Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Book of Secrets” as Want to Read:
Book of Secrets
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Book of Secrets

2.88  ·  Rating Details ·  156 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews

Reporter Spencer Finch is a journalist embroiled in the hunt for a missing book, encountering along the way cat burglars and mobsters, hackers and mysterious monks. At the same time, he's trying to make sense of the legacy left him by his late grandfather, a chest of what appear to be pulp magazines from the golden age of
Paperback, 372 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Angry Robot (first published 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Book of Secrets, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Book of Secrets

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mike Vasich
Aug 13, 2012 Mike Vasich rated it liked it
I was drawn into this book immediately, with its nod to noir fiction and its hardboiled protagonist. A nice mystery immediately starts to unfold, and we are led hither and thither on Spencer Finch's journey to discover something or other about a book, a weird millionaire, a murdered so and so, and--most importantly--his own family history.

The details were not really all that important, quite frankly, and I discovered that I lost track of who was who and who was trying to get what and so on. What
Dec 19, 2010 Stefan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Spencer Finch is an investigative journalist who is researching billionaire J. Nathan Pierce for one of his stories. In the course of his research, he discovers that a mysterious book was recently stolen from Pierce, and it’s this book that will lead Finch on a fascinating and unlikely journey with far-reaching implications. Early on in the story, Finch also receives his recently deceased grandfather’s inheritance: a box full of stories and other texts. These gradually add a whole new dimension ...more
May 30, 2013 Carisa rated it did not like it
This didn't do it for me at all. The main story is pretty inert -- that's always a risk with a plot that mostly involves the protagonist reading about interesting things that happened to other people in the past, but this one is especially dull. For all the plot Roberson throws at the wall (taking our hero from Austin to Las Vegas to a showdown in front of the Alamo), nothing really sticks. Part of the problem is Finch, the main character, who isn't unlikeable so much as he is poorly fleshed out ...more
Jo-Anne McBride
Loved most of it, right up to the mystical weirdness. Really liked the mention of Don Hutchinson's book on the pulps.
Keith Harvey
Aug 13, 2012 Keith Harvey rated it really liked it
Over the weekend I received and read two books from Chris Roberson's "Book of Secrets" and Lauren Beukes'"Moxyland."

Both books are from "Angry Robot" and both books are supposedly science fiction. However, no two books could be so different and yet inhabit the same "genre" space. Roberson's book is a look-back at the glorious age of pulp and therefore a meta-fictional exercise in types and sub-categories of genre; whereas Beukes' novel is a peek into a dark and perilous near-futur
Barbara Martin
Sep 11, 2009 Barbara Martin rated it really liked it
Although Angry Robot Books lists this book under the Thriller / Urban Fantasy category, it contains multiple genres: short stories similar to the noir pulps of the forties and fifties; adventure/action, spiritual journey and fantasy. The story comes in layers providing clues along the way. Some seem insignificant until the end of the book until the ‘ah ha’ moment.

Spencer Finch has been trying to find his way in life, struggling with situations that occur during his life as a journalist. He has a
A dull, dragging sort of book with a truly mystifying ending.

Let me be the ten millionth person to say that whoever wrote the teaser line on the cover (" a pile of pulp science fiction stories.") should be taken out the back and shot, or at least subjected to a course of intense and unpleasant 're-education'. THE STORIES ARE NOT SCI-FI. They do not, at any point, even pretend to be sci-fi. If I had known this, I probably wouldn't have even started the book. They are picaresque, very dull an
Mar 20, 2013 Stephanie rated it liked it
If I had to describe The Book of Secrets by Chris Roberson in one word it would be interesting. I love books that are mystery's that involve religion, books and puzzles. That is what from reading the blurb on the back of the book I thought this one would be. It was not, but it was not a bad book.

The back of the book talks about a secret in human history that is found in old pulp sifi stories. No, not really. There is a secret that has been hidden in history, but not in sifi stories. The stories
Jul 09, 2014 Thomas rated it it was ok
The protagonist was a hard boiled detective. Actually, I think he was a reporter. I'm honestly not sure; it was only brought up once at the beginning, and it didn't really grip me. In between calling fat kids 'trolls' to asking a lesbian to marry him he was... nothing. He drank because that's what characters like him do, he ate terrible food, and he read a lot of books.

The story itself was separated by days rather than chapters. Given that this is a 400 page story that takes place over the cours
Jun 15, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it

This book from the start was a bit of a hard read for me, the fact that we went from the story line of the book into reading other books was a bit strange to get the hang of, but with a bit of perseverance I found that I actually started to like it. I found all the character to be very believable and as I usually do started to sympathise with the main character Spencer Finch.I found the relationship between him and his grandfather a hard one to read because I wanted Spencer to have more time for
Sep 23, 2009 Roswita rated it really liked it
Book of Secrets is an interesting adventure/murder mystery with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. The mystery is centred around an ancient book and the thief who was murdered after stealing it. Finch must learn why the thief was murdered to find out where the book has ended up. Along the way he pieces together memories from his childhood and in so doing discovers that the grandfather who raised him was a completely different man than he remembers. In the end, Finch finds that he has ...more
Christian Lipski
Jan 05, 2011 Christian Lipski rated it really liked it
I am a sucker for "secret knowledge" stories, and Roberson has written a fun one. The best part is that the protagonist is a jerk, so you spend a lot of the book being pissed at this guy. He's not the innocent, always-well-meaning Robert Langdon. He's like us - pissy, self-centered and sad.

The last section of the book (no spoilers) seemed to go really really quickly, almost like too much information at once, but it's still very enjoyable. More like "Foucault's Pendulum" than "Da Vinci Code," I t
D.A. Cairns
Jun 26, 2013 D.A. Cairns rated it liked it
A cleverly designed story with a few cool ideas, wasn't enough to lift Book of Secrets from a three star rating. I liked it enough to keep reading, and I especially enjoyed the mythology and the way the secret was revealed, but it was a long wait for answers or even excitement. I think the blending of genres worked pretty well but as I said, the fantasy elements appeared very late, following one too many retrospectives, and similar descriptive passages.

I liked it because it was easy to read,the
Stephen Graham
As a writing experiment, the tales set in different eras were interesting, though not quite catching the feel of the pulps. They didn't easily convey the sense of an on-going tradition that the protagonist would be taking up. The various subsidiary characters were never around long enough to develop any particular attachment, either for the reader or really in a sensible fashion for the protagonist. The deus ex machina ending sapped the power of the story. You could build an interesting story fr ...more
Joe Planck
Jun 13, 2012 Joe Planck rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Started out strong and fell apart a bit towards the end. The main story is punctuated by "found" manuscripts of masked vigilantes and pirates through the ages, united by a common name. I enjoyed those stories better than the main storyline which, suddenly, and without foreshadowing, becomes a supernatural and non denominational revision of the the fall of Lucifer. I recommend getting it from the library if you are interested....
Eric Krause
This one had plenty of potential, but it didn't live up to my expectations. The way it was structured, with old pulp stories about a vigilante, The Black Hand, was a good idea, but it stopped the story cold for me. And I won't discuss the ending, other than to say it also seemed to stop cold, leaving me skipping pages at a time, not something a reader should do anywhere in a book, let alone in the last act. Overall, I'd hoped for more.
Feb 08, 2012 Barbara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf

According to the interview with the author at the end of the book, he thinks the protagonist is cool. I thought he was a mean-spirited, largely ineffectual drunk.

However, his story was mildly intriguing and I thought the structure of the book and the uncovering of the secrets was rather interesting up until the Big Reveal at the end. Then came the "Meh" response. Not a particularly novel "secret".
Jul 23, 2011 Ruth rated it did not like it
c2001/2009. Different dates as book indicates that it was initially self published in 2001 and then substantially revised and published in 2009. I am not sure why because it really is drivel. Finished it but plot, narrative, characterisation all so thin, they are invisible.So many cliches, that it is hard to move. "..but I am an old man, too set in my ways, and not long for this world...."Yuk!
May 29, 2014 Andrea rated it it was ok
I say it was ok because I actually finished it. In a way, it was so bad I couldn't put it down. Like watching an accident in progress it was somewhat horrifying. The main character had no redeeming qualities that I could tell and the mystery as determined at the very end of the book left me unimpressed.
Andy Haigh
Apr 24, 2011 Andy Haigh rated it really liked it
Loved everything about this book, apart from the end.
Was disappointed that I thought elements were quite predictable.
However the pacing and the storytelling were great, and I really hope for more of this kind of writing from this author.
Nov 16, 2013 Acacia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I gave the book 4 stars because it is an interesting mystery. I don't think it's really fantasy, as anything that would be considered such only shows up in the last eighth of the book. I enjoyed it, but I wish there had been more of the fantasy elements woven into it.
Sri Vidya
Dec 20, 2014 Sri Vidya rated it it was ok
The book was not what I expected. It is way different from The Da Vinci Code. The mythological stuff was fun to read but I didn't quite enjoy the Black Hand mysteries or adventures. The overall plot was dull for me.
Rebecca Drury
May 03, 2014 Rebecca Drury rated it did not like it
Lead character reads short pulp fiction books and you detour from the story plot into the pulp fiction. The reason for the several detours is disjointed and not clear to me. I had to quit reading the book, and I rarely do this even when I dislike a story.
Feb 10, 2010 Fil rated it liked it
Loved the "adventure stories" spread through out the book but the Deus Ex Machina ending left me feeling lackluster.
Sep 29, 2011 Nat rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
What started out as a bit of a 'who-dunnit' ended up in the realms of somewhere else. Particularly enjoyed the forays into different writing styles.
Alex Semedo
Jul 09, 2012 Alex Semedo rated it it was ok
The only problem with this book was the ending, that was utterly confusing and unnecessary in my opinion. Aside from that, it was a good reading experience.
Booknerd Fraser
I enjoyed the noir-ish aspects of the novel, and the intercuts of the adventurers. but the left turn in to sheer mysticism, well.... not so much.
Tim Newton
Tim Newton rated it liked it
Apr 29, 2014
David Burton
Mar 26, 2010 David Burton rated it really liked it
This was pretty decent. I think the ending was a bit of a letdown, but still worth reading.
Scott rated it liked it
Sep 26, 2011
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Walking The Tree
  • Keeping the World Strange:  A Planetary Guide
  • The Nazi Occult
  • Threshold (Boundary, #2)
  • Mandibles
  • Ships from the West (The Monarchies of God, #5)
  • The Ascent of Everest
  • The Lost Scrolls (Rogue Angel #6)
  • The Mall (Downside, #1)
  • The Shadow of Reichenbach Falls
  • Blood Contact (Starfist, #4)
  • Unbroken Chain (Forgotten Realms: Unbroken Chain, #1)
  • Carpathia
  • Mutants & Masterminds: RPG
  • Excelsior: Forged in Fire
  • Drake (The Burned Man, #1)
  • A Call to Arms
  • The Ark (Children of a Dead Earth, #1)
Chris Roberson is a science fiction author and publisher based in Austin, Texas, best known for alternate history novels and short stories.
More about Chris Roberson...

Share This Book