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Secret Sacrament (Secret Sacrament, #1)
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Secret Sacrament

(Secret Sacrament #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  718 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Terrified, a young Navaron child watches helplessly from his hiding place as a young Shinili woman is brutally beaten and abused by a group of drunken Navaron men. Too frightened to answer her pleas for help, the child runs away, taking with him the sacred bone carving of the Shinili people. In doing so, he forever binds himself and his fate to them. Gabriel is no ordinary ...more
Paperback, 382 pages
Published January 2003 by Eos (first published 1996)
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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  718 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Jan 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Checked out from library. After reading several non-fiction books I was hoping to find something easy and fun in fantasy. This book was a gamble and I didn't really get what I wanted, but there was no great loss.

Overall, I liked the book in the way one likes a book of tropes. There's something familiar and easy about it. A three is the most I could give it though. It was a meh plot line, meh story, meh writing, meh characters with a touching ending.

Jordan tried to cover a lot of ground in one bo
Oct 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Secret Sacrament struck me as an odd amalgamation - as if Louisa May Alcott wrote an epic fantasy screenplay for Disney. Most of the novel reads as a simple, relatively staid middle grade level coming of age story, but it occasionally lurches into scenes of sex and violence. Gabriel, the healer trainee protagonist, was too much of a vanilla goody-two-shoes for my taste, and in general both characters and cultures were painted in too broad of strokes for me. For example we were told the main vill ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sort of YA-ish, but a good story.

It does remind me of a nursery rhyme about the little girl with the curl, right in the middle of her forehead. The good people in this book are very, very good, almost saintly. The bad ones are...horrid. Baddies who are so bad they practically wear black hats, and rub their hands together while cackling Buwahahahaha!
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Low-magic fantasy. Liked the premise of viewing everything through a healer's perspective. Feels like it was written under the direct influence of Dances With Wolves, particularly when one looks at the original publication date. Makes me interested to find out the conclusion in the sequel. Bitter-sweet.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reads
Yeah, really enjoyed reading this book again! I knew what was going to happen, but I enjoyed the journey, and I can't wait to reread his daughter's journey!
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just so spiritual and beautiful.
Ryan Williams
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book. I read it in high school, and felt so connected and inspired by the main character, I don't think I will ever read the same way again.
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Gabriel has never been the son his father wanted to have. On his father's death, Gabriel relinquishes his role in the family's trading company in order to become a healer. Despite his natural talent and astonishing success, Gabriel remains troubled by the dying woman he refused to help when he was a child. But Gabriel is part of a prophecy, and his actions will shape the future of two nations.

Gabriel is an engaging main character. His terror as a child caused him to make a decision he forever re
Gabriel, oldest son of a noble house in Navora, is expected to take over the family business when his father dies suddenly. He wants nothing to do with it. He wants to be a healer. Gabriel gets his way and becomes a well-known and respected healer. When his brother is brutally murdered, Gabriel gets a rare chance to visit his family in the farming community.

While running for exercise one morning, Gabriel encounters a woman of the Shinali tribe. Ashila and Gabriel feel an instant connection. He f
L. Petunia
Sep 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I re-read this about 10 years after I first read it because I recently read the sequel, The Time of the Eagle. I bumped the rating up to 4.5

I think this is one of my favorite Jordan books, and I do like it slightly more than the sequel, but yes, I'd forgotten how BADLY this book needed a sequel with that ending, wow. The villain is a little flat, but not as flat as he is in the sequel since we spend more time with him. It's not heavy on the action, but there's just something about this world and
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting story about a boy who decides he wants to heal and help and what he has to do to fulfil that wish.

Gabriel saw an attack on a helpless Shinali woman, the tribe his people are supressing, have invaded. This has stayed with him all his life. She gives him a bone, this bone reminds him of her and gives him strange visions.

When he has an opportunity to meet with some Shinali he finds that things aren't as straightforward as he may have been lead to think.

There are moments where it's a
A seven-year-old boy witnesses a brutal attack on a woman from another tribe. He takes a bone carving from her as she lays dying and is wracked with guilt for years. A prohecy from his own nation and the tribe 'Shinali' drive his destination.
At 14 Gabriel declares at his fathers funeral he wants nothing to do with his family's business and wishes to becom a healer. As the prophecy unfolds Gabreil finds great honour in the healing Citadel with the empress, treachery, murders, plague, battle evil
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers, original concepts
This book holds a powerful thought process. It makes you think about what each object in this book symbolizes in this world. And how exquisite, the ending, the death, and yet the beginning of the Time of the Eagle. The sacrifice, the love, the charming way this novel weaves the tale of Gabriel. The richness and the quality of the cultures and ways of life; the amazing characters who steal your hearts.

This book is entirely worthy of five stars. It will forever be amongst my list of the Greatest B
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star, 2009, ya
I loved this story. It is a "high lot good." You'll have to read it to understand that phrase.
The story of Gabriel, a young healer, is wonderfully told. Gabriel is a great character, clearly and sympathetically drawn as are the members of his family, teachers and the people of the Shinali tribe.
This has an ending that was completely unexpected, right for the story but definitely shocking.
This is a book I will re-read and recommend to other's looking for a thoughtful and entertaining read.
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
This book was unbelievably hard to read. The story is beautifully and lyrically written. I felt that the author believed every word she wrote. It’s a tale of sacrifice and love and of giving of yourself when it’s the hardest thing to do. I was very moved by this book. There are only two things I would wish differently of it: One, I felt that the prophecy needed to play out a bit more. And Two, I thought that the antagonist needed to come to a nasty end.
Nov 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I would give this book 4 stars simply for how well it managed to engage my emotions. However, I couldn't say that I liked it. It was a very anxious read for me. I thought I knew which direction the story was going to end and I didn't like it. I almost lay the book down for fear of the ending. The main character in the story was the only one I didn't find believable. The story is well-written.
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brett Price
The book reminds me of a Poccahontas story of some sorts. The young man in the story line is so gentle and i love it. I wish i could have the same hardworking mentality and dedication. Its funny like every time he is faced with a problem, he runs!! I could never live and die the way he does it kills me!! LIke he just lies down and dies!! I mean who does that!! Besides that its a good book especially for anyone who is interested in fantasy or historical fantasy kind of books.
Jul 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Heather
Recommended to Paula by: Goodreads
Shelves: sad-but-good
Typically Sherryl Jordan - thought-provoking, emotional and heart-rending. Very well written. I will probably never read it again, because I prefer my books a little happier, but I would recommend it to any fan of hers. I was particularly touched by the scene where Myron and Gabriel walk through the valley together.
May 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 12 and up
I love this book. It's a great fantasy read and is considered a children's book but I would recommend it to kids 12 and up. It's one that I read in middle school and am lucky to have gotten a hardback copy. I have read it several times and am actually reading it now. The plot is different and original and the main characters likeable. It's wonderful.
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is my all time favorite book! I first read it when I was 13 and have read it multiple times since. I think it is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. The completion of the story in the sequel was equally beautiful. Sherry Jordan had me spellbound. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Jul 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I was surprised how much I liked this book! I thoroughly enjoyed the author's description of energetic healing. It reminded me that the power of thought is a very important part of getting better. I've been reading so much chick-lit lately, it was nice to have the story told through a male perspective, too.
Aug 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Revised edition.
Gabriel is part of the wealthy ruling elite (Navoran) whose life is forever altered by witnessing the beating of a woman of the 'lower' Shinali race.
Gabriel has a destiny to work towards changes to society, fulfilling the prophecy that a Navoran man will help the Shinali reclaim their native land.
I can't wait for to read the sequel - Time of the eagle
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
This book caught me by surprise. I enjoyed the developemnt of the main character and his morality. It somewhat tugged at me to be better. Worth the read and even a second perusal. Recommend to anyone.
Peter Stuart
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sherryl Jordan's ultimate skill made a fictional time and place seem very real. The story had me gripped from beginning to end. This book is a must for anyone who likes the inspirational fictional genre with a spiritual theme running throughout.
Aug 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I really like her style of writting. This story is about different cultures clashing and about fearing others who look and behave differently than you. There is some cool magic powers in the characters too. There's also a good love story in it.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent fantasy with a rich, beautiful setting and compassionate characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I read it a few years ago and wasn't aware there was a sequel, now I have something to look forward to! ;D
Oct 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all
Recommended to Katelyn by: mom
It was a little slow and confusing at times, but the story was wonderful. I can't wait to read the second one.
April James
Jan 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is one of my favorite books of all time.
Cody Sexton
Nov 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
THis book gave me a new view on life i recommend to all.
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Award-winning New Zealand author Sherryl Jordan began her writing career with picture books, but soon moved on to novels for older readers. Her breakthrough came with Rocco, published in the United States as A Time of Darkness, and since that time she has gone on to pen many more titles for young adult and juvenile readers that have been published both in her native New Zealand and throughout the ...more

Other books in the series

Secret Sacrament (2 books)
  • Time of the Eagle (Secret Sacrament, #2)
“People don't lose their lives, Your Majesty. Their lives are taken from them, or else they lay them down themselves."
And which will be your fate, Gabriel?"
I'll lay mine down, Lady.”
More quotes…