City of Secrets
City of Secrets
City of Secrets
Book No.
Publication Date
7 July 2008
Main Character
Talian Setting
Preceded By
Followed By

City of Secrets is the fourth book in the series by Mary Hoffman. Sugar Fox is the corresponding short story with this book.

City of Secrets, as it developed, turned out to be about knowledge, who owns it and how it is disseminated or concealed. Who has control, in other words. As someone says in the book 'A secret is only something that isn't known yet.'

Mary Hoffman[1]


Matt Wood acquires an unusual book on his seventeenth birthday in this fourth novel in the "Stravaganza" series. Dyslexic Matt usually avoids reading but feels connected to the book after following eccentric classmates Georgia and Nick into an antiques store. Matt frets about attaining his parents' academic expectations and losing his girlfriend Ayesha. Falling asleep with the book, Matt awakens in an unfamiliar place which Professor Constantin explains is the Scriptorium, a printing studio at Padavia University in Talia, a country resembling Renaissance Italy.

Constantin tells Matt he is a Stravagante and the book is a time travel talisman, enabling Matt to assist Constantin print outlawed anatomy texts in the Scriptorium. Matt soon learns Georgia, Nick, and Luciano, a former schoolmate he encounters in Padavia, are also Stravaganti. Matt's adventures in Talia soon include meeting alchemist Doctor Dethridge, who initiated stravagation; Talian aristocrats; and antagonistic di Chimici family members, who desire stravagation secrets to acquire power. When restrictions against practicing magic and worshipping unapproved spirits divide the Talian community, with people risking execution by public burning for violating those laws, Matt endeavors to save the condemned.


  • Prologue: Cloak and Dagger
  • 1. Birthdays
  • 2. In the Scriptorium
  • 3. First Impressions
  • 4. Double Danger
  • 5. Spellbound
  • 6. University Students
  • 7. Against the Law
  • 8. A Date with Doctor Death
  • 9. New Allies
  • 10. The People of the Goddess
  • 11. The Evil Eye
  • 12. Consequences
  • 13. Tipping the Scales
  • 14. Two Nights
  • 15. A Face from the Past
  • 16. When is it Right to Kill a Man?
  • 17. An Anatomy Lesson
  • 18. The Watcher Watched
  • 19. A Hallowe'en Party
  • 20. Brave New World
  • 21. The Day of the Dead
  • 22. Death by Burning
  • 23. The Condemned
  • 24. The Table Turned
  • 25. The Moon in Hiding
  • Epilogue: New Beginnings
  • Historical Note
  • di Chimici family tree


Main CharactersEdit

Other CharactersEdit

Cover GalleryEdit

  • City of Secrets
  • City of Secrets, German cover
  • City of Secrets, French cover
  • City of Secrets, Dutch cover
  • City of Secrets, Finnish cover

The Series
City of Masks · City of Stars · City of Flowers · City of Secrets · City of Ships · City of Swords
Short Stories
A Talian Tale · A Sting in the Tail · An Impossible Task · Sugar Fox · The Fourth Wise Man · Under the Walls

Notes and ReferencesEdit

  • City of Secrets is the first in the series not to have a cover in the original style
  1. A Message from Mary on