In the eighteenth chapter of Deep Secret, I am forced to admit publicly just how horrifically wrong I was about everything. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Deep Secret.
OH MY GOD IT WAS ALL RIGHT THERE.
- “Stan first,” I said.
- NO, ACTUALLY, YOU SHOULD GO FIRST, RUPERT, SINCE YOU FIGURED THIS OUT.
- Truthfully, this was super funny to me. Rupert sets this whole thing up, saying that they need to talk, and then he’s all, “YOU FIRST, BY THE WAY.”
- Oh my god, centaur worldbuilding. Y’all know I love pretty much any kind of worldbuilding, so BLESS ALL OF THIS. It’s convoluted and absurd, especially when Stan starts to detail how centaur loyalty works because this is an actual sentence in this book: “He’ll always look after his sister’s kids before his own.” Just trying to keep track of all the levels of loyalty alone could give me a headache. But it’s important! It helps Rupert understand why the centaurs he’s met so far have acted so strangely. Who are they actually loyal to? Why did Knarros kill himself? Is Robbios telling the truth? And will this information about loyalty help Rupert located Kris?
- The reveal that centaurs can logically bend the truth threw me for a loop. Damn it, I’m going to have to go back and re-read everything they’ve said, aren’t I? I don’t know if Robbios did much of this because he was too far out of it to necessarily compose a bunch of complex, double negative lies. At the same time, Stan does point out this: “That’s another thing you should remember. Centaurs are tough. Stuff that would lay you and Nick here out for a fortnight, they get up and walk away from.” Like, say, getting hit by a car? Oh god, I hope Will is okay.
- So, there’s now the possibility that Knarros might have wanted to be Emperor. He’d isolated himself from the rest of his community, which could have been a preemptory move on his part to prepare for the job. Why was he so loyal to the Thornlady? I still have no idea what part the bush-goddess plays in all of this, but now it makes a little more sense that Maree has had dreams about her.
- Which is my sly reference to the fact that NICK AND MAREE ARE ACTUAL FUCKING HEIRS TO THE KORYFONIC EMPIRE.
- TED ISN’T THEIR FATHER
- (Which now makes a whole lot of sense, doesn’t it?)
- This whole thing suddenly just became SO FUCKED UP. Janine has known THE ENTIRE TIME that Nick was a possible heir, which explains why Nick has always been able to get away with EVERYTHING. Oh my god OH MY GOD.
- I HADN’T EVEN NOTICED THAT HE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT STRIPPING WAS WITHOUT EVER BEING TOLD WHAT IT WAS
- HOW DID I GET SO CLOSE AND YET SO FAR
- I mean, Nick is just a billion times more fascinating and understandable given all this information? Gods, could you imagine growing up with your mother secretly telling you that your dad isn’t really your dad, and filling your head with ideas about your own importance in the universe, but never producing evidence of it????
- Or how about this line: “All she ever said was that he was terribly important and I’d be important too one day when I got my inheritance. That’s not a nice feeling. I mean, he could be anybody, and it makes you feel snooty, and then you turn round and think, Why am I feeling so snooty about someone who may be horrible and may be a pack of nonsense anyway?”
- NICK MALLORY. Oh my god, as terrifying as it is that this chapter ends as it does, I really need more background on Janine. She raised Nick in a way that would 100% MESS HIM UP BECAUSE THIS IS SO MESSED UP.
- Gram White has been in Nick’s life SINCE HE WAS A KID.
- So what the hell is Gram’s endgame??? That I don’t understand at all.
- ha ha ha Babylon = Earth. I missed so many things I WAS SO WRONG. Koryfos made the Tower of Babel amidst his attempt to conquer earth, and he was stripped in the process.
- How does this all tie together, though?
- No matter, at least for now, because Nick’s impassioned plea to Rupert to use his deep secret to save Maree is one of my favorite things. Not only does it demonstrate to the reader just how much Nick loves his cousin, but it awakens similar feelings in Rupert. He can’t deny that he now wants Maree back more than anything, and he can’t deny that Stan is most likely right: it was always Intended that she be his new Magid. Hasn’t it, though? No matter how hard he tried to move her fatelines far away from his own, they kept getting tangled up.
- Shout out to my terrible theory that Andrew was behind this.
- Shout out to Diana Wynne Jones for creating a scene in which Rupert coaxes a bus station to turn into a bamboo forest, and then coaxes it back. That is such a treat of a sentence to write, I swear.
- Shout out to my inability to understand what Stan’s verse of the deep secret means. I mean, aren’t they in Babylon, technically? So how would this help Maree?
- AND THEN WE’RE BACK AT THE CONVENTION AND EVERYTHING IS SO GLORIOUS BECAUSE IT’S THE MASQUERADE. I could not imagine a more perfect setting for this story, I swear. Maree, Nick, and Rupert return to the hotel, looking absolutely dreadful, and they fit right in with all the other cosplayers. It’s brilliant.
- There’s already a rumor that Nick was the centaur going around the con. I LOVE IT.
- Oh god, Ted Mallory. In just one scene, he demonstrates how little this culture truly means to him, since he’s downright insulting to Maree and Nick about their costumes. You know, I could have accepted that he was just “suspicious” about them, but he’s repeatedly shown that he doesn’t really respect the science fiction community or these cons. And it’s kind of Cosplay 101 / Human Decency 101 that you don’t say shit to someone like Ted does here to anyone who spent time creating a costume and then choosing to wear it in public.
- I do wonder, though: How much does Ted know about what Janine has been planning? My guess is nothing at all.
- WELL, JANINE IS HERE. I NEED TO FIND OUT WHAT SHE SAYS. “Hello son, sorry I tried to murder your cousin.”
The original text contains the word “mad.”
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