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Deep Secret Mass Market Paperback – November 15, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Keeping the multiverse in balance requires MagidsApowerful magicians who are sensible, pragmatic and often very busy. One such Magid, Rupert Venable, is sorting out a crisis in the Koryfonic Empire while, on earth, he must locate the proper replacement for a recently deceased fellow-Magid. The Empire needs Rupert's talents to help locate missing heirs, and good Magid candidates are hard to track down. These plot strands tie neatly at a fantasy/SF conventionAthe fictional PhantasmaCon in the equally fictional Hotel Babylon of Wantchester, England. Anyone familiar with such "cons" will appreciate Jones's accurate and wryly fond depiction. The setup works admirably as the plot thickens, for the con hotel is situated on a magical "node" of power; the appearance of a handsome wounded centaur brings little more than comments like "Fantastic costume!" As readers are hurtled toward a conclusion involving the guest of honor's speech, Imperial troopers and a bush-goddess, what might first be perceived simply as mere embellishment and rich detailing prove to be adroitly handled story elements of an intricate plot. Throughout, Jones (Charmed Life, etc.) combines strong writing, high fantasy heroics and delightfully dark humor to sparkling effect.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-A romp through "the Multiverse," where reality, symbolized by the infinity symbol, contains numerous worlds ranging from "ayewards" to "naywards" and back again. The Multiversal balance between positive and negative forces is maintained by a small and unchanging number of Magids, powerful magicians able to cross the boundaries of worlds at will; still, though possessed of extraordinary talents, Magids are "only human." At the nexus of the Multiverse sits a politically backward Empire, and it is the misfortune of the most junior of all Magids, one Rupert Venables, to be assigned to oversee the Empire and all its worlds. As a new crisis is erupting, Rupert's mentor on Earth dies and, under a strict deadline, he must replace him. Attempting a sub-rosa interview of the people on his short list, he inadvertently brings them all together at a science-fiction convention that soon reels out of control. The best candidate for new Magid proves to be a young woman who irritates and upstages Rupert at every turn. Maree and her sidekick cousin, Nick, are eccentric, gifted, and plucky adolescents who should be familiar to teenaged graduates of YA fantasy novels; the two first complement and then prove instrumental in solving Rupert's problem with the Empire in a splendidly entertaining adventure. This should be a popular choice among readers of humorous fantasy and science fiction, and it will be a special treat for those who have already dipped their toes into the world of SF-fantasy fandom.
Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Starscape; 1st edition (November 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765342472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765342478
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,203,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard R. Horton on August 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Seldom recently have I simply enjoyed reading a book as much as I enjoyed Diana Wynne Jones' Deep Secret. Jones employs a mixture of engaging characters, interesting fantasy concepts, and a light touch with serious undertones, to create a novel that is infectious and absorbing.
Right from the beginning we know something is up, as narrator Rupert Venables is called away to the Koryfonic Empire, to give his stamp of approval as a Magid to a legal preceding there. Koryfonic Empire? Magid? We are told that the Multiverse consists of worlds arranged in a sort of infinity figure, with one half (including Earth), negative magically (this is the Naywards half). These worlds tend not to believe in magic, and magic is harder to do there. The other (Ayewards) half are positive magically, and creatures such as centaurs can exist there. The Koryfonic Empire is somehow very important, and it occupies the exact middle of the infinity sign. And Magids are some variety of wizard, with the duty to subtly influence events on whatever worlds they are responsible for in the appropriate direction. Rupert is Earth's junior Magid, and he is fresh from helping out in Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland, when he gets sent to the Empire.
This is a bit of a complicated setup, but it's not really necessary to worry about it too much. Rupert is soon engaged in two succession problems. His mentor has died, and he must select a new Magid from among several human candidates. In addition, the Koryfonic Emperor is assassinated, and he has to try to track down the proper heir: a process complicated by the previous Emperor's paranoia, which caused him to hide away his heirs so they wouldn't try to take over before their time.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Diana Wynne Jones's Deep Secret is a wonderful novel. Though some have claimed it lacks depth or is somewhat simplistic, Deep Secret is an engaging and realistic treatment of the classic multiple universes theme - with a magical twist.

Rupert Venables, one of the two primary characters in the novel, is a young Magid - one of a select group of magic-users charged with the care and improvement of the many worlds of the infinity-shaped magical universe. When he sets out to find a replacement for his dead (but perhaps not completely gone) mentor, he finds himself tangled in a complex set of problems involving the Koryfonic Empire's new heir, several centaurs, and a fantasy convention.

Jones, as always, provides amazing characterization in this novel, though at times Rupert Venables can seem far older than his twenty-six years. Maree Mallory, the other main character, is equally as quirky and compelling, and I found myself drawn to both of their narrative voices. I was more than satisfied with the complex plot, and Jones's choice to set the book largely at a convention was a stroke of brilliance. Not only does it allow her to introduce and illustrate a number of themes about the human need to both congregate in groups of kindred spirits and set oneself apart from the rest of humanity, she characterizes the spirit of a fantasy con so well it makes the reader wish fervently to attend one.

With one of the most satisfying endings I've encountered in a Jones book, this novel really is one of her best.

The only complaint I have, is that in the Starscape Books edition, ostensibly published for young adults, they've made a couple of small, but nevertheless distracting and unecessarily prudish edits.
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Format: Hardcover
The Magids keep the positive and negative magic in balance throughout the Multiverse. Junior Magid Rubert Venables, an Earthling, works the barbaric Koyrfonic Empires where trouble is a way of life. In the large scheme of the Multiverse, a backward series of planets usually means little. However, this group happens to be located at a critical point where the center of the Multiverse twists onto itself. When someone assassinates the Emperor, Rupert has to find the rightful heir even though the previous ruler seems to have killed all of them before a possible chaotic civil war even starts..
However, Rupert has a second problem to deal with at the same time. He has been assigned the task of finding the replacement to his own mentor, who just died. Rupert must go to Earth and select the most competent of the junior Magids (including himself) to become the new Magid of the planet. He meets with the five contenders at a SF convention, but other forces not quite as friendly as the hostile candidates are also there.
DEEP SECRET is a great SF tale that fans will take much pleasure in reading. The story line is exciting, complex, and unique as only Diana Wynne Jones can do. The eccentric cast of characters seem real as they add humor and make magic appear to be part of the scientific realm. Anyone who wants something a bit different, should try this novel and hopefully any future Multiverse books.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I would say this is the first time DWJ has written an adult book which is fully as good as her best juvenile books - which I mean as a very high compliment indeed. The many complications are wonderfully woven together and beautifully resolved, while still keeping to the frantic pace of her best plotting. There is a theme of deep secrets coming to light (life), which gives the plot more-than-causal coherency.
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