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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 5 November 2002
I'm rarley dazzled by books, but Deep Secret has fantastic characters, plot and original touches which captivated and entertained every reader I've encountered. Written in the fantasy genre, there are elements of magic, other realms and mythical creatures to be found amoung the action and adventure. The intertwined storyline came together beautifully in the end, and I was astonished at the skillful writing yet disappointed that I had no more to read!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 August 2015
This is one of the most mature and lengthy novels written by Diana Wynne Jones - who ranks among my top 10 favourite authors. Primarily a children's writer, she did also write some books aimed more at adults, or at least at older teenagers. Think of the 'Discworld' demographic as opposed to the 'Harry Potter' one. I'm not sure if 'Deep Secret' counts as an adult or teen book 'officially', but really it could be read and enjoyed by anyone from the age of about 14 upwards. The principal characters are all adults, apart from one teenager, and this alone makes it seem a more 'grown up' type of novel than many of her others.

The storyline centres on Rupert Venables, who is a magid - a sort of magical policeman - living on planet Earth. As in many Wynne Jones novels, she presents the magical world as a series of parallel universes and interconnected 'worlds', some with and some without overt magic. Rupert - who is a likeable character and narrator - has two major challenges on his hands; finding a replacement for his recently dead mentor, and shoring up a crumbling empire on another world. The two ultimately become intertwined, with things coming to a head at a sci-fi convention. This setting alone seems like a tribute to fantasy fiction fans, whilst also poking some gentle fun at them.

As with all Wynne Jones books, it is engaging and easy to read, with a plot that draws you in from the start. Although not written as a comedy, her writing always offers plenty of amusing lines. It's well paced and full of interesting events and twists, although I did guess one of the twists early on. There's something comforting in reading one of her novels, in that you know that everything will turn out all right in the end. It somehow makes it easier to enjoy the story. Yet that's not to say she avoids unpleasantness - the cosy, entertaining style often hides a few little barbs of real tragedy, and this book is no exception.

I felt the plot was more complex and deep than in some of her novels (not that I'm criticising those), and she took more time over the ending - one of my criticisms of her as an author is that she tends to rush her endings. However there was none of that here. It was a really satisfying read, and I'm really sad that there will never be a sequel (she sadly died not long after this novel was published). Nevertheless, it stands alone as a strong, well written and above all very entertaining work of fantasy fiction.
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on 15 January 1999
This was the first book I had read by Diana Wynne Jones and from the back cover I wasn't too sure what to expect.
Pretty much by the second chapter I was hooked and loving it. The characters were very *real* and funny! The whole british roleplaying convention 'scene' while being hilarious, was such an accurate caricature!
I couldn't put it down til I'd finished and then was still chuckling!
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on 20 September 2000
I've loved Diana Wynne Jones' books ever since I first read Charmed Life at the age of eight, but Deep Secret is possibly the best yet. It's totally convincing, creates a completely believable magical universe and is utterly grown-up. This was without doubt the best book I read in 1998 - read it, read it, read it!
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on 17 March 2014
Yet another fantastic book by Diana Wynne Jones . What l enjoy about her writings is the magical blend of science fiction fantasy and the whiff of a detective novel as you eventually piece things together
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on 13 September 2014
My absolute favorite of her many wonderful books (and I read this one AFTER Hexwood and Howl's Moving Castle), Deep Secret is one of my great comfort books. I never have less than five copies lying around at any given time. It is the most matter-of-fact and straightforward of her stories, but at the same time one of the most inventive, and at times absolutely nightmarish (this is an adult book, although there are somewhat expurgated YA versions around)..
It also has two great main characters in Rupert Venables and Maree Mallory. They alternate the first person POV, which gives a lot of lively insight into their inner lives and motivations (which are huge in this story). I dearly wish someone would turn this into a film - it's absolutely cinematic. I dare you not to cast the characters in your mind as you read.
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on 8 May 2000
The synopsis doesn't do this book justice. Set in the present with intertwining worlds and characters, it is a well written book. The plot wends from world to world, with several strong characters - I want to read a sequel to find out how they get on - my ultimate compliment. In the latter part of the book it was amusing to follow the narrator describing a sci-fi/ fantasy Convention, which clearly he has little experience of - a neat twist on an often abused scenario.
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on 1 May 2005
Fantastic! this was the first D.W.Jones I've read and I can safely say now that it won't be the last. I cared about the characters from the beginning. I laughed a lot. I couldn't put it down (cliche I know!). There are so many fantasy writers trying to grab your attention and DWJ does this with Deep Secret. I do hope other readers enjoy this as much as I did.
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on 11 April 2014
Extremely well written, as you would expect from a DWJ novel. If you like her other books aimed at a young adult audience such as Fire and Hemlock and Hexwood you are sure to like this.
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on 25 September 2011
great characters, a gripping story told from several viewpoints, lots of humour - set at a fantasy/sci fi conference - just wonderful. I really recommend it.
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