Into the Labyrinth (novel)
|Author||Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman|
|Series||The Death Gate Cycle|
|Media type||Print (Paperback|
|Pages||496 pp (paperback)|
|Preceded by||The Hand of Chaos|
|Followed by||The Seventh Gate|
On Abarrach, Xar is attempting to learn the secret of necromancy, but he needs a corpse to test it on. He interrogates the lazar Kleitus about the location of any living Sartan, and Kleitus reveals that Haplo lied to Xar about all the Sartan dying at the hands of the dead; Balthazar and his group remain living.
It is revealed during Xar's stay that Zifnab is actually one of the dissenting Sartan who refused to go along with Samah's plan; he was among the mensch on Earth during the Sundering, and was the first of either race to escape the Labyrinth. It was he who penned many of the books Xar educated himself with. (With all that Zifnab has seen, his total dementia seems a bit more understandable.) Xar decides to leave Pryan in a ship he spotted outside the citadel, covered in Sartan runes, but to do that he needs to get past the tytans. He decides to need to kill off the mensch and revive them with necromancy to serve as distractions.
The mensch are having their own problems. Paithan is obsessed with a room in the center of the citadel that he calls the Star Chamber, a room with seven huge seats and an apparatus that generates blinding light. Roland and Aleatha are mostly not on speaking terms; the elf maiden finds herself spending more time with Drugar, who may be the last of his race. But Drugar has discovered a delightful illusion: at a certain clearing in the garden maze, at certain times of the day, he can see ghostly shadows of people from all the mensch races, walking around and talking to each other.
Xar recovers from his battle with the dragon, and prepares to leave for the Labyrinth after Marit reports back to him— apparently corrupted by Haplo's influence into thinking Xar has made a mistake in allying with the dragon-snakes, as she says they are planning an attack. He is surprised when the tytans don't kill the mensch, and actually act to protect the mensch from him, but he avoids a fight by snatching Drugar's amulet from Aleatha and running away with it. The amulet will gain him entry into the Sartan ship, which he can then use to return to the Labyrinth.
At Abri, the battle between Patryns and Labyrinth creatures rages fiercely, but the real threat comes from the dragon-snakes. Haplo, Marit, and Hugh lead a sortie to deal with them, and the three battle Sang-drax in his serpent form. Sang-drax is apparently killed by Haplo, but Haplo has been badly injured and almost crushed beneath the massive body. Marit is attacked by a wolfen when a green and golden dragon carries it away: Alfred, having made his choice to accept his power. He lifts the serpent's body off of Haplo, leaving Marit to hold his blood-soaked form, his heart-rune's wound having reopened. But while Alfred is distracted in battle with the dragon-snakes, Xar appears. He wants Haplo's knowledge of the Chamber of the Damned, and will stop at nothing to get it. The battle ends with the Labyrinth's armies driven off, but Marit dazed and wounded, Haplo abducted by Xar, and Alfred missing in action.