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Diplomacy of Wolves: Book 1 of the Secret Texts Paperback – November 1, 1998
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Book 1 of the Secret Texts series is set in a world considerably more urban and urbane than traditional fantasy quest epics. Dirigible balloons ("airibles") coexist with Machiavellian plotting, Borgia-like malevolence, and deadly family rivalry resembling that of the Montagues and Capulets in Romeo and Juliet. There's magic, too, forbidden but still furtively used: Each clan has its concealed corps of "Wolves," black magicians who conduct cruel sacrifices and may become physically monstrous from spell backlash. Young heroine Kait is a diplomat trainee and secretly a shapeshifter--that is, accursed and marked for death if ever exposed. After a horrific clash of wizardry and assassination that almost wipes out her clan, she takes ship in search of the ancient Mirror of Souls, which according to legend can bring back the dead. But legends may be booby-trapped: Kait and other characters become guided by helpful spirit voices, gods with their own agenda and no love of humanity, and the Mirror's real function may be altogether different. Meanwhile, a long-dead sorcerer who opposed the gods with his own white-magic cult awaits rebirth. The magic and its transforming side effects are exhilaratingly horrid; the novel ends with a whopping cliffhanger. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk
In a well-depicted fantasy world, Kait Galweigh, a young noblewoman and diplomat, discovers a sinister plot by both human and magical forces against her family. Unfortunately, she can defeat it only by using her own powers, which are considered so accursed that her kin would kill her on the spot if she revealed them. She has to flee for her life, with demons pursuing her, friends turning into foes and vice-versa, and intrigues multiplying at almost every turn of a page. In spite of its comparatively conventional development and being the first volume of yet another fantasy saga, The Secret Texts, this is absorbing reading. The action is brisk, the characters are--as we have come to expect from Lisle--offbeat, the realistic detail does not tilt overboard into grunge, and the villains are really villainous. Definitely a page turner, certain to please Lisle's established fans, it is also an excellent work with which to make first contact with a fantasy writer who deserves greater repute. Roland Green
Top customer reviews
I am now reading the first book of the A Cadence Drake Novel Carrigan's Blood ...what a beginning :)))))
It's a very unusual story, in the way it's written..just different.. I thought it was great.
I suppose that, in a way, she was right. There were parts that, taken on their own, I would likely classify as brutal, but I don't think that the book as a whole qualifies. It is, however, definitely a dark fantasy; one in which no excuses are made and evil is given almost as much attention as good. This is not a typical fantasy book.
I think, though, that is a lot of its appeal. It was almost refreshing to read a book that was unapologetically dark, one that did not necessarily offer hope of a brighter tomorrow. It certainly isn't the type of book I would want to read all the time, but it did make a nice change of pace from my normal reading habits.
In <u>Diplomacy of Wolves</u>, Lisle weaves a world full of forbidden magic and intrigue, yet one with so much detail and thought that it seems real. Lisle is a talented world-builder, creating a believable place with many cultures and a solid history. Into it, she puts well-developed characters involved in complex, detailed plot that draws the reader in.
All in all, I would say that <u>Diplomacy of Wolves</u> is a very strong, well-written book.
The one thing that I had a problem with was part of the characterization of Kait, one of the main characters. For the most part, she is well-developed, with both flaws and strengths, and is actually a rather likeable character. However, in her interactions with one other character, she fails to notice obvious slip-ups that someone with her background wouldn't miss. These were the kind of slip-ups that were designed to let the reader know something that the characters weren't supposed to know yet, but they were so glaringly obvious that I found it annoying. Not only was the information conveyed in a poor manner, but it also diminished the characterization of the main character in the book. I can easily think of a few other ways to convey the needed information to the readers that wouldn't have gone against established character traits.
Other than the few slip-ups dealing with that particular information, the rest of the characterization was strong and well-done. In the layers of intrigue, the characters were not always aware of the truth about each other, but Lisle still managed to convey motivation to the readers, even when the characters themselves weren't fully aware of it.
I found the plot to be similarly strong, with several different layers intertwining, yet easy enough to follow and, with the exception of the before-mentioned incident, surprisingly lacking in holes. Given the complexity of the plot, I would have expected more things to slip by Lisle and I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was nothing else that really bothered me or felt as though it was missing.
The world Lisle created in <u>Diplomacy of Wolves</u> may be dark, but it's intriguing, and I for one cannot wait to read more.