I'm trying to identify a Scifi/Fantasy novel book I read about 10 years ago, some time in the early to mid 2000s

  • I think there are more books about this setting (I think I read two)
  • Protagonist is not human, belongs to an alien species (but looks human - I think)
  • He has to prove himself worthy in an maze-like trial with a lot of different levels (including deadly traps and fights)
  • There are a lot of references to these trials
  • He has excellent combat/survival skills
  • He uses a "ship" to travel through dimensions, visiting other worlds/dimensions
  • Works as a spy(?) and has a hidden agenda


  • At some point he visits a machine-powered world inhibited by dwarf-like creatures
  • I think the dwarfs work mostly to retain functionality of their (maybe floating) world
  • He/it rescues some inhabitants from destruction and travels with them in his ship
  • He/it has a conflicted personality, although he rescues some of the creatures he is not stereo-typically "good" (e.g. he doesn't prevent fights among them caused by the long journey in a small vessel).
  • Can you recall any other details? What was the main character's name? What did the book covers look like? Is he the only person able to travel interdimensionally or is this a common feature of the world?
    – Valorum
    Apr 10, 2017 at 10:25
  • Could it be one of the Artemis Fowl books? I don't recall enough of any single book to write up an answer, but some of the details fit the overall story arc at least.
    – tobiasvl
    Apr 10, 2017 at 10:40
  • unfortunately thats pretty much it, but i will try to think about more details.
    – mycaravam
    Apr 10, 2017 at 10:42
  • @tobiasvl i dont think so even if there are some similarities. But the protagonisst is not born on earth, i think and i remember the trails that dont occur in the Artemis line.
    – mycaravam
    Apr 10, 2017 at 10:50
  • 2
    Just to confirm, are they trails or trials? Because I thought it could be trials and that would change things
    – Edlothiad
    Apr 10, 2017 at 10:52

1 Answer 1


Pretty sure you mean the Death Gate Cycle. There's seven books and you basically described the first one. I'd comment this so someone can make a better answer out of this, but this is my first answer ever, so no rep (and not enough time to type it out).

Arianus, the World of Air, is composed entirely of porous floating islands, aligned in three basic altitudes. In the Low Realm, the dwarves (called "Gegs", an elven word for "insects") live on the continent Drevlin and cheerfully serve the giant Kicksey-winsey, a city-sized machine that is the source of all water in Arianus. In the Mid Realm, elves and humans have warred for centuries with each other and amongst themselves for water, status, and advantage. Above them all in the High Realm live the Mysteriarchs, isolationist human wizards of the Seventh House rank. They were some of the most powerful wizards of their kind, leaving fellow humans behind in their disgust for the constant warfare, but they never equalled the likes of the missing Sartan and Patryn races.

In the Realm of sky, humans, elves, and dwarves battle for control of precious water—traversing a world of airborne islands on currents of elven magic and the backs of mammoth dragons. But soon great magical forces will begin to rend the fabric of this delicate land. An assassin will be hired to kill a royal prince—by the king himself. A dwarf will challenge the beliefs of his people—and lead them in rebellion. And a sinister wizard will enact his plan to rule Arianus—a plan that may be felt far beyond the Realm of Sky and into the Death Gate itself.

  • Thank you very very much! I am looking for a long time for this. Take this virtual hug :-) hug
    – mycaravam
    Apr 10, 2017 at 12:13
  • 1
    You're welcome, if you never got around to finishing them all, they're a great series if you're into worldbuilding fantasy. Weis and Hickman aren't the greatest storytellers (imo), but their worlds in all of their stories are very nicely built.
    – DonFusili
    Apr 10, 2017 at 12:14
  • :) You answered, not commented, but it's a mostly alright answer. Will you be able to return and flesh it out?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Apr 10, 2017 at 12:20
  • Yes, I plan to do so tonight
    – DonFusili
    Apr 10, 2017 at 12:21

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