Imitation Tolkien on a grand but undistinguished scale. At castle Crydee on the world Midkemia, clumsy orphan Pug becomes apprentice to court wizard Kilgan. And though his spells don't work too well, he saves Duke Borric's daughter from trolls, then discovers that a nation unknown on Midkemia--the Tsurani--is mounting an invasion via a magical interdimensional hole. (These are fearsome warriors led by black-robed Great Ones, magicians vastly superior to those of Kilgan's ilk.) In battle, then, Borric's cavalry (plus assorted elves and dwarves) are outnumbered by the Tsurani infantry, so the Duke must go to beleaguered, mad King Rodric at Rillanon for help. As the invasion continues, Pug is captured and enslaved on the Tsurani world. Subplots--brisk battles, pointless journeys, YA-ish love affairs, and the impending civil war--soon dominate. But eventually Pug, befriended by a powerful Tsurani warlord, becomes a Tsurani Great One . . . until he witnesses a bloody Tsurani circus: he loses his cool, stops the show, and punishes the Tsurani war leader before fleeing back to Midkemia--where he will join with mysterious super-sorcerer Macros to close the interdimensional passage. First novelist Feist's goblins, dragons, etc. (including some rather obvious borrowings from Tolkien and Le Guin) seem to have been inserted merely as a matter of form; his earnest, energetic efforts (one or two appealing notions, some crisp action sequences) are undermined by the absence of a strong central story or theme. Chaotic, overlong sword-and-sorcery, then--with intermittent appeal to heroic-fantasy fanatics.