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The Door into Fire (Volume One of Tale of the Five) Paperback – 1 Jan 1991

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Paperback, 1 Jan 1991

Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; New edition edition (1 Jan. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552136611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552136617
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 10.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,153,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Herewiss, Prince of the Brightwood, is the only man in centuries to possess the Power of the Flame, but he cannot use or control it - not even to help his dearest friend, Freelorn. But he does have a talent for sorcery, and he is able to rout the armies besieging Freelorn.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback
I first got this book in 1990, and I did'nt know anything about the author at all. I think I actually fell for the cover art... But I did NOT regret my purchase, as I could not put it down. As for the story, it is very well written and the characters is likable... The plot is well thought out, and keeps moving without stagnating. Especially Prince Herewiss (the main character) is well described, you can almost feel his obsession to tap into the Flame he can feel within that will make him a sorcerer. Segnbora, his love, and Freelorn, an exiled friend, are also engaging and well described and most of all - human! Thay all must battle the Shadow (within and without), the ultimate evil who threatens their world. Their battle takes them on various journeys that involves doors into other worlds, a temperamental fire-elemental and dragons. This is really a story about frendship, loyalty and love and how we, if we stay true, can triumph over fear, hate, prejudice and downright evil. Truly enjoyable and very, very good!...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 14 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
In Quest of a Focus 22 Aug. 2003
By Arthur W. Jordin - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Door Into Fire (1979) is the first novel in the Tale of Five series. Herewiss is the heir to the Brightwood, a principality within the Kingdom of Darthen. Herewiss has the potential to be the first male in centuries to use the Power of the Flame; the fire is within him, but cannot be expressed in any meaningful way without a Focus.

While training with the Rodmistresses, he has tried various forms of Rods as his Focus, but they all burst. Then he tried swords of wood, ivory and bone, but they all burst. Finally, he tries to imbue steel swords with a form of pseudolife, but even they all burst.

In this novel, Herewiss is working on yet another steel sword in the smithy that he has constructed in his bedroom when he receives a message via pigeon that Freelorn, his loved, and his small band have been trapped by a thousand or more armed men in an old keep south of Madeil. Freelorn wants him to come and use his sorcery to save them once again. After getting permission from Hearn, his father and Lord of Brightwater, Herewiss leaves to rescue Freelorn. He rides out on Dapple, who has been blessed with the talent of being at the right place at the right time, but finds another mount at a wayside shelter during a torrential thunderstorm.

Sunspark is a fire elemental in the form of a red horse with a golden mane. Since it is newly come to the planet, Sunspark spends too much time absorbing the energy from a brush fire and the rainstorm catches it away from shelter. The water is gradually eating away its energy, but it hears Herewiss calling and almost reaches the shelter before it is unable to move anymore. However, Herewiss and Dapple carry and drag it out of the rain, where it soon recovers.

This novel is a tale of adventure and character development. Both Herewiss and Freelorn mature during this novel. Segnbora, another one frustrated by an almost inexpressible Flame, exhibits some changes that might blossom later in this series. However, the major changes occur in Sunspark, the energy being who knows nothing about humanity but is very curious.

This novel expresses a philosophy of Life that underlies every aspect of the story: the only way to cheat death is to maximize Life and Love in all its forms. When he has his epiphany, Herewiss finds that he is just a small part of the Life that permeates the Universe. This worldview also underlies the Young Wizards series.

This novel incorporates a variant of the Triple Goddess religion as the major spiritual influence; in fact, the Mother and the Maiden play a significant part in the story. This religion promotes various forms of sexual experiences, of which heterosexual sex is special only in that it produces offspring. The Goddess herself has Twin Lovers, her own children by parthenogenesis, who are originally both male, but who die and return, sometimes as male and sometimes as female.

Other aspects of the story show a definite Irish influence, but one that antecedes the Celtic infusion. The Fyrd, the aboriginal fauna in the Middle Kingdoms, include horwolves, nadders, and keplians. However, there were no Sidhe nor any other sentients occupying the land prior to the coming of the humans.

This series is being republished after being long out of print. The Door Into Fire and The Door Into Shadow were issued as an omnibus edition in 2002 (see The Sword and the Dragon) and the other two (including the hereto unpublished The Door Into Starlight) are scheduled to be released in 2004 (or later).

Highly recommended for Duane fans and anyone else who enjoys tales of sword and sorcery with some serious character development.

-Arthur W. Jordin
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful world and characters, uniquely spiritual 28 May 1998
By Cory Kerens - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When this book first opens, it seems like it will be standard sword-and-sorcery -- heros, villans, quests, and magic. But the deeper one gets into the book, the clearer it becomes that this is something special. Imagine a world in which the deity is not a matter of faith but of fact, because everyone has met her. Imagine a world in which who one loves is not important, as long as one does love. Imagine as hero not the usual charming but amoral rogue but a thoroughly decent, kind and generous man. Imagine a book that teaches us that our own fears are the biggest obstacles of life and that overcoming our pasts and accepting our true selves are the truest victories. Except that you don't have to imagine all of this, because Diane Duane has already done it for you.
I've bought a dozen copies of this book, and I press it on friends at every opportunity.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The Best Fantasy Novel I've Ever Read 14 Jun. 2001
By Julia Martin - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel is one that I've read and reread in both the editions I have -- the original paperback and the Bluejay books edition. It is a story of enduring love, the triumph of love over fear and hate, and most of all, the best truly different fantasy world I've ever seen made up. It is culturally, historically, and religiously different without being dry, like some science-fiction books that try to portray another really different culture get.
It's main character is Herewiss, a man who has the potential to wield great magic but cannot break through to connect with it and manifest his magic. He joins forces with Freelorn, the exiled heir of a neighboring kingdom and his lifelong love, Segnbora, a mysterious troubled woman, and some of Freelorn's faithful friends (Harald, Moris, and Dritt) in an adventure that leads them to the edges of their world, and involves door into other worlds and the mastering of a fire elemental whose favored form is that of a horse!
The next two books in the series are The Door into Shadow and The Door into Sunset. At last, I hear news that Ms. Duane has written the fourth (The Door into Twilight) that I have hounded the bookstores about now for years, diligently searching in the "Du" section of fantasy and science fiction with every trip.
For those who really love the world of the Middle Kingdoms, there's a little-known short story by Diane Duane published in Flashing Swords! #5: Demons and Daggers (edited by Lin Carter, Nelson Doubleday 1981) called "Parting Gifts." It is about an older rodmistress, the Shadow, an young swashbuckler, and a kitten. It features a wild hunt and facing down the Shadow in his lair. I cry whenever I finish it. If you can find it, read it and add it to your knowledge of the world setting.
I've used Ms. Duane's Middle Kingdoms setting as the basis for my personal D&D campaign for years now. Sure, my campaign is by no means her books, but she provided such a rich tapestry (and map!) that I didn't have to go far to have a solid foundation for a whole world.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The Best First-Novel Ever! 8 April 1998
By - Published on
Format: Paperback
"Door into Fire" is one of the best first-novels I've come across--and there have been many since the time I picked up a battered copy at a used-bookstore many years ago. Just reading David Gerrold's "Overture" introducing the book was a treat. He lets you know that this novel is uniquely special. Diane Duane conjures up a believable world that is a little brighter--and better-- than ours, complete with a Goddess who appears in different guises (when you least expect), impossible (or are they?)quests, enduring love, and plenty of magical derring-do. Above all, this book has its heart and soul in the right place--you care deeply about each character throughout the series in their search of self, and you yearn to visit time and again the realm of the Middle Kingdoms. To my delight, she has long since turned the story into a series. Ms. Duane, if you're out there, I hope you will decide write the fourth book someday. I will be looking forward to it!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Door Into Thoughts; a Door Into Dreams 4 Dec. 2000
By Amanda M. Hayes - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
By a stroke of extreme good fortune that I did not even appreciate at the time, my mother picked all three books of this trilogy up for me on a whim just before they went entirely out of print. Having learned to be wary of Mom's book choices, I wasn't at all certain that I would enjoy them, but I dutifully picked up _Door Into Fire_ and started reading. What a benediction to my mind this chance gift has been!

It's worth noting that on first read, this book is confusing; Duane has succeeded in making a society that's truly *different* from our own, and the rules may occasionally surprise. However, persevere! This is a tale of spirituality, romance, magic, loyalty, sacrifice, and power, all the things that a fantasy series must have these days--and all of them done *well*. The portrayals of sorcery and religion are new twists on older ideas, making them at once familiar and startlingly new. And Herewiss's explorations into his soul and those of his companions give plenty of food for thought--what would we see, if we had the ability to look into our own that way?

If you can find this book, *buy it*. There is so much that is appealing about it that surely everyone will find something worthwhile between its covers; if all else fails, it's a spirited, intriguing story, and one which will linger in the memory.
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