Select one of the keywords
Deep Secret    by Diana Wynne Jones order for
Deep Secret
by Diana Wynne Jones
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2014 (1997)
Hardcover, Softcover, Paperback, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Rupert Venables and his two elder brothers (Will and Simon) are Magids, operating in different worlds across the Multiverse, which is represented by 'a figure eight laid on its side.' Half of the figure eight of worlds is 'negative magically, or Naywards, and the other half positive, or Ayewards.'

The Empire of Koryfos, smack in the middle, causes ongoing problems for Magids, said problems playing a major role in this story. It all begins with an execution in Koryfos, followed by Rupert's being summoned by his mentor, Stan, who is dying in our world (but not disappearing from the story as his ghost hangs around as a sidekick). Stan informs Rupert that it's his job to choose a Magid replacement and gives him a list of candidates.

Rupert seeks them out, but they all prove very elusive and rather unsuitable, especially the most talented, Maree (whose dreams of a Thornlady strip all the joy from her life). Rupert takes an instant dislike to Maree. He continues to deal with problems on Koryfos (the Emperor's death, the search for an heir, and civil war) and give rides to various cities to his strange neighbor, Andrew.

Finally, Rupert influences events (subtle magical manipulation is what Magids do) so that the candidates come together at a science fiction convention. But black magic is in play there too - what is going on? Rupert, Maree and the latter's self-absorbed cousin Nick come together - and Rupert begins to care deeply for Maree. So when she's terribly injured, he decides to use a deep secret, 'How do I go to Babylon?', in a desperate attempt to heal her.

I read Deep Secret when it first came out, decades ago, and enjoyed it even more the second time around. Diana Wynne Jones makes her parallel world theory very credible, and ties her plot threads together in a clever knot as she explodes magical fun across her Multiverse.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Fantasy books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews