(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Earth approaches a portentous moment, a time of destiny which occurs only once in two hundred years. As most of her inhabitants live their lives in ignorance of the coming crisis, Earth, the Fifth Dominion, rapidly moves into alignment with the other four hidden worlds. When the dominions are aligned, a powerful magician might be able to blast through the void separating Earth from her four companions, bringing about the long-awaited Reconciliation.

However, not all who know of the alignment favor the Reconciliation, and the opponents are no less dedicated to preventing the joining than are those who favor releasing the earth from her darkness. Voiders, shape-changing killing machines from the In Ova, hungrily watch the escalating hostilities, as passion and ambition, horror and hope, mystery, magic, and monstrosities begin to converge upon the players.

John Furie Zacharias, better known as Gentle, pursues the assassin Pie ‘oh’ Pah, to discover instead a mystif, a sexually ambiguous creature whose function is to please others, and who leads Gentle into an epic journey through the dominions. Judith, too, discovers miracles in a blue stone, and crosses the void to a realm of desperation and intrigue. Finally the travelers reach the First Dominion and the Holy City of the Unbeheld, where the forces clash in a final conflict.

As always, Clive Barker introduces us to sympathetic characters in a plausible world, and then slowly, carefully, transports us to another realm, a world where the bizarre seems believable, and the unreal simply unusual.