|This is the edition I read,|
and still own.
The first modules were played by a group of employees at TSR. Among that group were Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. What came of those sessions and modules was a trilogy of novels by Weis and Hickman called The Drgonlance Chronicles, and it tells the story of a group of friends who become unwitting heroes in a massive war between good and evil.
I have read that trilogy four times in my life. And the sequel trilogy, Legends, twice. I have also read several other Dragonlance trilogies and stand-alone novels, adding up to about 25 book all together. Can you tell I really like the setting?
As I have gotten older, and expanded my circles of friends, I have realized that not everyone likes Dragonlance (GASP!). In fact some people deride the Chronicles as "juvenile" and poorly-written. Well, as these things go, it's all a matter of taste. But it makes me think sometimes about why I love the trilogy so much (and am currently contemplating reading it yet again).
Obviously, nostalgia does play a part. I first read them during my senior year in high school. Up to that point the extent of my fantasy reading was limited to the 12 Lancer/Ace Conan books, and a few odd books here and there. At that point I hadn't even read any of Tolkien's books (though I loved the animated movies). But when my friends Bill and Wes gave me their copy of the trilogy, I devoured them and wanted more.
The charm of the series, for me, was initially that it was like reading a D&D campaign being played. The authors did a very good job of translating some of the counter-intuitive rules of the game (mainly about magic) into something that made sense from a literary standpoint. I have to say that, after reading those books, I felt that I finally understood the Magic-User class enough to want to actually play one on occasion.
If you enjoy Tolkien, and are willing to set aside your literary snobbery for a few moments, I think this little gem is a timeless read. And I think I really want to dig my copies out of storage again.