My oldest daughter and I went up to New Hampshire this spring and we brought along the audiobook of Time of the Twins for something to listen to during the long ride. Morwen has been reading the series for the past year or so, and has probably listened to/read more Dragonlance than I have at this point. She knows the Chronicles well, but this was her first time listening to the Legends trilogy.
I meant to post this back in June, but time got away from me as it does, and here it is August and I’m finally getting this re-read online. I asked Morwen to write out a synopsis of the story and she did a great job of hitting the finer points of the book. So, here goes…
Time of the Twins (Dragonlance Legends, Book 1)
Publication Year: 1986
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
This book is set several years after the events of Dragons of Spring Dawning. Raistlin has been living in the Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas, scaring the heck out of the residents of that fine city. Lady Crysania, a cleric of Paladine, meets with everyone’s favorite black robed mage at the library in Palanthas. She feels that it’s her mission to bring Raist back into the light, which is a mission that is clearly doomed to failure. After some creepy talk between these two extremes of good and evil, Crysania develops a ridiculous plan to save Raistlin. She sends Tasslehoff Burrfoot to Xak Tsaroth to locate Bupu, the gully dwarf Raistlin befriended in Dragons of Autumn Twilight. She then heads to Solace to meet Riverwind, Tanis Half-Elven and Caramon in hopes that one of them will take her to the Tower of High Sorcery at Wayreth.
In Solace we get a glimpse of what the other Heroes of the Lance have been up to since the end of the last book. My daughter was disappointed that the band didn’t get back together at this point, but I like the idea of allowing some of the characters to live out the rest of their lives without automatically getting into an adventure just because one of their friends is in trouble. Anyway, we learn that Tanis and Laurana are doing political elven stuff and are too busy to go on this adventure. Riverwind and Goldmoon are living the dream out on the plains, and Caramon is a fat slob who makes Tika’s life miserable. Disgusted, Crysania abandons the Heroes of the Lance and heads off toward Wayreth on her own.
Tika has had about enough of her worthless husband, so she sends Caramon and the recently arrived Tas and Bupu after Crysania. They all meet up, Crysania is attacked by Lord Soth (sent by Kitiara) and is badly injured. She would have died, but Paladine takes her soul to him, leaving her body an empty shell. About this time the forest of Wayreth finds them and the heroes are taken in by the wizards. Lots of talk by Par-Salian, head of the conclave, and we finally learn what this book is actually about. Raistlin wants to go back in time to kill Fistandantilus and then challenge Queen Takhisis and take her place as a god. Yes, Raistlin wants to be a god, and he figures the way to do that is by killing a god. He’s basically a klingon.
Par-salian does some hocus pocus to send Caramon and Crysania back in time to the time of the Cataclysm, to the only clerics in history with the power to restore her soul to her body. Of course, he has no intention of sending Tas back in time because that would be foolish. Tas, on the other hand, steals a magic ring, turns himself into a mouse, and jumps into the spell at the last minute. Everyone is going back to Istar. Except Bupu. Par-salian sends her back to her people and her entire subplot is basically a waste of time.
Caramon, Tas, and Crysania arrive in Istar 300 year in the past and just a few weeks before the gods are going to drop a fiery mountain on the world because the Kingpriest is such an asshat. Caramon is arrested because the clerics in the past think he assaulted Crysania. Tas is arrested as well for being a kender, and Crysania is restored. We also get our first glimpse of Fistandantilus, who is actually Raistlin. He orchestrates his brother and Tas being sold to the Games of Istar, which is half-gladiator/half-pro wrestling event with staged combat that occasionally goes wrong. Caramon gets back in shape, all the while wanting to kill Fistandantilus, not knowing that Raist already beat him to it.
The climax of the story is a Royal Rumble in the Games, where a bunch of gladiators are killed for real and Caramon and Tas escape. They go to kill Raist, whom they realize set up the deaths in the arena. But before this can happen the Cataclysm strikes. The end.
I love this book. Weis and Hickman had really hit their stride by the time they wrote it, and it doesn’t suffer from the clunkiness of the Chronicles trilogy. It’s a little slow in the beginning, but it picks up and never lets up after that. It’s a classic Dragonlance novel, and I give this story a solid A. The audiobook reader, however, was terrible. He pronounced Tas as “Toss” and that was not acceptable. I asked my friend Alistair Foley and he told me that the audiobook only gets 2 stars, and that’s because the great story manages to shine in spite of the lackluster narration.