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This hefty debut from the late Gordon (1944-2005) and his son-in-law Scott launches a sprawling fantasy trilogy with touches of effective horror. After a lengthy setup, timid bank manager Steven Taylor, athletic history teacher Mark Jenkins and law student Hannah Sorenson fall through a magical tapestry into a politically complex world under the dominion of body-hopping demonic sorcerer Nerak. Several independent subplots and an unwieldy supporting cast slowly draw together as Steven discovers his budding magical powers, Mark finds romance with a fierce resistance fighter and Hannah seeks a way home. Though somewhat unfocused in their plotting and often rehashing standard fantasy elements, Scott and Gordon keep the story moving entertainingly to the end, less a conclusion than a pause before the simultaneously released sequel. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.