A Hero Born (1997)

Backcover Synopsis: An apprentice swordsman, Locke has ridden the narrow trail to the City of the Sorcerers to see with his own eyes the Ward Walls that hold back the realms of Chaos. It is Locke’s dream to become a Chaos Rider, and seek his destiny beyond the Wall. It is Locke’s hope that somewhere, in the wildness where time and change rage out of control, his lost father still survives. But more than just survival is at stake. For on the other side of the Wall awaits a Darkness beyond all ken – and evil inchoate that will test the steel of one young hero and, indeed, all of that bold and foolish race called humankind.

Good book, a likable main character, an intriguing world and Stackpole’s good writing made it a well rounded and enjoyable experience. I would have liked to see more interaction between the main character and the companions with whom he entered the Chaos Realm later, and would have liked to learn a little more about their individual histories. This is one of the few books where more pages would have been a good idea. The threat from the Chaos Realm didn’t worked as well, but the book had one thing that knocked me out, a plot twist I hadn’t seen coming, but was so obvious in hindsight. Absolutely brilliant. I wanted to read the book all over again, just to see how knowing the plot twist would change my perception of those characters (who also knew all along what was going on).

addendum (2009)
Reading over your own, old entries can be an interesting experience, because sometimes your mind does strange things with your memory. I still remember the kick-ass ending of the book and the typical excellent and compelling writing by Stackpole, but I also remember a feeling of dissatisfaction with the book, as if there should have been more to it than what was there, as if it could have told a bigger and more interesting story. I remember the feeling that I was expecting the story to really get kicking and then it ended, before that happened.