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Deep Secret (Magids #1)

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  4,089 ratings  ·  203 reviews
Rupert Venables is a Magid.

It's a Magid's job to oversee what goes on in the vast Multiverse. Actually, Rupert is really only a junior Magid. But he's got a king-sized problem. Rupert's territory includes Earth and the Empire of Korfyros. When his mentor dies Rupert must find a replacement. But there are hundreds of candidates. How is he supposed to choose? And interviewin
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 15th 2000 by Tor Fantasy (first published 1997)
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Margaret I read the second one about 10 years ago and only just found out about this one now, so I think you're okay either way.

Community Reviews

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Adorable. It’s a DWJ book, so it’s all multi-universe wizards who end up solving their problems while attending a scifi convention, also baby animals. It is sweet and silly and one of those stories where every plot thread converges in a charmingly improbable bow with built in deus ex machina. But it’s DWJ, so it is also wryly observed, a little dry, a little piercing. But still kind. I mean, it’s set at a scifi convention in all the embarrassing/awesome/exhausting spectacle you’d expect, and she ...more
I love fantasy. I love stories about parallel universes or the multiverse. I love Diana Wynne Jones. So why, exactly, did I not hear about this book until February of last year? (Which is when Goodreads tells me I added it to my stupidly enormous to-read list.) I can only fathom that a Magid was at me, maybe effing around with my fate-lines or something.

Oh, what's that? You don't know what I'm talking about? Well, I have a pretty easy way to fix that. It's called reading this book.

Deep Secret is
Fantasy. Wikipedia is quick to point out that this book was "marketed to adults." I expected a little bit of romance, or maybe some salty language. What I got was the gruesome death of several characters, including three children, a passing reference to an orgy in a stairwell, and a plot that's more tangled than usual.

From the very first page this was a struggle to read. Not only is it missing Jones' normally transparent prose, I didn't care about any of the characters, could not keep straight
I read this at the same time as Fantasti*Con due to the fact they were both set around conventions. Maybe not a good thing as I sometimes was confused between the two conventions wondering where certain characters were. But in the end I separated and enjoyed them both.

This novel is set in an alternate (or perhaps not) universe where they are a group of people known as Magids whose job is, well it's a bit unclear. They help their assigned worlds with various issues and help maintain the magical e
Lis Carey
The senior Magid responsible for Earth and the adjacent Koryfonic Empire (which is considerably more magic-infested than Earth) has died, and his successor has to recruit a new junior Magid, while dealing with the total disaster that the Koryfonic Empire has become in the aftermath of the assassination of the Emperor, who had m ade sure that his heirs were completely safe from being located and used against him while he was alive. Careful consideration of his problems yields the useful discovery ...more
Robin Stevens
One of my favourite comfort reads, and one that never disappoints. This is so funny and on-point about writers, fan communities, conventions and love (and of course magic, multiple universes and all of the problems associated with trying to run a galaxy) and I think I get more from it every time.
The narrator for Rupert sounded a little young to me, but otherwise Deep Secret worked really well as an audiobook.
I've read this book 9 times, and it's still one of my favorites of all time. When someone complains to me that all fantasy is starting to get too similar, I whip out my copy (always on hand) and force them to listen while I read to them my favorite passages. While it takes a good re-read in order to catch all of the cul de sacs and crannies in the plot, I enjoyed this book more than most, and just as much as the rest of ms. Jones's novels.
Deep Secret begins with a cryptic message that the following was secretly deposited in the archive at Iforion. I'd pretty much forgotten that by the time reference was made to it late in the book. There's a number of things from early on that circle back into prominence towards the end.

To a certain extent, it is a standard contemporary fantasy novel: Earth is one of a large number of alternate worlds, which have varying amounts of magic, and there is an organization of high-power mages that keep
I read The Merlin Conspiracy several years back and didn't realize it was part of a series until recently. Having liked TMC a lot (the second time I read it), I went in with high expectations that were completely, utterly, exceeded. The combination of fantasy with scifi and contemporary setting was wonderfully executed. Rupert, with all his flaws, was a striking main character - but I confess that once Maree was introduced from her own viewpoint my allegiances switched to her. Diana Wynne Jones ...more
This was the second book by Wynne Jones that I've read. The previous one, Howl's Moving Castle, was fantastic. My daughter and I just loved it and I was looking forward to this one. I was disappointed. It is supposedly pitched to a more "adult" audience, but the author seems to think that means throw in a little sex, esp. references to the male narrator's tastes and observations, rather than exploring deeper or more complex philosophical ideas. Also, the plot just didn't seem well put together. ...more
This was an awesome, fun, magical, interesting, creative, like-no-other, trope-inverting book. My gosh, some of it took place at a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Convention, for goodness sake! WHAT A GREAT TIME! Fantastic character development, as well- went from hating the primary main character to adoring him by the end of the book. :)

And here's a thing that is weird- I still don't understand some of what the magic of this book was- it was baffling- but it was so good that this lack of understanding doesn't
A very big book in not so many pages. All sorts of tropes of fantasy used in new ways, some, I suspect, deliberately drained of magic and made work-a-day. Heroic quests! Mystery heirs! Chosen ones! Bad sweaters! Scifi conventions! Guests who certainly were not Harlan Ellison, no sirree! Cosplay! Bad gods!

I also suspect if I recognized more of the immediate sources, I would have found this book to be wonderful commentary. As it was, the pages turned, and I felt slightly like I was reading fanfic
Brandy Painter
4.5 stars

Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

I'm still making my way through the full backlist of Diana Wynne Jones. Since I was participating in the 48 Hour Book Challenge last weekend, I decided it was a good time to tackle Deep Secret. I've owned this book for a while but hadn't gotten to it yet. It was an excellent book. Not surprising.

Rupert Venables is a young Magid. As a young Magid, it is his job to look after the Empire of Koryfos. It always goes to the youngest Ma
Leenna Naidoo
In brief:

I hadn’t read a Diana Wynne Jones in years. I had found some of her newer ones a little less mature for my liking. And then I found Deep Secret last week. I couldn’t put it down. I even read it through a bad migraine. It has all the elements of my most beloved Diana Wynne Jones stories, plus some new ones to boot.

The Whole story:

Magids secretly guide worlds towards magic, regulate magic and help worlds sort out magical problems. Rupert is a fairly new Magid with two massive problems. On
DWJ Book Toast, #10

Diana Wynne Jones is one of my favorite fantasy authors, growing up and now, and I was saddened by the news of her death. I can't say I'm overcome with emotion - as personal as some of her work is to me, its not like I knew her after all - but I wish I could put into words how I feel about her no longer being out there, writing new adventures and laughing at all of us serious fans thinking so hard about her words when we should simply get on with the business of enjoying them.
Stephen Theaker
The novels of Diana Wynne Jones are a lot like Philip K Dick's in their rough treatment of reality, but where in his books reality tends to fracture and break, in hers it slowly frays and dissolves, almost without your noticing. You think you're standing on a nice cosy rug, but then find yourself falling through space wondering what the devil is going on. One colossal mistake which I've made from time to time is to put one of her books down and then pick it up again a few months later - somethin ...more
This is a young adult fantasy novel which goes on the premise that the best place to consider candidates for a magically-important position may be a British science-fiction/fantasy convention. Unfortunately our hero, Rupert Venables (despite the old-fashioned name, he's 26 years old) is being distracted from this job by the hunt for the missing heir to an empire in another dimension. Jones leaves it to the reader to fill in much of the background to this story. This may either leave you feeling ...more
Diana Wynne Jones is a good read even on a bad day, and this book is one of her very best! It contains a Pride and Prejudice type of romance where we get to see the thoughts of each protagonist, a multiverse empire that's falling apart due to political scheming and assassinations, the search for a new "Magid" to control magic use on Earth, and a scifi/fantasy convention to round things up! At turns hilarious and dark, this is one of DWJ's most well-rounded novels and a must-read for anyone who's ...more
Feb 06, 2015 Mouselet rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Con-goers, fantasy readers, junior high and older
I'd heard of Diana Wynne Jones thanks to Howl's Moving Castle, though I didn't realize it was a book until I found it at the library sometime after I saw the movie. Regardless, I enjoyed the book every bit as much as the film and read the other two books in the series before promptly forgetting about her.

So when I was browsing a used book store and saw something by her that I'd never heard of, I figured I'd buy it on the basis of her name. I scanned the back quickly and saw a bit about magic and
Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones is one of my all time favorite books, so when I was asked if I wanted to read and review Deep Secret I jumped at the chance.

And this is a really fun book.

It is clear Jones must have loved the idea of multiverses. She used the idea in her Chrestomanci series, and uses it in this book as well. And I must say I love the idea of there being lots of worlds out there, some of them resembling our world, others being very different. I really enjoyed reading about the wh
Beth E
This is a fun book, but the first time I read it, I then forgot all about it. Kind of a bad sign.
The beginning also drags a bit, but then I got into the swing.
The Magids are still kind of mysterious and half explained, even though a Magid is narrating the book. That is frustrating.

It seems like none of the characters actually grow in the book; instead they are portrayed as all being very unpleasant people indeed at the beginning of the book, and most of them become more pleasant as the book pro
Deep Secrets was a bit of a mixed bag for me. DWJ has a tendency to have more ideas in one chapter than many authors have in an entire book, and usually this works well because her ideas are just so good. In Deep Secrets there was a lot going on and some very successful ideas mixed with somewhat more mundane ones, making the whole quite difficult to assess.

A lot of the politics in the Koryfonic empire came across as somewhat dull, as did the search for the potential magids going nowhere. Only af
Another attempt at one of DWJ's books. So far, her books have been either a straight hit or miss with me. I loved the Howl's Moving Castle series and the first book of the Christopher Chant series. But I couldn't quite get Fire and Hemlock, and Tale of Time City was just barely within reach of my ability to make sense of the story. Deep Secret was somewhere in the middle for me. There were obscure bits as usual. I think it's her trademark, to create worlds known yet unknown to us mere Earthlings ...more
BEWARE: This book does not lend itself well to speed-reading, so don't go into a bookstore and try to read it before they close. (Not that I've ever done anything like that. Ahem.)
However, this is one of the best books I've read to explain Diana Wynne Jones' view of magic and the multiverse, so if you're confused about, say, Howl's Moving Castle, or the Chrestomanci series, go read this book, and probably its sequel, "The Merlin Conspiracy". The plotline is engaging, and the idea is fresh and or
Oh, man, I love this book. While being a Diana Wynne Jones book it had to be kind of confusing around the 3/4 mark, it was AMAZINGLY AWESOME in the first 3/4 that I didn't care. The world building was brilliant, Rupert's failures were great to read, PhantasmaCon was super fantasticly awesome and the worldbuilding was amazing.

Maree was a great change from the a-typical scifi/fantasy heroine, and Robert is not your typical centaur. But the twist with (view spoiler)
How many miles to Babylon?
Three score miles and ten.
Can I get there by candle-light?
Yes, and back again.
If your feet are speedy and light
You can get there by candle-light.

The two Magid books are good stand-alone stories (indeed, I had originally read The Merlin Conspiracy long before Deep Secret without once feeling lost or confused), but I'm rather enjoying revisiting them now that I'm fully familiar with this whole infinity-shaped universe and the Magids who oversee it.
Deep Secret particularly
Review written: Sometime before April 16th 2015.

Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones

Why I read it: My book club read it some time back.

Rating: 3/5

What I thought: I don't know? Certain elements of it were very good, definitely, but at the same time it got kinda tedious pretty often, and I'm struggling to even remember much about it. I'm planning on coming back to it someday though.
I re read this again recently -and I realize, after having been to a number of sci fi/fantasy conventions, that this book is, like it says on the back, taking an unsubtle look at those conventions. While spinning a sci-fi/fantasy story around it. Lines converge and all the important characters end up at a convention and the descriptions of the people, how they act and think and their affection and hatred for each other, are fantastic and bang on. The egos and the sweethearts, the fans and the ub ...more
Classic Diana Wynne Jones. It has more twists and turns throughout the book. It follows two different characters. The first is a magid who manages multiple worlds. Magids direct the course of history and make sure what is Intended actually happens. The other person it follows is a girl who may or may not be Magid material. It sounds flat saying that much, when so much more goes on. This is the second time I have read this book. I saw it on my shelf and remembered liking it, but not what it was a ...more
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Diana Wynne Jones was the author of more than thirty critically acclaimed fantasy stories, including the Chrestomanci series and the novels Howl's Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm.

For Diana Wynne Jones's official autobiography, please see
More about Diana Wynne Jones...

Other Books in the Series

Magids (2 books)
  • The Merlin Conspiracy (Magids, #2)

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“There is very seldom any true secret.” 25 likes
“Everyone always has to have the rational, scientific explanation for something, even if it's so obviously wrong you could scream.” 12 likes
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