the four worlds. At this point in the series, he is also the only one of his people to return to the Labyrinth, saving the lives of his fellow people.
Leader of the mysteriarchs and true father of Bane. He has lofty ambitions to extend his power over all of the realms, and plans to do so through his son, Bane, and other unknown methods.
Literary significance and reception
Dragon Wing has been licensed and translated into many languages, including Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.