First of a new fantasy trilogy from the author of the Watershed trilogy (War of Three Waters, 1997, etc.). Elves and druids—the latter magicians from Earth—live in the immortal realm at Circle at Center, but their idyll comes under threat from two sources. Sir Christopher, a Crusader from Earth, has obtained the powerful Stone of Summoning, killing its guardian; because of the stone's distinctive red cross, Sir Christopher's convinced that God wants him to exterminate the witches and unbelievers of the higher realm—and the stone compels loyalty in those whom it influences. In the lower realms, meanwhile, evil blind dwarves called Delvers invade the caverns of their cousins, the good Seer dwarves. Led by Zystyl and his metal teeth (think Jaws), the Delvers swarm upwards, where they encounter Sir Christopher’s crusaders and form an alliance. Belynda, an elf Sage-ambassador once raped by Sir Christopher, urges the lackadaisical elves to action, while the druid Miradel summons Aztec warrior Natac from Earth, at great personal cost, to train and lead the defense. After 25 years of war, Belynda and company figure out that to defeat Sir Christopher they must take away his Stone of Summoning. Well, duh.
To Niles, the stuff of fantasy isn't “something readers can believe in” but “anything the author can dream up.” Result: storytelling beats logic to a pulp.