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The Oracle Betrayed

(The Oracle Prophecies #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,900 ratings  ·  136 reviews
They might not know what the future holds,
but they know they hold it in their hands.

Mirany, the newly appointed attendant to the Speaker, is untested, in fear for her life, and keeper of the god's secrets.

Seth, an ambitious scribe toiling in the shadow of the pyramid, has discovered the secret labyrinths and underground passages to the tombs.

Hermia, the Speaker, interprets
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 16th 2004 by Greenwillow Books (first published 2003)
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Yes Sen Several concepts are borrowed from Mesopotamian culture, such as the Ziggurat and lapis lazuli. Also, the scribes seem to be very important, just like…moreSeveral concepts are borrowed from Mesopotamian culture, such as the Ziggurat and lapis lazuli. Also, the scribes seem to be very important, just like they were in Mesopotamia.

The word Archon is of Greek origin, and the concept of oracle originated in classical antiquity. If my memory serves me right, the architecture of the Island is also similar to that of Ancient Greece.

There's a desert, scorpions and the scribes use papyrus for writing. These elements were borrowed from Ancient Egypt.(less)

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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  1,900 ratings  ·  136 reviews

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Apr 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Oracle Betrayed sat in my tbr pile for about three years. Finally, last weekend, I brushed the dust from it (note to self: dust tbr pile more often), and actually read it.

And it was really, really good.

It takes place in an ancient Greek kind of place, where a young girl, Mirany, is one of chosen Nine who serve the Oracle. Her land is dying from drought...but though the Archon, the god-king, gives his life as a sacrifice, the drought continues.

Mirany can hear the god speaking through the Orac
May 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So this was an awesome book! I didn't think it would be so great - I mean, check out the cover! But it exceeded my expectations! I've noticed that about books I read - if I expect less of it initially, but it turns out to be better, I give it a high rating. Likewise, if I thought the book would be awesome but it sucks, I give it a low rating. I don't think I'll change that - if you're supposed to be good and aren't, that's your problem; and if you don't seem to be good but really are kudos for y ...more
So I've tried Catherine Fisher's Incarceron before this book, and it didn't impress me all that much. This one was better, though it still didn't blow me away.


Mirany is one of the sacred nine priestesses that serve the scorpion god (he's never explicitly named). She serves as Bearer, meaning that she carries a bronze bowl containing the god in scorpion form during holy processions and rituals. The High Priestess, Hermia, hears the god's word through the oracle and interprets it. However,
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I decided to read this after I read Incarceron. I enjoyed this book more, but I have to admit that it has some of the same problems that Incarceron had. First, the setting. I do not usually like long winded, overly descriptive novels that tell you what city is north of what body of water, but the setting seemed almost nonexistent in The Oracle Betrayed. From what I understood it is an ancient Egyptian or ancient Greek type of setting. It is certainly set in a desert environment, but I would have ...more
Jan 18, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I'm giving this 3.5 stars! I really enjoyed this book, but it doesn't quite feel like a four star because I was much more interested at the end than I was in the beginning. The characters were a bit dry at first and the plot seemed rather dull, but something changed halfway through and I couldn't stop reading. There was betrayal, twists, and some really interesting character developments that happened toward the end and I feel like I need book two now. I have never read a book by Catherine Fishe ...more
Emily B.
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminds me of another Catherine Fisher book, Incarceron. Both stories involve political intrigue, such as false rulers and assassination attempts. I liked this book much more than Incarceron because I felt like more thought was put into creating the setting and characters.

The society in the Oracle series was created with a great attention to detail. The reader gets to hear about local customs and mythology. With Incarceron, we didn't get much insight into the characters' rituals or be
Rachel Wang
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
11/18: needed something not depressing to read and what better than the fiction of one's childhood to inspire that.

Somehow this is as great the third time around as the first. Tightly written and so addicting I read it all in one sitting, again.


I first read this book when I was 10 or so. Now almost a decade later, it's still really really good.

The world building is impeccable and is probably one of the best I've read so far. Catherine Fisher is not an extraneous writer, which I have a great
Melissa McShane
One of the things I like about Catherine Fisher's work is that it uses familiar stories or locations, but comes at them kind of sideways. Here, the culture is a hybrid of Greek and Egyptian; the setting, the people and the economy resemble those of ancient Greece, while the religion, with its elaborate death rituals and taboos, comes straight out of our stories of ancient Egypt. I like that Mirany, most timid of the God's priestesses, has to learn to believe in her God, while Seth, self-sufficie ...more
Aug 11, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of mythology, adventure, intrigue
The Speaker is corrupt, the Oracle has been betrayed...and I need to get my hands on the sequel. Slightly reminiscent of Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief in terms of alternate mythology, gods who speak to the characters, and intrigue. Hard to put down, and it will make you grateful for every drop of water you have access to. ...more
Oct 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this the first time when I was about ten ... Not sure I really got it. But it was great rereading it, I had forgotten nearly everything :P Except the ending. Seems to be like that with a lot of books ... well, I'm looking forward to the next one :P ...more
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ancient-egypt
I like this trilogy about Mirany - I have always had an eye for fictional stories about Ancient Egypt
Sarah Freeman
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful, unique read that tackles a question like godliness with wit and grace.
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
If we're talking books on my backlist, this one takes the cake. I was a notorious skim reader back in the ol' days, and I remember being absolutely fascinated by the scattered pieces of this book. The world-building had seemed endless and enchanting to my virgin mind. I still hold true to that, but the overall experience of this novel was more lacklustre than I recall.

Mirany, our titular character of the Oracle, was a great heroine. She was brave and resourceful with a strong moral compass; how
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book because I usually like fictional books that have their type of gods and culture with a whole new world. I was able to read my book a little bit at night before I went to bed.
The first thing that got me intrigued into the book was how the author created his own village and type of religion and mythical gods. I liked how he made these types of gods and put them in a ancient point in time that was more fitting for the book. Also It was interesting learning about these gods and wh
Anna Cavallo
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Anna by: SEASPAR Eagles Brookfield Staff
I wish more people would read Catherine Fisher's fantastic young-adult novels (and this series is a particular favorite of mine, because her made-up world is like a wonderful hybrid of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece - instead of Pharaohs, there are Archons who are living gods, and Oracles - and lots and lots of scorpions!) There's political intrigue, some great characters (I particularly like The Jackal in this one), lovely writing, and some thrilling action pieces. If you're a fan of Megan Wh ...more
Marynchan Miku
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a really refreshing book to read. I can't believe this book has been on my shelves for years and I read it only now!
The story is really interesing, full of suspense and, of course, I loved that it was based on Ancient Egypt.
The only thing I wished for was a tiny little bit of more romance as (at least the lithuanian) description mentioned how it's also meant for readers who are looking for romantic stories. But there are still two more books, so I can have hope!~
Kaiti Laughlin
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in Egypt, mythology, or elaborate mystical conspiracies, and my brother
Shelves: ya-middle-grade, own
At first, it was simply a book that was enjoyable because of the premise. But I found myself being pulled in to the mythology and the characters of this fantastic story. The motifs of this fictional culture feel Egyptian without being copycat-ish. I loved this book and the world it presents, a world where nothing is as it first appears.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The ancient greek/ancient egyptian motifs drew me in, and the story solidified it. The setting and imagery of this book is phenomenal, the characters are interesting and believable, and the story is intriguing. 5/5
Sarah P
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fischer did a great job!! It seemed to have elements of both Greek and Egyptian mythology - a very pleasant and exciting read!
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only loses a star because the worldbuilding is a little confusing. Reads smoothly. Really liked the concept of the story as well.
Avery Rowe
I liked the book, but it was a bit little too fast in places, not giving as much detail as I hoped. Otherwise it was well written and and interesting story.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! I still think about this book even years after reading it. I want so bad to finish the series!
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Some interesting ideas - such as dark and light gods who are not simple stand ins for good and evil.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So fun! The main character has the reputation of a mouse but she just needed the right incentive to become rather kick ass. The world building is interesting, the characters are varied and the story fun.
Oct 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
I read and loved Fisher’s book Incarceron, which I found to be a very smart fantasy book, so I was interested in reading what else she’d written. Mostly so I could fill the gap between Incarceron and Sapphique. This one caught my eye due to the unique mix of Greek and Egyptian cultures. Plus, working to overthrow a conspiracy? Sign me right up.

I was entertained by The Oracle Betrayed, but it didn’t quite blow me away. That’s not to say it was horrible or mediocre, but it definitely didn’t draw
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
now i am hooked. This was such a great, easy and creative book. i was hooked after the first page.

The characters were easy to fall in love with and follow, along with the story. the author made the mental visions so easy and vivid of the surroundings and the characters actions felt so real.

i would highly recommend this author and this book.
I picked this novel up because of the author, Catherine Fisher. This series preceded her popular Incarceron/ Sapphique series by a couple of years, but I had never heard of it at all. IMHO it is FAR superior material. I was delighted with the intensity of the plot, with its many threads, the development and growth of the characters, the ordinariness of our motley crew of heroes, and the writing itself. (I swear her descriptions of the drought made me thirsty.)

Mirany is a shy and somewhat awkwar
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Oracle Betrayed" is an interesting mix. It takes place in an ancient Greek/Egyptian setting, Greek style names and temples but with Egyptian-ish burial practices. Mirany is one of the Nine, the priestess at the top of the social order and right below the Archon, the incarnation of their god. Together, the Nine and the Archon are supposed to rule the land, but things have gone amiss in the Nine, and as punishment, the land has suffered from a severe drought. Mirany must work with several oth ...more
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood-books
I guess what you could say is that this book made me thirsty.
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Catherine Fisher was born in Newport, Wales. She graduated from the University of Wales with a degree in English and a fascination for myth and history. She has worked in education and archaeology and as a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Glamorgan. She is a Fellow of the Welsh Academy.

Catherine is an acclaimed poet and novelist, regularly lecturing and giving readings to groups o

Other books in the series

The Oracle Prophecies (3 books)
  • The Sphere of Secrets
  • Day of the Scarab

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  If you listen to NPR regularly, you’ve likely heard the voice of Shankar Vedantam, the longtime science correspondent and host of the radio...
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“Because sometime, somehow, the god spoke your name. You took a step too far and here you are. None of us can ever go back. Even if we wanted to.” 2 likes
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