Once a Hero (1994)

Two intertwined storylines, one in the past concerning the adventures of a human and his fight against the evil Reithrese empire, and one in the present concerning the consequences of some of those actions from 500 years earlier.

This book looks cliched, it has arrogant elves, an evil empire full of dark elf lookalikes and other common fantasy tropes. And yet, using all these elements, Stackpole has written one of the best fantasy books I’ve ever read, enthralling all the way through. What makes this fantasy world stand apart from others created from the same mold is that it does change, technology, attitudes and customs develop during the 500 years that bridge the two storylines.

It’s easy to imagine that another 500 years down the road they have satellites in orbit. But that’s only one good reason for reading the book, there are also compelling characters, two excellent plots with twists that are obvious in hindsight but at first hard to anticipate, humor, romance, intrigue and adventure.