The Sphere of Secrets (The Oracle Prophecies Series #2) by Catherine Fisher, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Sphere of Secrets (The Oracle Prophecies Series #2)

The Sphere of Secrets (The Oracle Prophecies Series #2)

4.8 5
by Catherine Fisher
     
 

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Everything has gone wrong.

The drought should have ended, but the land is still parched.

Mirany should be savoring her role as priestess, but someone may be trying to poison her.

Seth should know to stay away from smuggled goods, but his greed has led him to blackmail.

Alexos should stay and rule as the Archon, but his plan is to journey

Overview

Everything has gone wrong.

The drought should have ended, but the land is still parched.

Mirany should be savoring her role as priestess, but someone may be trying to poison her.

Seth should know to stay away from smuggled goods, but his greed has led him to blackmail.

Alexos should stay and rule as the Archon, but his plan is to journey to the Well of Songs — a place from which no one has ever returned.

Everything is wrong. And in the midst of such chaos, The Two Lands should collapse. But an ancient map carved into a silver sphere may be enough to make things right and save their world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Set in an ancient culture, The Oracle Betrayed, which PW called in a starred review, "a sprawling, atmospheric adventure," introduced Mirany, who became priestess of the Oracle in a land filled with corruption. Now in The Sphere of Secrets by Catherine Fisher, the Oracle Prophecies series proceeds as Mirany continues her fight to thwart the evil general Argelin. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-This second book in the series has the same power, adventure, and amazement as The Oracle Betrayed (HarperCollins, 2004). Sphere continues the story of 10-year-old Alexos, in whom an ancient god resides, and his friends: Mirany, one of the nine young women who cares for the Oracle; Seth, an ambitious scribe; and Oblek, a drunken musician. Although Alexos has been recognized as the god by his people and has been able to help them by bringing some rain, the land continues to suffer from a drought. He decides to travel through the desert to the Well of Songs, where in a previous life he caused trouble by stealing three golden apples, hoping to once again make the rivers flow. He takes Seth and Oblek with him as well as a pair of tomb thieves who seek riches in the region. As the companions face danger during their quest, Mirany is caught in a web of political intrigue and must find a way to remain true to the Oracle and follow the god's wishes. The plot includes religion, amazing beings, fallen stars that can be held in one's hand, and corruption that tears at the very heart of the entire civilization. Fisher has created an incredible, detailed, and believable setting, and the characterizations are vivid and complex. This compelling novel makes a satisfying sequel but can also stand on its own and may encourage readers to become immersed in the series.-Tasha Saecker, Caestecker Public Library, Green Lake, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Assassination attempts, double-crosses and plots within plots enliven this breathlessly paced follow-up to The Oracle Betrayed (2004). This offering finds Mirany, priestess and reluctant conspirator, and Seth, scribe and conniver extraordinaire, thoroughly ensnared in the intrigue surrounding the boy Archon Alexos-physical embodiment of the god-and General Argelin and Speaker-for-the-God Hermia, who together seek total worldly power. The trigger for this adventure is the Sphere of Secrets, offered to the Oracle by emissaries of the Emperor, whose plan to develop silver mines in the desert runs counter to Argelin's dark goals. The Sphere, it turns out, is a map to the mythical Well of Songs, and it sets Alexos, Seth, the drunken bard Oblek and the mysterious lord-cum-thief known only as the Jackal questing across the desert while Mirany stays behind to endure a siege of the City by the thwarted minions of the Emperor. The narrative cuts back and forth from storyline to storyline in a series of mini-cliffhangers-which maintain an almost painfully heightened tension right to the end-that will have readers queuing for the concluding volume. (Fiction. 10+)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060571610
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/14/2005
Series:
Oracle Prophecies Series, #2
Pages:
384
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

The Sphere of Secrets

Book Two of The Oracle Prophecies
By Catherine Fisher

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Catherine Fisher
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060571608

Chapter One

She Sees Words on the Moon

So the rumors were true. And these were elephants.

Their enormous bodies amazed Mirany. In the evening heat they stood in a great semicircle, twelve beasts, tails swishing, vast ears rippling irritably against flies. On their backs were towers, real towers of wood with gaudy painted doors and windows, within which the dark-skinned merchants sat on jeweled palanquins tasseled with gold.

From her seat before the bridge, on the left side of the Speaker, she watched the animals through the twilight. A huge full moon hung over them, the Rain Queen's perfect mirror, its eerie light shimmering on the emptiness of the desert, the fires on the road, the black ramparts of the City of the Dead. A breeze drifted her mantle against her arm; someone's thin silver bracelets clinked. There was no other sound, except, far below, the endless splash of the sea against rocks.

The central elephant was lumbering forward. Its great feet, heavy with bangles, thudded into the soft sand, the swaying mass of silver chains on its neck and ears and back brilliant in the moonlight. It wore a scarlet harness of tiny bells and immense pearls, the largestdangling between its eyes, a fist-sized, priceless lump.

Behind the mask, Mirany licked sweat from her lips. The eyeholes restricted her view, but she could see the Speaker, Hermia, and the rest of the Nine, the girls sitting rigid as if in terror, their bronze masks smiling calmly as the enormous beast neared. Next to her in the line, Rhetia fidgeted. The tall girl was alert, watching the crowd. Her fingers, light as dust, touched Mirany's wrist. "He's looking at you," she whispered.

On his pale horse, Argelin should have been easy to find. But he sat in shadow, armor gleaming, the bodyguard of sixteen huge men that never left him now, armed and facing outward. Mirany smiled sourly. There were probably others in the crowd. The general was taking no chances. And yes, his helmeted eyes were turned her way. Quite suddenly she felt exposed, unprotected. But she was as safe here as anywhere, these days.

Hermia stood. Hurriedly, Mirany and the rest of the Nine rose with her, and as the elephant came closer over the cooling sand, the smiling masks glinted under their feathers and jeweled headdresses, all color draining in the pearly light.

The great beast reached the bridge, and bowed its head. The smell of it was hot and rank, of dung and perfumes, and Mirany saw the myriad folds and wrinkles of its dusty skin, the sag of its belly as it lowered itself. She drew her breath in. For the elephant was kneeling before the Speaker. It knelt clumsily, and the thud of its great limbs in the sand sent vibrations across the wooden bridge. The rider, hidden behind the vast headdress, flicked a hand and spoke; the elephant lay right down and lifted its trunk; then it made a sound that chilled the night, a terrible brazen roar.

Hermia did not flinch, though one of the Nine -- probably Chryse -- made a moan of terror. Argelin's horse started nervously. The elephant looked along the crescent of the Nine. Its eye stopped at Mirany.

It recognizes you, the god remarked in her ear.

Recognizes?

As a friend. They are considered very wise, Mirany.

Their memories are older than any other beast.

It has such small eyes, she thought, deep-set and shrewd. As she answered she seemed almost to be speaking to the animal. Where have you been for so long? I thought I'd never hear you again.

Gods have a world to run. I have been busy.

We need you! Things are going wrong.

From the wooden howdah on the elephant, a ladder unraveled and a man climbed down. He was tall and bearded, wearing a robe of white and gold, so stiff with pearls it looked almost rigid. He put his hands together and bowed over them.

"What is it you seek here?" Hermia's voice rang across the desert.

"I seek the wisdom of the Oracle. I seek to hear the words of the god."

"From what land have you traveled?"

The answer was solemn, and measured. "From the east where the sun rises. From the Islands of Pearl and Honey, over the deep sea we bring the gifts and request of the Emperor, the Exalted, the Wise One, to the Bright god of the Oracle."

The masked face nodded. "How have you prepared?"

"By fasting, by lustration, by purification. By three days of meditation. By washing three times in the silver pool."

"What is your name?"

"Jamil, Prince of Askelon, companion of the Peacock Throne."

Hermia raised her manicured hands. Crystals glinted from her fingernails. "The wisdom of the god is infinite," she said. "The day is auspicious, the hour a sacred hour. Enter the precinct of the Mouse Lord."

Formalities over, the Prince turned and beckoned, and two more men, identically dressed, climbed down from the elephants and joined him. Behind them, Argelin's line of soldiers closed up.

The pearl merchants took out jewel-handled swords and thrust them dramatically into the sand; then they walked forward to the bridge. Without a word Hermia swept around and led the Nine and the three strangers on to the Island. They had sailed in a week ago, a fleet of vast caravels that were anchored now in the harbor, all but blocking it. Their wives wore brilliant colors, their children bracelets of pearl. The whole population of the Port had been thronging the wharfs for days, fingering the bales of merchandise, the cloth, foodstuffs, gems, ivories, exotic fruits -- bartering, stealing, arguing, tasting. Even on the Island Mirany's sleep had been broken by the bizarre trumpeting of the elephants, terrible and fascinating.

Walking now under the moon, she said in her mind, Do you already know what they want to ask?

I know.

And will she give them the right answer?

Continues...


Excerpted from The Sphere of Secrets by Catherine Fisher Copyright © 2006 by Catherine Fisher. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Catherine Fisher's acclaimed works include Darkhenge, Snow-walker, and The Oracle Betrayed, which was a finalist for the Whitbread Children's Book Award. She lives in Newport, Wales.

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