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Book Series Review: The Saga of the Well World Series by Jack L Chalker

Updated on July 10, 2015

My first Jack L Chalker book

I can remember selecting my first Jack L Chalker book off the revolving display at reading it solidly for 6 hours until my eyes hurt, so vividly despite the passage of many years.

It was the winter of 1979 and I had been dropped off at Hanover airport (Germany) by my older brother intending to catch a flight later that evening back to England. The journey from my brother’s home had been plagued by heavy snow and at one point in our journey I was concerned that I might miss my check in.

I needn’t have worried my flight had been cancelled and the next flight wasn’t until 7am the following morning, which meant I was going to have a long night in the departure lounge of the airport.

Time to stock up and prepare

I went to one of the airport shops and purchased some packaged food, drinks and sweets. Looking at the shelves of books started to fill me with despair. They were all in German, and then I noticed a wire framed book display unit, the sort that you can spin around and noticed several books in English. When I looked closely I found that all the books were American editions and the number of books available wasn’t many. That’s when I saw the book Quest for the Well of Souls by Jack Chalker. I picked it up and soon realised that it was book 3 in a series. Well it was the best on offer and so I paid for my book and sat down and prepared myself for a long night.

Hooked within the first few pages

Now bear in mind that I started at book 3 and that there was a lot of story I simply didn’t know, but before I knew it I was totally hooked. Who was this guy Jack Laurence Chalker? What a fantastic imagination. It was weird and wonderful and I read and read until my eyes were so tired I had to stop for a couple of hours. Now having spent several hours in a car getting to the airport and having sat in an airport chair all-night long followed by a short flight you might think that I was keen to get home. I was, but not until I had checked all the book shops at the London Heathrow airport and purchased books one and two in the series.

Common Features throughout Jack L Chalker books

The Saga of the Well World Series was read in record time and I went onto read everything Jack L Chalker had ever written and years later I had the pleasure of revisiting the Well World in a short series called The Watchers at the Well.

There are numerous reviews outlining the different plots of Jack L Chalker books and if you want to read the back covers please go ahead. All I will say is that he loves to keep you guessing and changing the rules all the time. Trying to work out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys is a challenge, especially when the guys change from human to another species or weren’t guys in the first place.

Characters good and bad often experience physical transformation within his books and things are rarely what they seem to be.

The Saga of the Well World series

  1. Midnight at the Well of Souls, Del Rey, 1977
  2. Exiles at the Well of Souls, Del Rey, 1978
  3. Quest for the Well of Souls, Del Rey, 1978
  4. The Return of Nathan Brazil, Del Rey, 1980
  5. Twilight at the Well of Souls, Del Rey, 1980

Two Late Additions to The Saga of the Well World series

  1. The Sea is Full of Stars, December, 1999
  2. Ghost of the Well of Souls, 2000

The Watchers at the Well series

  1. Echoes of the Well of Souls
  2. Shadow of the Well of Souls
  3. Gods of the Well of Souls

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