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I'm looking for the name of a book (series?) I read in the 80's. It was a fantasy-magic world split into different elemental worlds.

The main character spoke about being raised in some sort of labyrinth and had tattoos, which may have been to cast power spells.

I know it's not much, but I remembered parts of the book while I was deployed in 1990.

marked as duplicate by FuzzyBoots story-identification Nov 20 '17 at 5:03

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This is almost undoubtedly the Death Gate Cycle series, seven books published between 1990 and 1994, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. The story opens with Haplo escaping the Labyrinth, described as a "rehabilitation center" for the Patryn race built by the Sartan, except that the keepers apparently have disappeared and the Labyrinth took on a life of its own, becoming a fatal death trap that was nearly impossible to escape.

Near the beginning, Haplo casts a spell to render his airship casually non-observable (noting that invisibility was impossible for magic, but you could decrease the odds that anyone not specifically looking for something would notice it). Magic in this world was accomplished by several ways, including tattoos, which were a type of permanent magic capable of harnessing a lot of power, although other forms, such as by voice or drawing of runes was also possible for shorter, less powerful spells.

There are five major areas in this series, the Labyrinth as well as four elemental worlds, air, earth, fire, and water. Haplo's journey started in the Air world, and the story continues through the other realms as well. In addition to the Sartan and the Patryn, there are also the three "lesser" races of humans, elves, and dwarfs. The elemental worlds used to be one entire planet, Earth, before it was torn asunder by the Sartan.

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