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Diplomacy of Wolves (The Secret Texts #1)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  1,382 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
This first volume of The Secret Texts-- a fantastic epic of ancient curses, evil conspiracies, and the darkest of sorceries--revolves around a 400-year battle between two clans for control of Calimekka. A young diplomat must reluctantly use her deadly magical powers to keep Calimekka from being crushed in a reign of unholy terror.
Paperback, 395 pages
Published December 2nd 2005 by Aspect (first published 1998)
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Jan 11, 2011 Ithlilian rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This book really frustrated me. Sometimes I loved it and other times I skipped entire sections. The beginning of the Diplomacy of Wolves is told from the main character Kait's point of view. You come to know her and relate to her, and everything is great. I discovered that the book is not about crazy mages running around, like the jacket suggested, but about a werewolf/shapeshifter. Points for originality there. Things start to fall apart when people are attacked, families are destroyed, and ...more
Simon Mcleish
Nov 26, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it liked it
Originally published on my blog here in July 2001.

For the Secret Texts series, which this novel begins, Holly Lile has combined a fairly standard fantasy quest with a background drawn straight from post-apocalyptic science fiction. There are many similarities to, say, A Canticle for Leibowitz, with the major difference that the world destroying war was not nuclear but fought with magical weapons producing effects similar to fallout, persistent radiation and mutations.

One of the mutations, still
Mar 28, 2016 Carmen rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Fantasy readers
I didn't really like this book. Almost everyone is a bad person. Women are raped constantly. People are betrayed constantly. Also, she makes up a lot of nonsense words and concepts. Kait is a werewolf – and she lives in a place where werewolves are feared and killed. (Of course, Lisle doesn't call them werewolves, she calls them Karnee). She, of course, goes on a quest for a long lost mirror that can bring back the dead. Not a light book. (Not deep, just dark.) I didn't like it.
Rachael Stephen
Jul 24, 2012 Rachael Stephen rated it it was ok
I powered through this book, and it had some cool stuff, I liked the tropical setting, and for the most part the settings were crisp and interesting, but something about the ending made me not care very much about reading the next installments. Maybe I'll get back to it. This book is certainly well-written, and it seems to have all the elements, but for some reason it still feels like there's something missing. Maybe it is that I don't identify very well with the themes.

(Although now as I look b
Oct 07, 2013 Simon rated it it was ok
It feels like 70% of the plot progression, exposition, and character progression all happen in characters' internal thought processes. Obviously a story will be colored by a POV character's perceptions, but for me this went over into infodump territory.

Pages were spent detailing aspects of the world which were completely uninteresting. And the things that were interesting had so little explanation that it seemed like the author just didn't have the answers at all. I'm sure those bits will work o
Carol Wilde
Apr 21, 2015 Carol Wilde rated it liked it
This is the first book in, I assume, a trilogy. Although I enjoyed it, I've not found myself driven to dive into the second. The world created and it's history are quite complex, and I would like it to be just a bit clearer considering how far I am into the story. I think I know who the good guys and the bad guys are among the characters, although a few remain ambiguous. I'm less clear about the players in the larger historical good/evil conflict. I'm looking for a romance involving the central ...more
Aug 15, 2011 WillowBe rated it did not like it
I realy disliked all the raping, degradation, humiliation, female oppression, slavery- Just not enough payoff in the story to go through all that. Also,yeah, sometimes HEA robs the story of it's power and poignancy. However, I wouldn't be surprised if everyone dies, incl the heroine at the end of the series- I just didn't trust the author. I felt that with such a dense world, there really needed to be an introduction to it, rather than just putting us in the middle of action.
this is one book th
Jul 01, 2013 Kalle rated it liked it
Shelves: action, fantasy, adventure
"Diplomacy of Wolves" is the first book in the Secret Texts trilogy. It starts of rather slowly, and at times it was even confusing. Also, reading some of the sexual tension and descriptions made me feel like I was reading some poor fanfic; although it was nice to set some of the tones and themes of the novel instantly (politics, scheming, sex -- clearly not a children's fantasy this time).

Overall the word I'd use to describe this book is probably shallow: the characters were a bit lacking in te
Mar 16, 2014 Lark rated it did not like it
Shelves: disappointment
Randomly picked this book off the library shelf. Kait is a diplomat with a secret. But when things go to hell in a handbasket and attacks slaughter entire clans, she has to learn diplomacy to find an artifact to save the world.

Or something like that. So yeah, I couldn't even finish this book, I was too bored. I thought the world wasn't particularly interesting, the plot was way too cliche without a hook, and the characters just not powerful enough to keep me reading.

I read about 100 pages, flip
May 23, 2016 Myridian rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This book takes place post apocalyptically after a wizard's war and follows Kait as she enters the diplomacy service within her large clan of extended family, the Galweighs. In the midst of the first act her world is turned upside-down by the rivalry between her family and that of two rival families. Rye, the scion of one of these families becomes obsessed with Kait which complicates her attempts to save her family.

This book falls somewhere between a two and three for me. Instead of allowing us
Oct 04, 2011 Chris rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers, fans of adventure series
Shelves: fantasy
Overall, a good story, good characters.
Not as good as I remembered it, the second time around. It didn't have a deep enough hook, I guess to really intrigue me enough that it warranted 4 stars. I would still like to read the rest of the series though.
The Secret Texts Series
Diplomacy of Wolves (The Secret Texts, Book 1), follows the story of a young girl, stepping out in court for the first time, as a chaperon for her family. But as her family is slaughtered, she struggles to find strength and su
Aug 16, 2009 Sara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Fantasy readers alert! Holly Lisle kicks butt! I'm not a fan of series because they tend to end up overworked and incredibly trite. This trilogy (Wolves, Dragons, Falcons) escapes that, first by choosing a female protagonist, second by creating an elastic fantasy scheme (lots of room to change and grow), and third by allowing her characters to form relationships the way real people form them: through proximity and common interest. Unlike her regular fiction (she tends toward mysteries), Lisle's ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Lisa rated it liked it
Just finished it for the first time. I definitely need to finish the series and get closure. There seems to be good potential but its hard to know if it'll be realized in the next two books. It was a fairly complicated plot which is ok if its handled well through the three books. I did really like her character development. It feels predictalbe but yet there is the occassional twist and surprise which I enjoy. Many times fantasy is entirely predictable.

I have not decided yet if I like the book
Oct 17, 2012 Hannah rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2012
I enjoyed the book a lot, but it ends rather abruptly with a cliffhanger. I don't mind when the first book in a series leaves room for further adventure, but I expect some sense of completion at the end, some sense that the author has resolved the plot. As I was nearing the end of Diplomacy of Wolves, I started to wonder how Holly Lisle was going to wrap things up when so much was happening. As the mass of remaining pages dwindled, I started to fear that her resolution would have to be unsatisfa ...more
Sep 09, 2009 Kara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
Absolutely absorbing. Drew me in from the very beginning. Love the fluid, very descriptive writing style - she makes it very easy to imagine all the sights and smells of the world that she has created. I also liked how the characters are realistic (well, besides the magic and such) - like how there are a lot of them are selfish, jealous, greedy folk, just like there are a lot of selfish, jealous, greedy people in the world. It's not depressing or anything, just not sugarcoated.

Beyond that, the w
Declan Quinn
Oct 21, 2011 Declan Quinn rated it it was amazing
What an amazing and insightful piece of literature. Holly Isle introduced a whole new way of reading. With each page your reading may become blurred as you are literally wanting to read the next page. The first book of three in the "Secret Texts" where introduced into a time before time. Full of conspiracy, treachery, powerful magic, the enternal struggle between good and evil, and the heart the strength of passion and love. Kaite a karnee belongs to one of the powerful "Five families" but she ...more
Oct 20, 2008 Jean rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The writings excellent, the characters wonderfully three dimensional and deep, and the worldbuilding some of the best I've ever seen. I enjoyed it, especially the scenes that kept me turning the page when I should have sleeping, but for some reason that I can't pin down it just didn't grab me. Maybe it just wasn't the sort of book I'm in the mood for right now.

It's clearly the first in a series. Lots of things get set up and almost nothing is resolved. There were some eye-rolling moments, mostly
Aug 30, 2012 Sabine rated it really liked it
Not quite a full "4", but closer to 4 stars than 3.... I really got sucked into this tale, replete with rich imagery about an alternate post-apocolyptic world, with cities run by brutal dynastic families engaged in double-crossing politics worthy of the Borgias. The familes' use of outlawed magic as a means of control and power was interesting, especially that the magic exacted a heavy price for its use (think blood) and backlash leading to disfigurement of the user or the unlucky person they ...more
Nov 21, 2013 Kara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
Absolutely absorbing. Drew me in from the very beginning. Love the fluid, very descriptive writing style - she makes it very easy to imagine all the sights and smells of the world that she has created. I also liked how the characters are realistic (well, besides the magic and such) - like how there are a lot of them are selfish, jealous, greedy folk, just like there are a lot of selfish, jealous, greedy people in the world. It's not depressing or anything, just not sugarcoated.

Beyond that, the w
Kelley Ceccato
Apr 17, 2013 Kelley Ceccato rated it liked it
Very readable, with a heroine worth rooting for.

The violence got too gruesome and intense at times for my taste (which is why I'm not in a big hurry to read the sequels, though I eventually will), and I was disappointed that every single loyal friend of Kait's was a man. I always find it regrettable when a novel has only one impressive heroine, and all the other female characters (if there even are any) are either passive, pallid damsels or bad-news villainesses. This occurs all too frequently i
May 14, 2010 Victoria rated it really liked it
An exciting adventure! And what a cliffhanger of an ending! Set in a world called Matrin, who's map only slightly resembles our own, this is a detailed novel set in a land rich with its own history, religion, and vocabulary. It is full of excitement from the very first pages! In fact, that is my only real complaint - it would have been nicer to have more of an introduction to the characters and their unique world before thrusting them into one tough situation after another. Of course, now that ...more
May 17, 2014 Cecile rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, english
At first I wasn't sure were this story was going, I was a bit lost with all the jumping from character to character and I had to read back at least once to remember who was who. Then, some chapters later, I was in. It would be a four-star for me if it wasn't for the confusing beginning. Also, beware of the ending, which isn't really an ending as most of the storylines are still unresolved in the end.
Having the following books close at hand would have been better, I hope I don't forget the story
Feb 27, 2015 Kate rated it did not like it
Shelves: library, 2014
I really liked the first chapter or so of the book. Kait is an ambassador in training, quite capable, on her first mission, and she also happens to be a werewolf of sorts. Sadly, that isn't really what the book is about. Kait is really the only competent woman that I can think of in the book, and the story mostly isn't about her. It also has quite a lot of disturbing bits (rape, torture, nasty sorts of magic, and magical pregnancy as a result of rape), and I didn't care for how they were ...more
Jul 20, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
This triology was a fun read, and eventually engrossing, but I had a couple of problems with it. Since it was well-written and plotted, with decent character depth, it's entirely likely that it will be more to others' taste. I found the brutality level a bit higher than I like in my fantasy reads, and found the language a little dense and overgrown in places.

That said, by the third book I was hooked and couldn't put it down.
Aug 13, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
���A phenomenal high fantasy novel; Holly Lisle blew me away. DIPLOMACY OF WOLVES is gritty, rough, realistic, violent, dark, sexual, romantic, intense, emotional, complex and thoroughly engaging. Just when I thought I had a firm handle on where she was taking me, the plot veered slightly, introducing a new dimension I hadn't expected. A brilliant start to what promises to be a wonderful trilogy. (A+)
Jan 06, 2009 Devon rated it liked it
Not a good sign when I finish the first book in a series and don't immediately hit amazon to order the next one. Heroine's okay--a bit too willing to be tortured over her own identity as a shapeshifter, even considering the serious cultural prejudices against it. Plot's okay, but too much of its energy come from the author straining to make sure we understand that the bad guys are reallyreally bad, so the violence slips a bit over the line into porn.
Sep 17, 2012 Andrea marked it as to-read
Not gonna lie, I've kind of lost interest at the moment, but I'm not sure it has anything to do with the book itself. I just haven't been in a "reading" sort of mood lately. Granted, I guess that means this book isn't so absolutely fantastic that I can't help but read it, but that doesn't mean it's all bad.
Oct 03, 2012 Steven rated it really liked it
Overall these are okay. There is some painfully bad speech-giving in place of dialogue at dramatic moments. Also, naming a faction the "Wolves" in a world where the protagonist is a werewolf, and some but not all of the Wolves are also werewolves, but apparently most of the Wolves don't know about the werewolves, is a really bad idea. I'm still not certain what was going on there.
Jul 01, 2009 Derek rated it really liked it
It was an enjoyable and worthwhile book with a lot of great ideas, but at times it felt like there was too much going on, and that the protagonist was facing insurmountable odds.

The world she lives in is built if not on cruelty, than on a system that tramples the innocent and promotes greed, and this is my greatest problem with the book.
Jul 13, 2008 Dave rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
The author does a good job of creating a unique world with an interesting past. However, the callus treatment of average women in this world made it hard for me to like this world. If you like separate, yet related, story lines that don't seem to come together until later books, this one is for you. It hit three stars because I realized that I would read the second novel of the series.
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Holly Lisle has been writing fiction professionally since 1991, when she sold FIRE IN THE MIST, the novel that won her the Compton Crook Award for best first novel. She has to date published more than thirty novels and several comprehensive writing courses. She has just published WARPAINT, the second stand-alone novel in her Cadence Drake series.

Holly had an ideal childhood for a writer…which is t
More about Holly Lisle...

Other Books in the Series

The Secret Texts (5 books)
  • Vincalis the Agitator (The Secret Texts, #0)
  • Vengeance of Dragons (The Secret Texts, #2)
  • Courage of Falcons (The Secret Texts, #3)
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“A voice speaks to each of us in the still silent places - a voice that tells us to stand, to have courage, to do what is right.” 9 likes
“Willful ignorance and endless laws become the replacement for self-education and self-restraint, because ignorance and laws are easy.” 5 likes
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