The Secret Country (Secret Country Trilogy Series #1)

The Secret Country (Secret Country Trilogy Series #1)

by Pamela Dean

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What happens when your fantasy world turns real...?

Each vacation for the past nine years, cousins Patrick, Ruth, Ellen, Ted, and Laura have played a game they call the “Secret”—and invented, scripted world full of witches, unicorns, a magic ring, court intrigue, and the Dragon King. In the Secret, they can imagine anything into reality, and shape destiny. Then the unbelievable happens: by trick or by chance, they actually find themselves in the Secret Country, their made-up identities now real. The five have arrived at the start of their games, with the Country on the edge of war. What was once exciting and wonderful now looms threateningly before them, and no one is sure how to stop it… or if they will ever get back home.
"An intricate sparkling web of intrigue and magic. One of me very favorites.”—Patricia C. Wrede, author of Dealing with Dragons

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440684449
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 10/13/2003
Series: Secret Country Trilogy Series , #1
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 437,979
File size: 318 KB
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Pamela Dean ( is also the author of Tam LinThe Dubious Hills; and Jupiter, Gentianand Rosemary. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.

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Secret Country (Secret Country Series #1) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I myself was a preteen and still have my yellow-paged, torn covered copy that holds a prize position on my very crowded book shelf. I have recently let my own 12 y.o. daughter read the book, promising to treat it with special care, and she is enjoying it, too. I found the plot to be fantastic, the ideas dear to any fantasy lover's heart, the unicorns beautiful, and even now as an adult I get chills when I hear a cardinal's call. I can only hope my children will enjoy the book as much as I have.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Secret Country was one of the best books I have ever read. It had an unique and original plot and I recommend it to other fantasy lovers. It did require rereading a few paragraphs and would be difficult to understand for some younger readers but I enjoyed this book and the second and third books in the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I aboslutly love this book, and was so disappointed when it ended, everyone should read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read. A book you must read if you love fantsy.
krisiti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Um. I like a couple of Pamela Dean's other books so much, Dubious Hills and Tam Lin, that my expectations for this were a little high. But it seemed a fairly ordinary fantasy crossover novel. Some nice touches, the bits about the reality of the world, the one cousin's disbelief, the characters - but nothing particularly deep.
Imshi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The premise of this one is very interesting, but I ended up not finishing it. The writing is pretty good, and the characters interesting enough, but it didn't really draw me in. I feel a lot like maybe there was some giant, important Something I was missing out on, that would have made it very compelling - at first I thought that perhaps my book was a misprint and the beginning was left out. It just feels a bit...incomplete.
veevoxvoom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For the past summers, cousins Ruth, Patrick, Ted, Ellen, and Laura have played in an imaginary fantasy kingdom called the Secret Country. However, this year things are different. This year they stumble upon swords that take them to the real Secret Country where they are thrown right into the plots of their imagination. But is it real or is it fake? And how can they avoid the inevitable events that they themselves have created?I liked this book a lot. All five cousins are interesting characters, intelligent and literate and the kind of kids I wish I had known growing up. It would have been easy for Dean to create stock characters such as ¿the loud one¿, ¿the shy one¿, ¿the pretty one¿, etc, but she avoids such cliches and fleshes out each cousin in his or her own right. For example, Patrick is insufferable but I like him anyway. I also enjoyed the concept of an imaginary world turning real. How often have I wished for my own Secret Country? I thought Dean handled adeptly the problems and questions of such a transformation. Rather than use it just as a gimmick, she explored its implications.The Secret Country, as a place, is fairly typical fantasy fare. There¿s dragons and unicorns and kings. If you¿re looking for extensive, original world-building I don¿t think this is the right book for you. But what Dean is good at is creating a sense of mystery. The Secret Country seems banal but there is a touch of the unknown that goes along with it, questions posed but unanswered. It gives you the incentive to read on.Overall, The Secret Country is an intelligent, compulsively readable fantasy.
MeganAndJustin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The series is relatively light fantasy, with quite a few literary quotes and allusions. A fun read, with a bit more to think about under the surface. My only complaint is the seeming lack of copy-editing. Lots of punctuation errors in this edition.
boston22110 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I tried my hardest to finish this book, but I felt as if Dean just made up things as she went along. I know it's a fantasy book, but the way she put some of the "facts" of the secret world in there, it seemed so bland, and like she put forth no effort. I got all the way to chapter 8 and had to stop, I usually read a book like this in about two's been two weeks and I just can't get into it.I do not recommend this book at all.
Silvernfire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having immensely enjoyed one of Dean's other works, Tam Lin, I was looking forward to reading this, and I was disappointed that I didn't find it all that interesting. I kept waiting for the story to get going, even as I could see that I was past the halfway point of the book and that this was probably about as gripping as it was ever going to get. The children already know who the people in the Secret Country are and what's "supposed" to happen because they've been acting it out as a play for years, so there's not much for them to discover about this world, and it felt like the author forgot that the readers wouldn't know all this as well as the children do. This is the first book in a trilogy. In the last chapters, the children begin to really grapple with deeper mysteries¿wondering if they can change the story and why they've been able to come here¿and in the hopes that these issues will be developed further, I'm going to give the second book a chance at some point.
calmclam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Smart and fun. Five cousins stumble into a fantasy world almost exactly like the one they've been pretending to inhabit for years--but this world veers dangerously away from their stories even as it seems to push them to the tragic conclusion they created. Chock full of allusions and general fourth-wall shenanigans.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow! This was beautiful, dense, richly textured, and delightful. I would have loved it as a teenager, and I'm sorry I have only just read it for the first time. I am in terrible twist wanting to know what happens next.I will have to reread it - I feel that that I missed bits I will be better able to savor when I am not being carried along by story, and I have more time to enjoy the landscape.
dotarvi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The series is relatively light fantasy, with quite a few literary quotes and allusions. A fun read, with a bit more to think about under the surface. My only complaint is the seeming lack of copy-editing. Lots of punctuation errors in this edition.
matociquala on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another entry in a long and august lineage of stories about young persons transported to magical realms (The Chronicles of Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time, The Darwath Trilogy, the Fionavar Tapestry, Dragon Magic, you name it), this is a book written concisely and convincingly from the point of view of children. Its wit is sly, and its characters act like kids. They exhibit kid logic, which is wonderful in an of itself; most young characters do not think like children--magically, distractibly, their logic untrained to conform to approved societal channels.A sentence like They investigated the medicine cabinet, and derived some comfort from the fascinating behavior of hydrogen peroxide. is note-perfect. That's a kid's-eye view of the world.
amberwitch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The five cousins Ruth, Patrick and Ellen, and Ted and Laurie, are for the first time separated during summer holidays. Unable to play their invented game, the Secret Country, they end up in the Secret Country - or a very close approximation - where they meet up and take on the identities of the people they used to play in their game, trying to avoid the troubles of their game from happening.Fun story, I especially liked the way the children were unconvinced that they had actually gone to another world. The fact that these pre high school kids quoted Shakespeare and the like at each other made them very untrustworthy, and made their in other respects very well described and interesting interactions suspicious.
kcollett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Five children (cousins) find themselves in the imaginary country the history of which they have spent summers enacting for years (at least they thought it was imaginary ...). Involves missing royal children, a dear friend planning treachery, a misguided king, prophetic unicorns.
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Desdemona More than 1 year ago
I came across the first book a couple of years ago, and I absolutely loved it. Luckly all three books were out. I ended up going back to the bookstore the next day to get the second and third books, because I just had to know how it ended.