Diana Pharaoh Francis: The Cipher

Welcome to the Crosspointe, the hub of the Insland Sea, where gold runs like water and the balance of politics shifts uneasily between the monarchy, the majicars, and the Merchants’ Guild–a land where dangerous majick courses through the black waters.

A member of the royal Rampling family, Lucy Trenton possesses a most unique talent: the ability to detect majick and those who wield it. She has kept her ability a secret all her life to avoid bringing scandal to her family, but lately Lucy has grown careless. When she recklessly uses her gift to locate a valuable and treacherous majickal cipher, she finds herself embroiled in a dangerous intrigue that threatens her life–and the life of every person in Crosspointe.

And to make her troubles worse, she’s also kept her secret from a most persistent suitor, dashing and mysterious ship captain Marten Thorpe. And now she desperate needs his help…

In some senses, the only thing that makes Lucy Trenton unique is her talent. She’s a woman with a job she enjoys, a close-knit if blue-blooded family, and she’s happy, more or less. But she also has the two things that all good protagonists must have: an interesting mind that Diana’s translated into an interesting voice and strength. This makes her a character who grows on you, whom you become more attached to and start rooting for.

One of the high points of the book for me is Marten, because I didn’t actually think he was going all the way with it. How many times have we read a book where the possible-hero-cum-possible-bad-guy actually commits the horrific deed? In this, The Cipher definitely does not disappoint. I’m disinclined to believe that Marten should be forgiven this quickly, or that he managed to get over his gambling addiction so easily though. Shouldn’t there be more struggle or something?

The ending of the book comes off as more of a beginning, one that will take us on a grand adventure with Marten and Lucy, and I for one, can’t wait for the next book.

The Cipher rates 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure: Diana sent me the ARC.


3 Responses to “Diana Pharaoh Francis: The Cipher”

  1. December 8, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    I’m so pleased you liked it! I’d probably have given Marten longer to be foregiven, but my editor had this problem with the length, so had to cut about 6K words. That was one of the places that got tightened. But I’m with you–I really wanted him to take this all the way and not make too swift a turn-around.

    And by the way, economics makes perfect sense to me. Totally.


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