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Secrets of the Fire Sea [Paperback]

Stephen Hunt
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Feb 2011

A tale of high adventure and derring-do set in the same Victorian-style world as the acclaimed The Court of the Air and The Rise of the Iron Moon.

A secret grave enough to kill for…

The isolated island of Jago is the only home Hannah Conquest has ever known. But her carefree existence comes to an abrupt halt when her guardian, Archbishop Alice Grey, is brutally murdered.

Someone desperately wants to suppress a secret kept by the archbishop, and if the attempts on Hannah's own life are any indication, the killer believes that Alice passed the knowledge of it onto her ward before her head was separated from her neck.

Meanwhile, a deadly power struggle is brewing on Jago. And as Hannah digs deeper into the mystery Alice left behind, assisted by two rather different detectives, she must race to unravel a chain of ancient riddles in order to save not just her own life, but her island home itself…

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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (3 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007289669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007289660
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 394,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Hunt is a genre author who lives in Spain and the UK (scifi, crime and thrillers). He is best known for his best-selling Jackelian series of novels from HarperCollins, also the publisher of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis in the UK.

The Jackelian world is a fantasy adventure set in a far-future Earth where the passage of time has erased almost all memory of our current world from history. Electricity is now unreliable and classed as a dark power, with many of the nations of the world existing at a Victorian level of development and relying on steam-power, mechanical nanotechnology and biotechnology to survive and prosper.

It is a world of strange creatures, flashing blades, steammen servants, airship battles and high adventure.

Each novel is written as a stand-alone work, but share the same world and many of the same characters who criss-cross between the novels (a technique shared with fellow British fantasy author Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series).

Foreign language and international editions of the six novels of the Jackelian series have been sold to Tor Books (USA), Albin Michel (France), Verlagsgruppe Random House (Germany), Enterbrain Manga and Anime (Japan), Edições Saída de Emergência (Portugal), Paidós (Spain), AST (Russia), and the Anhui Literature and Art Publishing House (China).

Stephen maintains his own web site over at and when he is not writing, he can be found indulging in such interests as cooking, gardening, collecting comic-books, and building his collections of genre novels.

Product Description


Praise for Stephen Hunt:

‘Hunt’s imagination is probably visible from space. He scatters concepts that other writers would mine for a trilogy like chocolate-bar wrappers. This is Philip Pullman with a dose of benzedrine. Hold on to your hat and let yourself get carried away.’ Tom Holt

'A ripping yarn … the story pounds along … constant inventiveness keeps the reader hooked … the finale is a cracking succession of cliffhangers and surprise comebacks. Great fun' SFX

'An inventive, ambitious work, full of wonders and marvels' Lisa Tuttle, The Times

'The characters are convincing and colourful, but the real achievement is the setting, a hellish take on Victorian London … the depth and complexity of Hunt's vision makes it compulsive reading for all ages' Guardian

'Wonderfully assured … Hunt knows what his audience like and gives it to them with a sardonic wit and carefully developed tension' Time Out

Book Description

A rollicking tale of murder, mystery, mercenaries and mayhem…

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another action-packed fantasy adventure 1 Mar 2010
I have been waiting a year for the new Jackelian novel, and 'Secrets of the Fire Sea' doesn't disappoint - in fact, in many ways, this is the best novel of the four books in the series so far.

It's always great to find an author who can deftly bring extra dimensionality to their characters and Hunt manages it mainly with dialogue rather than the usual 'and the hero had blue eyes' stock descriptions.

The Fire Sea is really a murder mystery featuring a young Jackelian woman being brought up on the Black Isle of Jago, an ancient but rotting civilisation that survived the ice age by using a corrupted form of electricity to heat their underground cities. Throw in a detective parson and his steamman servant and the hoary old Commodore, and let the murderous intrigue begin.

As always, there's a breath-grabbing battle at the end of the book, which all goes to help fix Hunt's reputation as a leading fantasy writer, and his considerable talents are on display throughout the novel.

A hearty recommendation for any love of tremendous adventure stories or rocking fantasy novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back in fine form 8 April 2010
With the release of Secrets of the Fire Sea, Stephen Hunt once again proves his talent. Like the previous three books in the series this one examines his intricately created world from yet another genre (The first three being fantasy, adventure and sci-fi) while remaining in the same reality. This time Hunt has delved into the mystery genre, with a Sherlock Holmes style read. The two investigative characters are Boxiron and Jethro Daunt, a mechomancers creation and a defrocked priest (Watson and Holmes). Cue in the death of a high ranking church official in a remote island in the middle of nowhere, and the scene is set for yet another fantastic journey of action and adventure.

With a fantastic writing style that will grip you from the first to the last page, I am glad to have given Stephen Hunt the chance and read this series. Definitely one of the best authors I have come across in the fantasy genre for quite a number of years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stephen does it again 5 April 2010
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
As a fan of Stephen's writing since he won his WH Smiths competition, its always been a pleasure to see what he comes up with next. Here in the fourth instalment of the Jackelian series you get a book unparalleled by anything that's gone before. The characterisation is unbelievable, the authors prose beautiful and above all the story arc just will blow the reader away as Stephen distracts with slight of hand wordplay. A cracking title and one that will make a good number of readers sit up and pay attention.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Jackelian fantasy novels are the best fantasy series I have ever read - non stop action since Court of the Air

I am not the most prolific of review writers, but Hunt's books are fast becoming the best fantasy series I have ever read.

As usual, the plot is gripping from the start, as you are plunged into the dangerous and bizarre underground existence of Jago, a land stranded in the middle of the Fire Sea. But fortunately, the country can be reached by the trusty commodore's submarine, as he comes to the rescue of a fellow Jackelian on the island, along with a group of well-rounded adventurers.

If I have any complaints its that I will now have to wait until next year for another Hunt novel to arrive. I can barely wait.

If you are an avid reader of the fantasy genre then this book is a must-have for your library!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Cracker from the Hunt Stable 26 Mar 2010
If you are a fan of Stephen Hunt's work, then you will completely
devour this novel. I've just completed reading Secrets of the Fire Sea
in a couple of days and it was a complete joy from start to finish, a
real page flipper and a remarkable act of creation - proof that Hunt
is still at the top of his game.

Secrets of the Fire Sea is an epic saga which nimbly leaps between
multiple plot lines to keep the tension mounting and the story rolling

Does anyone know when his next novel will be released?

Jeremy Brooks
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HUNT IS ONE OF THE GREATEST! 19 Mar 2010
Stephen Hunt is one of the greatest new fantasy authors out there, hands down! I'm constantly blown away be his exquisite stories. I rarely ever buy new books (i always trade, get 2nd hand) but i have bought all of his. since i read The Court Of the Air i've been helplessly hooked
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best in the series since "Court of the Air" 15 Mar 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the fourth book in Stephen Hunt's series about a far future world, dominated by the Kingdom of Jackals (the others were The Court of the Air, The Kingdom Beyond the Waves and The Rise of the Iron Moon. According to Hunt's website, he's writing a fifth, which may be called "Jack Cloudie".)

I'd unreservedly say that it's the best since the first one. Like "The Court of the Air" it concerns an orphan (Hannah) threatened by mysterious forces and trying to find the secret of her own history, on which her survival depends. This time, however, the Court doesn't hover in the background (it was destroyed by alien invaders in the last book). This time, too, unlike in the last two volumes, the action is relatively focused, taking place mostly on the distant, arctic island of Jago, where a decaying civilization clings on, living underground and besieged by "monsters". How this came about, and what the monsters really are, are two of the secrets that Hannah discovers. This focus makes it a more satisfying (and credible - for certain values of credible!) book, as does the fact that neither the planet nor the Kingdom of Jackals are overrun or threatened with destruction by evil alien forces (I was beginning to wonder how many times that could happen and leave any semblance of normality...)

This book is pretty much standalone, though my favourite character from the earlier books, the swaggering, self-pitying submariner Commodore Black, reappears (nobody else puts in more than a brief appearance).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Confusing at best, a gory mess with lost oppportunities at worse.
As the other reader who has rated this a one star, I found this very difficult and confusing to get into. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Shamanic Soul
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, just awful!
I feel I must write a few words because I disagree so completely with the other reviews I've seen here. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Sophia
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful addition
Very happy to read this installment in Stephen Hunt's world, and it did not disappoint! I wish the cover art was the same concept as the earlier books, but that's another story. Read more
Published on 6 Jun 2011 by John J. Reed Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars Faith Restored
What is it with Hunt that all his most human characters are made of metal and eat charcoal! So then, welcome to world Jackalian 'Boxitron', sidekick and metalic muscles to a mystic... Read more
Published on 22 May 2011 by Mr. A. I. Harrison
4.0 out of 5 stars Hunt's usual high standards are met
You have to admire Mr Hunt's ability to turn out these consistently strong, engrossing fantasy adventures. Read more
Published on 13 May 2011 by J. Beavis
3.0 out of 5 stars Matt's review - Secrets of the Fire Sea
Good yarn in keeping with the author's previous boks. Some old characters re-surface but in a different part of the world so gives a new perspective on things. Read more
Published on 27 Sep 2010 by Matthew
4.0 out of 5 stars Secrets of the Fire Sea
Fantastical and completely enjoyable.

The latest novel in the Jackelian series, Secrets of the Fire Sea, is
an utter treat from start to finish. Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2010 by Angela
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