DEEP SECRET by Diana Wynne Jones


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Belated US appearance for this 1997 fantasy from the England resident author of A Sudden Wild Magic (1992). Jones’s “Multiverse” has a magical dimension running from Ayewards, where magic is accepted and practiced, to Naywards, where few believe in it and even fewer use it. Traditionally, Earth’s junior Magid keeps an eye on the Koyrfonic Empire, but when his boss dies, Rupert Venables succeeds him and must select his own replacement from a list provided by Them Up There. The candidates prove remarkably difficult to round up, never mind to interview. Meanwhile, an assassin’s bomb takes out Koyrfon’s thornbush-worshiping Emperor Timos IX; worse, the dismally paranoid Timos has hidden the location and identity of his heirs under a code word, Babylon, that only the reclusive centaur Knarros might elucidate. On Earth, Rupert locates one candidate, the bag-lady look-alike Maree Mallory; they loathe one another immediately. So he magically arranges to draw the other candidates together at PhantasmaCon, a fantasy convention being held in England at the apparently multidimensional Babylon Hotel. Somehow, Maree gets tangled up in the spell too, along with her weird cousin Nick. Rupert locates Knarros, but the centaur’s soon murdered along with several of the emperor’s offspring in an attack mounted from Earth by Nick’s ghastly mother Janine. Then White, Janine’s black-magician associate, zaps Maree, a potential Magid’she’s not so bad, Rupert decides. To save her, Rupert must open a Deep Secret magical candle-lit road to Babylon. But is Nick really Koyrfon’s heir? And what of Rupert’s mysterious Viking—look-alike neighbor, not to mention the music-loving ghost in his car? An orchestrated riot, with tangled plots, bizarre doings, headlong pace, and foaming wit.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-86859-6
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1999


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