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Deep Secret

(Magids #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  5,658 ratings  ·  316 reviews
Rupert Venables is a Magid.

It's a Magid's job to oversee what goes on in the vast Multiverse. Actually, Rupert is really only a junior Magid. But he's got a king-sized problem. Rupert's territory includes Earth and the Empire of Korfyros. When his mentor dies Rupert must find a replacement. But there are hundreds of candidates. How is he supposed to choose? And interviewin
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 15th 2002 by Starscape (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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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,658 ratings  ·  316 reviews

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Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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.
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
Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Whew, I sorta feel like I've been betrayed by my own fairy godmother, but that was good.
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
Dec 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How many miles to Babylon?
Five score and ten.
Can I get there by candlelight?
Aye, and back again.
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
LOVED rereading this!
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
The narrator for Rupert sounded a little young to me, but otherwise Deep Secret worked really well as an audiobook.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dropped

This is not happening right now.

I loved Howl's Moving Castle so I was expecting to find something else to love from Diana Wynne Jones, but this one is just not for me.

@DeepSecrets and Unkindness of Magicians, how dare you deceive me with your pretty covers. :(
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
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!
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
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, fantasy, 2003, re-read
I loved this book when I read it as a teenager, but there was just too much going on plot-wise for me to easily enjoy it now. I was kinda bored. I'm usually restless when I re-read, but I thought I wouldn't be for this since I didn't remember anything. There's fatphobia in it which of course I didn't like, but it was kinda covert and micro-aggressiony. I was more offended by my boredom tbh. I probs wouldn't have kept reading if Jones hadn't added Maree's POV. Rupert was just too blah as a narrat ...more
Janna Craig
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Diana Wynne Jones is one of those authors that I’ve intentionally not read several of her books, just so I can know that there are more out there. I’ll read them eventually, but for now, I’m savoring the knowledge that there are “new” (to me) DWJ books to look forward to.

Of her books that I have read, Deep Secret is one of my favorites. I just love Nick and Maree and Rupert and I love the zaniness of the Con. This book is just plain fun, and it’s one I come back to again and again.
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.
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!
Jack Bates
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
I must have only read this once before as I really didn't remember any of it. A nice fat book with loads going on across the multiverse.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I have a sneaking suspicion I've read this before, but if so it was before I started recording books on Goodreads. The book is a gentle, slow fantasy that nonetheless kept me well hooked...until the last ten percent that felt like a rehashing of information we'd already covered. I docked a star for the pacing issue, but the book is still very much worth a read.
May 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
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
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
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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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

Other books in the series

Magids (2 books)
  • The Merlin Conspiracy (Magids, #2)
“There is very seldom any true secret.” 29 likes
“Everyone always has to have the rational, scientific explanation for something, even if it's so obviously wrong you could scream.” 21 likes
More quotes…