I think that Thomas picked the first book of this series, Dragon Wing, maybe even at the same trip to Bookstop where I got my copy of The Eye of the World. It was at about the same time, I know. It was all part of the fun of not having a main antenna at our apartment complex and not being able to afford cable. We did a lot of reading.
The Death Gate Cycle is fantasy set in the far future of humanity. Humanity has destroyed itself in some kind of global cataclysm (most likely nuclear war) and the elves and dwarves emerged from wherever they’d been hiding for the last hundreds or thousands of years. Soon two groups of humans came to light who were able to control magic (they call it the “Wave,”) and these two groups get into a huge war.
Eventually, one set of wizards, known as the Sartan, take it upon themselves to break the world up into four separate worlds, based on the four classical elements — in the order we encounter them in the series, air, fire, earth, and water. There is a fifth area where the Sartan have the other wizardly race, the Patryn, contained. This is called the Labyrinth.
Our antihero is a Patryn named Haplo who was sent into the other four worlds by a Patryn known only to us as his master for a long time. Haplo’s goal is to foment chaos so that his master can take control of all of the worlds. We explore these worlds with Haplo and see how he grows as he learns more of the four worlds that the Sartan created.