The Sphere of Secrets is book two of The Oracle Prophecies trilogy by Catherine Fisher and it picks up where The Oracle Betrayed left off. Like its predecessor, it provides an exciting adventure through a remarkably captivating and creative setting. It deepens the reader’s knowledge of the returning cast of characters and the history of the world they inhabit. The cliff hanger of an ending will leave fans waiting impatiently for the third and final book.
The Sphere of Secrets is centered around two plot lines, one involving Mirany and one involving the new Archon. At the end of The Oracle Betrayed the newly crowned Archon and the Rain Queen brought rain to the Two Lands, but event though the rain brought life saving water the drought continues. Something is not right. The Archon decides he must travel to the Well of Songs to right a wrong from a past life. This is an arduous and dangerous journey. No one in recent memory has returned from such a trip. The Archon insists, however, and decides to take the young scribe Seth, the drunken musician Oblek, and the tomb thief The Jackal and his sidekick The Fox. As they travel through the desert this group must fight the brutal environment, supernatural monsters, and their own internal demons.
While the Archon is on his quest the young priestess Mirany must deal with the political turmoil at home. The military leader General Argelin and the Speaker Hermia are out to destroy her for ruining their plot to control the Two Lands. She fears for her life. To make things more complicated the island is on the brink of war. One of The Nine – the young women who assist the Speaker in attending to the Oracle – shares Mirany’s goal of defeating the Hermia/Argelin alliance; but unlike Mirany she wants to be Speaker herself. To this end, she convinces a neighboring prince visiting on a trade delegation that the Speaker is corrupt and the Oracle compromised. As a result Prince Jamil’s fleet lays siege to the Two Lands. Mirany must maneuver through this complex mix treachery and ambition in order to do what the god wants. But who can she trust to help her? And can she truly know what is right?
The Sphere of Secrets is an exciting follow up and a great middle book in this trilogy. The plot is more complex and the characters are flushed out in greater detail. In particular, we understand a great deal more about what The Jackal is up to and where he came from. Seth is also forced to face his demons and choose what he truly values.
The action and tension is taken up a notch as the story jumps between the physical adventure and spiritual challenge of the Archon’s quest and the political and military intrigue Mirany is dealing with at home. As with the first book, the issues of where you put your faith and who can you can really trust are front and center. In facing these challenged the characters reveal a depth and complexity that is to often lacking in these type of stories.
As I noted before, The Oracle Prophecies is an exciting and creative addition to the young adult fantasy tradition. Anyone who enjoys fantasy adventure or just imaginative storytelling will enjoy Fisher’s work. The Sphere of Secrets will have fans eagerly awaiting the conclusion to this great trilogy.