Ossus Library Index
Fantasy Index


A novel by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
(1986, TSR Fantasy)

Dragonlance Legends, book 1

The cleric Crysania attempts to turn Raistlin away from evil, following him into the past as he attempts to obtain more power, while Caramon tries to bring his brother home.


-- 3rd reading (paperback)
July 10th to 25th, 2020


The authors hit their stride after the War of the Lance, as this book begins an awesome trilogy that takes the best characters and puts them in situations where they will need to grow to survive. Raistlin shines here, thinking he knows exactly what has to be done, but falls victim to the compassion he thought he’d banished, and some other human failings. Caramon starts from a rough place, but gets better as he gets more independent. Tas always steals the show, though, with the unique kender way of thinking, and the hilarious way his scenes are written. Even Crysania, who is almost intolerable at the start, begins to crack. The authors have done a great job with this book.

Spoiler review:

There is a very real downside to this book, and that’s the beginning, with the revisit of the old characters, the ones that don’t have anything to do with the time traveling. I was never a fan of Tanis, and he takes up a lot of time here. The meeting in the Inn is awkward before Caramon shows up. Afterwards, it’s funny, especially when Tas arrives and wants to throw armor at the man in his bedroom. However, this is a bit of setup for the end of the third book, as I recall. A surprising amount of this book takes place in the present, after the war of the Lance. It’s important to see Caramon as the wasted, lazy, depressed man who has hit rock-bottom. It’s Tas who helps get him out on the road after Crysania, to help escort her on her journey to the Tower of Sorcery.

Crysania is a pompous woman who believes she has such faith that her god Paladine will grant her anything. It seems that she’s right, based on what happens in the rest of the series. She longs for a grand task to prove her faith, and Raistlin gives her this opportunity. While Raistlin plays on her vulnerability, he forms an unintended connection, one that is only explored once they go back into the past. Raistlin plans to gain the knowledge of the most powerful wizard ever to have lived, Fistandantilus, so he can open the portal to the underworld, and challenge the gods –to become a god himself. Crysania is sent back in time because Lord Soth, under orders from Kitiria, kills her, but Paladine takes her soul before that happens, and the wizards of this time don’t know how to rejoin her. They send her back to the time of the Kingpriest of Istar, who has the power to do this.

The Tower of Wayreth shows the fear the wizards have towards Raistlin. Dalamar, a dark elf and Raistlin’s apprentice, shows up and warns them, but they do what Raistlin wants them to, anyway. Why? Sending Crysania back is one thing, a compassionate act if the Cataclysm wasn’t going to kill her within a couple of months. But sending Caramon back is a strange thing; they must know that Caramon can’t kill Fistandantilus, as he suggests. What is their purpose?

Tasslehoff, who has brought the gully dwarf Bupu to testify on Raistlin’s behalf, fears to be left alone, and to leave Caramon in his current state, so after accidentally changing into a mouse with a magic ring, runs into the magical spell at the last second, joining them back in time. Tas is hilarious, even as a guest of the tower. The kender point of view is truly refreshing, and is always funny. The big point here is that sending a kender back in time is forbidden, because they can change time. I liked the way the three gods created the three races, elves, humans and ogres, and I recall reading a story of how the father of the gods created kender and gnomes with his magic stone by accident -or because he was drunk. Due to this difference, the accidental races are not part of the normal flow of time. Tas will provide the ability to change time in the later books.

They are all sent to Istar, in the months before the Cataclysm. It shows the state of the world, an accentuation of what Raistlin showed Crysania back in Palanthas, where kids can go hungry just outside the temples that purport to care about all people. In Istar, they are concerned more with maintaining order and the power that gives them, instead of caring for the people. They think, in a theme that is not unique to this story, that creating order will create peace. The Kingpriest himself intends to demand that Paladine give him the power to eradicate evil once and for all. But even Fizban realized that they need to maintain the balance of the world between the three gods, as he explained to Tas at the end of Dragons of Spring Dawning.

Caramon and Tasslehoff are arrested for being drunk and disorderly, a setup by the dark wizard. It turns out that Raistlin, who has killed Fistandantilus, wants Caramon in good shape, though based on what I see here, I don’t see why he needs him. However, Caramon takes to the slave-driven gladiatorial ring with relish, as he takes command, or and makes friends, gets in terrific shape, and even becomes independent of his brother. He’s bad at acting, so they don’t try to have him pretend to lose. He fights his way to become the crowd favorite, but the final match is set to be fought the day of the Cataclysm. There is treachery in the ring, of course, as slaves are used as payback, sometimes using real weapons instead of the fake ones promised. I don’t know how Caramon can be surprised, as he should be testing his collapsible sword before every match. The poison trident is a different story, of course. The final battle, before Caramon goes in search of his brother, was amazingly described.

Tasslehoff, being a kender, doesn’t have any problem getting around, even though he’s supposed to be confined to the ring. I don’t understand the map that starts this section of the book, however, as at no time does Tas ever leave Istar. If he does, during those two months, I have trouble believing he made it all around Ansalon. Tasslehoff is easily, once again, the funniest part of this book, and counters the very serious nature of Caramon’s situation and Raistlin’s continued treachery.

Raistlin, on the other hand, encounters something he never expected -love. Whenever Crysania is around, he feels the physical desire and emotional love, probably because she’s the only woman who has ever loved him. She would easily give herself to him, as she is drawn to him, but it’s unclear why, exactly. Maybe it’s his honesty, because even as he lies, there is always an undercurrent of truth to what he says.

In the end, though, it doesn’t matter, as he always comes back to his original purpose: learn from Fistandantilus, return to the Portal and challenge the gods. He rejects Crysania’s overtures, his own physical desires, and betrays Caramon, having Tasslehoff destroy the time travel device, and leaving Istar just as the fiery mountain smotes it into the ground. Poor Tas is left buried in the basement of the temple, protected by Raistlin’s lab, at least for the moment.


-- 2nd reading (paperback)
June 23rd to July 1st, 1998


This story is much more exciting than the War of the Lance, quite different than I remember it being!  I loved the story, with the last days before the Cataclysm and the gladiators.  I don't remember all of this! Tasslehoff added some uncertainty into the equations, all right!


-- First reading (paperback)
July 22nd to 27th, 1988


No review available.


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