Destruction looms over the dwarves, men and elves of Pryan, the World of Fire, in this second volume of The Death Gate cycle, begun in Dragon Wing . Childlike but immensely powerful, eyeless tytanssp.ok move through the three societies, killing all in their path. Elven arms dealer Paithan Quindiniar, arriving too late with weapons for the dwarves, flees to warn his people, accompanied by Rega, the human woman he warily loves against all convention, and other survivors. Meanwhile, arriving among the elves are Zifnab, a human and slightly addled wizard with an attendant dragon, and Haplo, an agent of the Lord of the Nexus, member of an ancient race that seeks to regain lost power over the four worlds created by the long vanished Sartan. A race for survival ensues. The authors deploy colorful characters in an intricate plot line and universe as the story slowly develops in what is intended to be a seven-volume saga. The atmosphere is often diluted by jarring touches, however, especially references to and jokes about our current world. (Oct.)
Pryan, the Realm of Fire, holds an important secret for Haplo, the servant of an ancient race bent on revenge. Bearing with him the seeds of Pryan's destruction, Haplo discovers that much of his work has already been done by the incessant warring among the dwarves, elves, and humans of an unhappily divided world. Weis and Hickman continue to exercise their unlimited ability to create intriguing fantasy backgrounds filled with colorful personalities in this stand-alone sequel to Dragon Wing ( LJ 12/89). Purchase where the authors are popular or fantasy has a strong following.