Dragons of Autumn Twilight – The Old Man

As a kid, and now as an adult I find reading to be a great way to relax and unwind. It helps me escape the daily grind and reduce stress.

I decided to dive deep into the DragonLance series starting at the very beginning with Dragons of Autumn Twilight, the first book to ever be published in this series.

For me the reason this series really sticks out in my mind as one of the best fantasy series ever is the work of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Some authors world build with pages of description, that almost reads like an instruction manual.

These authors world build by action. You do learn about the world but by some action taking place, the description offered is necessary to understand that action. Both methods are valid in writing, but I prefer this version, for me is makes it more of a page-turner. I have tried to use that methodology in the novels I have written, to what degree of success I will leave up to the readers.

The featured image at the top is my personal, very old copy of the book.

The novel is divided into three books or acts all under a single cover. It has a preface of sorts called The Old Man.

The story opens with Tika Waylan seen smiling away, a pivotal character in the story, working away at The Inn of the Last Home.

The Inn of the Last Home as we see it is a restaurant and bar. We learn that it is old, and we also learn that the world and the Inn have seen better days, that it pre-dates something called The Cataclysm (way more on that in later posts).

There is some explanation of the craftsmanship of the Inn but only because it is relevant. The Inn was designed to look like it was just an outgrowth of the surrounding natural setting, and elevated in a tree. It says a lot about the local population, that they are concerned with being in tune with nature, and their surroundings. Thereby worldbuilding for us, quickly, and in an entertaining way.

There is a conversation taking place as Tika cleans and Otik (the owner of the Inn) prepares for the day. As these two talk we learn that the local population is tense, that people are being taken away never to return. Throughout this conversation, we learn there could be a war brewing. I find this interesting personally because before the Internet, TV, Radio, and other forms of modern communication, the best news available was, of course, asking around at the local pub! Maybe we should go back to that just a little? Ok, maybe not, but a guy can dream!

Without warning the door opens, which is strange because normally they would hear someone on the stairs. There is an old man at the door, and he becomes very important to the story later, and his absentmindedness is always entertaining. If he could just remember to never cast a fireball in a small room.

The old man, through his actions, foreshadows a lot of things to come. he is setting up for a large group to meet at the Inn that night, including a chair set aside in a shadowy corner but won’t explain much other than to tell Tika that something big is about to happen, something that will change the world as they know it.

This preface is unlike others I have read. The emotion leaps off the page. I want to be a customer at the Inn, I want Tika to ask me what I want to drink, and most of all, I want an ale at one of those tables!

Book 1, Chapter 1 will be up soon, It is Where Old Friends Meet.

The Death Gate Cycle – Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

The Death Gate Cycle is a series from the masters of modern Fantasy Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. It is a seven book series containing the following titles:

  • Dragon Wing
  • Elven Star
  • Fire Sea
  • Serpent Mage
  • The Hand of Chaos
  • Into the Labryinth
  • The Seventh Gate


Many books in the fantasy genre are written in some distant past and commonly in some fictional world other than Earth. The Death Gate Cycle is a different story. It is written in the future after some nuclear war nearly destroyed the planet. Yes this planet has elves and dragons.

It is a fictional world, but it is the one we know. It has however been divided into four different realms, that of fire, water, sky and stone. Not everyone is aware of all four realms, that is held to a select few who have survived the dreaded Labyrinth.

Like all the books I have ever read by this duo it sucks you in. It is well written, the characters come to life, if you pick up one you will want to read all seven. Yes, they are from the early 90s but they hold up perfectly. The emotion leaps off the page, and everyone who reads it will find a character to identify with. We all have our favorites, admit it!

I highly recommend this series, and anything at all by these two authors. As an author and avid reader myself I see the genius in their work. As an added bonus if you order them from Margaret Weis’ website, they will come to your house autographed. I have all seven on my shelf! You will not be upset if you put a set on yours.