It was early 1993. I picked up a free sample of this book at our university book store and promptly forgot about it (finals). I dug it up later and read it. The free sample ended just as things started to get interesting, so I went to a library and borrowed a full book. Little did I suspect of what I stumble into.
The most developed world of any fantasy books (OK, except Tolkien's Middle Earth). The most complex plot of any fantasy - bar none. A very long journey. This is a beginning of this journey (not THE beginning, according to prolog). Whoever reads this review and finds the beginning of this book to be too slow - stick with it until the party splits; I will not give you details to avoid spoilers, but this is where the pacing of plot really picks up. BTW, for people who have not read the books: I envy you, as if you do, you will embark on a wonderful journey.