Scholarly Paula embarks on a trip to Istanbul with her merchant father, Teodor, to purchase an ancient artefact known as Cybele’s Gift. Paula’s fervent wish to rediscover the mysterious Other Kingdom, the realm she and her sisters visited as children, has been replaced by a more practical ambition: to become a trader in books and manuscripts. But clues and whispers soon convince Paula that she has been set a magical quest. In the great Ottoman city, Paula secures the patronage of the wealthy scholar, Irene of Volos, and finds clues in Irene’s extensive library. But competition for the artefact is fierce, and danger is everywhere.
When Cybele’s Gift is finally unveiled, Paula finds herself on a wild chase by sea and land, in company with her hired bodyguard, Stoyan, and a charismatic pirate captain. Puzzles, riddles, tests of strength and of loyalty lie before them, and the price of failure is death. Along the way, there are lessons to be learned in wisdom, trust and love.
Cybele’s Secret is best read after Wildwood Dancing, to which it is a companion novel. The Wildwood books are suitable for young adult readers.
An American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults (2009)
Winner of New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award, given to the best young adult novel (2008)
Finalist in the Aurealis Awards (2007)
Finalist in the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards (2007)