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Deep Secret (Magids #1)

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  5,028 Ratings  ·  266 Reviews
All over the universe, Magids are at work to maintain the balance of magic, using their own talents to push the right people into doing the right things at the right time. And on Earth, the Magids are working hard to coax the world into its rightful place Ayewards, towards magic. Rupert Venables has been the junior Magid here for only two years when his sponsor dies; it's ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published 1998 by Gollancz (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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Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Pam Baddeley
I'm a great fan of Diana Wynne Jones' work and came to this book with high expectations. It is obviously pitched at adults and YA rather than the younger children a lot of her other work is aimed at, given the focus on two main characters in their twenties and the occasional sexual reference and one instance of f*** in dialogue, which I've never seen in her other work. However, I was left a little disappointed although there is a lot of good writing and interesting set pieces, possibly because h ...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
Book Riot Community
I’m back on a comfort reading roll, and when that happens, I always turn to Diana Wynne Jones. I’d already exhausted the usual suspects, like Howl’s Moving Castle, so I finally picked up Deep Secret. I’d forgotten how unabashedly weird and delightful it is: Multiverses, conventions, and centaurs. There is so much going on, and it is so good.

— Jessica Yang

from The Best Books We Read In January 2017:
Aug 31, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Robin Stevens
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lis Carey
Feb 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-sf
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
Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kim by: Theobroma
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
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
The narrator for Rupert sounded a little young to me, but otherwise Deep Secret worked really well as an audiobook.
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
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly clever, I adore Maree in all her blotchy sobbing glory, the magic system & the affectionate love with which the convention is described is just... wonderful. There's a really unique quality that all of DWJ's books share - no other author makes me grin quite so much!
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
LOVED rereading this!
Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with anything and everything having to do with Diana Wynne Jones, so this review might be a tiny bit totally biased.
Despite its five stars, this story had a lot of problems and holes in it that were never quite filled in. While DWJ is wonderful at world-building and character development, she has a hard time explaining what's going on; and at any given time a LOT of things are going on (poor Rupert!). The good news is that this story is just so heckin
Em (2AM Reads)
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
"This empire," he said, "was built of planks of delusion over a real cesspit."

Thank you Diana Wynne Jones for writing some of the best sentences I have ever read in my entire life, including this one.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2017
This was brilliant! Read on a suggestion from a friend and am delighted. Magic and technology is a great combination! Really enjoyed the characters and their voice acting!
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
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Althea Ann
This book is an absolute must-read for anyone who makes a habit of attending sci-fi conventions. Everyone else may find it entertaining enough, but it's really for con-goers.
Rupert Venables is a magid - a member of a secret brotherhood of magicians assigned to to different worlds throughout the various planes of existence, who are supposed to keep things running smoothly. Unfortunately, his mentor has recently passed away (although he is still with Rupert in spirit, in an advisory sort of positi
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
rereading because dwj. i feel like each time i reread deep secret, i'm struck more and more by how different the times were (a lot of casually problematic? transphobic? language etc), and not in a good way. but i have great fondness for this book, if only because it is the prequel to the merlin conspiracy

reading it in one go before bed gave me the most frightful nightmare about lactose intolerant zombie vampires that i and my co workers had to fight off with cheese sticks, salt, and apples
Stephen Theaker
Feb 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Dec 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I would have given this book four stars if it weren't for the rampant transmisogyny and fat phobia throughout. The shoehorned romance between two of the main characters and Jones' "tell not show" style, are no better. This book was marketed for adults, yet it seems like the worst part of juvenile writing. The story was mediocre at best.

I'm actually quite surprised, since I've read many other of her books (Howl's Moving Castle, Castle in the Air, most of the Chrestomanci series, etc).

Consider me
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.
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Diana was born in London, the daughter of Marjorie (née Jackson) and Richard Aneurin Jones, both of whom were teachers. When war was announced, shortly after her fifth birthday, she was evacuated to Wales, and thereafter moved several times, including periods in Coniston Water, in York, and back in London. In 1943 her family finally settled in Thaxted, Essex, where her parents worked running an ed ...more
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.” 27 likes
“Everyone always has to have the rational, scientific explanation for something, even if it's so obviously wrong you could scream.” 19 likes
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