Cybele's Secret

Cybele's Secret

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FOR PAULA, ACCOMPANYING her merchant father on a trading voyage to Istanbul is a dream come true. They have come to this city of trade on a special mission to purchase a most rare artifact—a gift from the ancient goddess, Cybele, to her followers. It’ s the only remnant of a lost, pagan cult.

But no sooner have they arrived when it becomes clear they may be playing at a dangerous game. A colleague and friend of Paula’s father is found murdered. There are rumors of Cybele’s cult reviving within the very walls of Istanbul. And most telling of all, signs have begun to appear to Paula, urging her to unlock Cybele’s secret.

Meanwhile, Paula doesn’t know who she can trust in Istanbul, and finds herself drawn to two very different men. As time begins to run out, Paula realizes they may all be tied up in the destiny of Cybele’ s Gift, and she must solve the puzzle before unknown but deadly enemies catch up to her. . . .

Full of romance, danger, magic, and suspense, this is a story to excite the most adventurous spirit.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739379363
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/01/2008
Series: Wildwood Dancing Series , #2
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

JULIET MARILLIER is the author of several highly popular fantasy novels for adults, including the Sevenwaters Trilogy and the Bridei Chronicles. She is also the author of the teen novel Wildwood Dancing, featuring many of the same characters as Cybele's Secret.

Read an Excerpt

The deck tilted to port, and I tilted with it, grabbing at a rope to keep my balance. One day out from Constanta, the wind had turned contrary and the waters of the Black Sea rose and fell under the Stea de Mare’s belly like a testy horse trying to unseat its rider.

“You have excellent sea legs, Paula,” my father commented. He stood perfectly balanced, a veteran of more merchant voyages than he could count. This was my first.

The sail crackled in the wind. The crewmen, grim-jawed and narrow-eyed, were struggling to keep the one-master under control. When they glanced my way, their expressions were hostile.

“It unsettles them to have a woman on board,” my father said. “Ignore it. It’s superstitious nonsense. They know me, and you’re my daughter. If the captain doesn’t like it, he shouldn’t have accepted my silver.”

“It doesn’t bother me, Father,” I said through gritted teeth. Having good sea legs didn’t mean I relished the bobbing motion of the boat or the constant drenching in salt spray. Nor did I much care for the sense that if the Stea de Mare sank, these sailors would put the blame on me. “Is this going to delay us, Father?”

“It may, but Salem bin Afazi will wait for us in Istanbul. He understands what this means for me, Paula–the opportunity of a lifetime.”

“I know, Father.” There was a treasure waiting for us in the great city of the Turks, the kind of piece merchants dream of laying their hands on just once in their lives. Father wouldn’t be the only prospective buyer. Fortunately, he was a skillful negotiator, patient and subtle.

When he had first agreed to take me with him, it had been to allow me to broaden my horizons now that I was in my eighteenth year, to let me see the world beyond the isolated valley where we lived and the merchant towns of Transylvania that we sometimes visited.

But things had changed on the journey. Just before we were due to embark, Father’s secretary, Gabriel, had tripped coming down a flight of steps in the Black Sea port of Constanta. The resultant broken ankle was now being tended to in the physician’s house there while the Stea de Mare bore Father and me on to Istanbul. It was most fortunate that I spoke perfect Greek and several other languages and that I had Father’s full trust. While I could not take Gabriel’s place as his official assistant, I could, at the very least, be his second set of ears. It would be a challenge. I could hardly wait.

The wind had brought rain, the same drenching spring rain that fell on our mountains back home, flooding streams and soaking fields. It scoured the planks of the deck and wrapped the ship in a curtain of white. From where I stood, I could barely see the sail, let alone the bow cutting its way through choppy seas. The crew must be steering our course blind.
Father was shouting something above the rising voice of the wind, perhaps suggesting we should go below until things calmed down. I pretended not to hear. The tiny cabins we had been allocated were stuffy and claustrophobic. Being enclosed there only emphasized the ship’s movement, and one could not lie on the narrow bunk without dwelling on how exactly one would get out should the Stea de Mare decide to sink.

“Get down, Paula!” Father yelled. A moment later a huge, dark form loomed up behind us. A scream died in my throat before I could release it. Another ship– a tall threemaster, so close I screwed my eyes shut, waiting for the sickening crunch of a collision. It towered above us. The moment it hit us, we would begin to go down.

Running steps, shouts, the clank of metal. I opened my eyes to see our crew diving across the deck, snatching implements to fend off the approaching wall of timber. Everyone was yelling. The helmsman and his assistant heaved on the wheel. I clutched on to Father, and the two of us ducked down behind the flimsy protection of a cargo crate, but I couldn’t bear not knowing what was happening. I peered over the crate, my heart racing. 

Aboard the three-master, a motley collection of sailors was busy hauling on ropes and scrambling up rigging while an equally mixed group had assembled by the rail, long poles extended across and downward in our direction. There were about two arm’s lengths between us.

“Poxy pirate!” I heard our captain snarl as he strode past. A shudder went through the bigger ship, as if it were drawing a difficult breath, and then the two vessels slid by one another, a pair of dancers performing a graceful aquatic pavane.

The wind gusted, snatching my red headscarf and tossing it high. As the scrap of scarlet crossed the divide between the boats, I saw a man set a booted foot on the rail of the three-master and swing up with graceful ease to stand balanced on the narrow rim. He took hold of a rope with one casual hand, then leaned out over the churning waters to pluck the scarf from midair while the ship moved on under full sail. The sailor was tall, his skin darker than was usual in my homeland, his features striking in their sculpted strength. As I stared, the fellow tilted himself back with the ship’s natural movement and leaped down to the deck, tucking the red scarf into his belt. He did not glance in my direction. The big ship moved away, and I saw its name in gold paint on the side:Esperança.

“Close,” muttered Father. “Altogether too close.” 

Despite my pounding heart, I felt more intrigued than frightened. “Did the captain say pirate?” I asked, unrealistic images of weathered seafarers with exotic birds or monkeys on their shoulders flashing through my mind.

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Cybele's Secret 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
once-upon-a-time-bp More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Wildwood Dancing immensely, and finding out that Cybele's Secret was coming out was thrilling! I read it in a short time and wished it had not ended! It is such a wonderful book; the characters are wonderful and easy to relate to. I fell in love with Stoyan the moment he come into the story. Throughout, the whole book it remained exciting and different. I have read nothing like this before, it is unique in every way! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good, wholesome romantic and adventurous story. Marillier, has once again written an extraordinary tale! I can't wait to read this over and over again!!!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Paula couldn't be more excited to be arriving in Istanbul with her merchant father, where she'll be assisting him in obtaining a valuable and mysterious artifact of the ancient goddess Cybele. If all goes well, she may finally be able to pursue her dream of starting a book-trading enterprise.

To her dismay, trouble awaits them the moment they disembark. Her father's trusted trading adviser has been murdered, and the secrecy surrounding the artifact has grown even more difficult to penetrate. If Paula's suspicions are correct, the glimpses she's caught of her sister, who vanished into the Other Kingdom several years ago, mean the folk of magic and myth have their own stake in the unfolding events.

Complicating matters are a dashing ex-pirate with an intense interest in Paula, who may or may not be as ruthless as he is charming, and the powerful yet gentle bodyguard Paula's father hires to watch over her, whom Paula cannot help feeling drawn to despite knowing they are worlds apart. As Paula struggles to make sense of the signs her sister sends her and to help her father obtain Cybele's Gift, the three are pulled into a quest more dangerous than any of them could have imagined.

Not all friends can be trusted; not all enemies are what they seem; and the folk of the Other Kingdom don't often give second chances. It's up to Paula to get her companions through this adventure alive, and to find the right path for her own heart.

Fans of Marillier's WILDWOOD DANCING will enjoy catching up with the family via Jena's younger sister, and happily devour this new tale of the Other Kingdom. Though somewhat slower-paced than WILDWOOD DANCING, CYBELE'S SECRET doesn't skimp on adventure or romance. Paula is a strong and resourceful heroine, who admits her mistakes when she makes them and doesn't let her fears stand in her way. The settings are so vivid readers will feel as if they're traveling through Istanbul and the Other Kingdom with them.

If you loved WILDWOOD DANCING, don't hesitate to snatch this one up!
bell7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Though the sequel to Wildwood Dancing, this could probably be read as a standalone. Narrated by Paula, the fourth of the five sisters that used to dance in the Other Kingdom every full moon, who travels with her father to Istanbul. Now barred from returning to the Other Kingdom and with three sisters married, scholarly Paula works as his assistant in procuring an ancient artifact known as Cybele's Gift. The mystery of what this gift entails entices Paula to search for clues in the library of Irene of Volos and tries to help her father best other bidders like the pirate Duarte, while under the protection of her bodyguard, Stoyan.Paula was an well-developed character. The story had an interesting premise and moved steadily towards the climax, but the book didn't live up to my expectations. Early on, it became clear to me that there two male characters liked Paula and she would ultimately decide between the two of them. I also became irritated at how many times Paula says "instinct told me" or "my instincts," the constant repetition of which had me rolling my eyes by the end. I wanted a little more of the fun and slow discovery of fractured fairy tales involved in Wildwood Dancing. I still don't know quite where the overarching story is going, so I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
cmbohn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Themes: adventure, love, religion, equality, the Other WorldSetting: Istanbul and Eastern EuropePaula's setting off on her own adventure. The first book in the series, Wildwood Dancing saw Paula's sisters Jena and Tati have their own adventures, and now it's her turn. Paula sails off to Istanbul with her father. When she arrives, she finds herself in a totally different society, where women live a much more restricted life. Her father is in search of a religious artifact named after the pagan goddess Cybele. But it looks like others are also after the artifact, and they won't stop at anything, not even murder, to get their hands on it first. Fortunately, her new bodyguard Stoyan is on hand to keep her out of trouble.I really liked the romantic tension in this one. Paula is a great character and I loved the setting. If you liked the first one, try this one. It's not based on any specific fairy tale like the first book, but it's still truly magical. 4.5 stars.
meerka on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier - Always read the sequel first! I'm a sucker for the new book section and rarely stop to see if there's a book I should have read previously. The book does have a great cover, incidentally, Kinuko Y. Craft whom I'll be Googling. Cybele's Secret will be enjoyed by teens who've matured beyond Theodora Throckmorton, and by mothers who aren't ready for teens to be reading Libba Bray's The Sweet Far Thing. I'm always tickled by how relevant my reading choices seem to be so reading about Cybele's Gift so close to the announcement of the female fertility figure discovery was appropriate.
Nevris on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is the sequel to 'Wildwood Dancing', a book which I enjoyed immensely. For a sequel, it's pretty good and moves in fairly original directions, away from the first book. Overall, I loved this book. I love Marillier's writing, I loved Paula as a character (like I enjoy almost all her characters), and I loved the tests and puzzles to do with the Other Kingdom.Still, I've given it 'only' four stars. Why? Because I'm beginning to get bored by these typical love-stories Marillier keeps chucking at her readers. I loved the characters in this one, I loved the quest, but I didn't care one iota for the umpteenth True Love Overcomes All Obstacles storyline. These remain a heavy constant in Marillier's work, which is otherwise quite varied and original, and it's really beginning to bug me. More so in this one than in the previous one, since Jena seemed more of a lovey-dovey kind of woman than Paula. All along we're told how independent she is, how she wants to make her own future, blablabla, yet in the end even this independent girl can only become truly happy once she's met the right guy. Yuck.I read in another review that Paula is presented as a different character from Marillier's other heroines, but that this isn't followed through believably throughout the book, and I tend to agree with it. Paula is a very feminine, intuitive woman, just like Jena, Sorcha, Liadan and Tuala before her. She follows her heart, falls for big hunky guys, makes choices on instinct and pines away without her True Love. I don't particularly mind, since I like this kind of intuitive character, but it is incongruous that all the other characters in the book seem to think her so scholarly.However, I loved the storyline about Cybele's Gift, and the way that was resolved. The storyline about Tatiana is left partly open, and there are suggestions of a sequel about Stela. Since Stela remarks she 'doesn't particularly want a true love', I'm hoping against all hope that that book will have a less silly, romantic ending. However, even if it does, I'll still enjoy it anyway. ;)
susiesharp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First off I love Juliete Marillier that being said.This book was such a slow read the first 200 pages I really had a hard time getting through but since I know this author is good I hung in there the last 100 pages were much better when you finally got to the actually quest.The ending was predictable except for 1 thing*no spoilers*.All in all not a bad book but definatly not one of her best.If your just discovering Miss Marillier stick to Sevenwaters & Wolfskin!
miepje on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because I really liked the previous book "Wildwood Dancing". I liked to read this story too, tough I liked "Wildwood Dancing" better. "Cybele's secret" is an easy to read book and it's written very well. I think it's especially written for teenage girls, but other people can read it to... : )
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this "companion novel" to Wildwood Dancing Marillier returns to the theme of the quest. Paula, the youngest of the sisters but one, accompanies her father on a trading mission to the city of Constaninople. They are in search of the Cybele's Gift, an artifact of unknown age and origin. The artifact is the subject of several legends, promising either great prosperity or chaos and darkness. Paula's fate entwines with two others, and she must brave the challenges set by those of the Other Kingdom if she is to gain her heart's desire and see Cybele returned to her rightful place.An excellent sequel - it was lovely to see what's become of the family since the first book, and it seems there will be more to come, given a few loose thread yet to be wrapped up by the end.
willowsmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a companion novel to Wildwood Dancing, an adaptation of the story of the 12 dancing princesses. This story is set almost in it's entirety in Istanbul, and deals with the adventures of Paula, one of the youngest sisters from Wildwood Dancing. Paula travels to Istanbul to aid her father in the acquisition of a fabled artifact from an extinct religion which worshiped the goddess Cybele.I love, love, love Juliet Marillier: her reinvention of classic fables and tales, the depth of her knowledge of Irish, Celtic, and (now) Muslim cultures, and the vibrancy with which she paints her characters and settings. Marillier writes the types of characters that stay with me when I'm not reading; I found myself thinking of Paula on and off since I started this novel. I devoured this novel, in as close to one sitting as I can manage these days. Although the setting was very different from what I normally associate with her tales, I found the vibrancy of Marillier's Istanbul--especially though Paula's eyes as she is exposed to Muslim culture for the first time--fascinating. It's a very touching love story, as well...while perhaps not as strong as Wildwood Dancing or Daughter of the Forest, it brought me a smile and the sense of zen that comes from finishing a great story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Constantly amazed how this writer catches my attention and never loses it. Loved all the characters
Ann_W More than 1 year ago
I had read the predecessor to "Cybele's Secret" because I saw it in a bookstore and liked the author. Also, I found it interesting that the book was inspired by the fairy tale of the twelve dancing princesses. At first I didn't realize that there was a sequel. It did not appear to be available in any store I visited, perhaps because it was published a number of years ago. I'm very glad that I tracked it down online. Juliet Marillier creates great characters and stories in all her novels, including this one. She is influenced by old myths and fairy tales, but she gives them new life in her fantasies. This book is supposedly for children, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first book was a little slow in the beginning, but the more I read it, the more I just couldn't put it down. Very good book altogether.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books. Like Wildwood Dancing it was worth every penny. I just wonder when and if a third book will come out Cybele's Secret ends implying there is a third but it has been a couple years and I can't find anything on the internet about another book.
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Madelyn Gray More than 1 year ago
i really enjoyed this book and was not dissapointed. it is a lot like wildwood dancing, except better. a must read, however, you should read wildwood dancing first.
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