Nick Mallory is a protagonist in one novel (The Merlin Conspiracy) and a major secondary character in another (Deep Secret). His true name is Nichothodes Euthandor Timosus Benigedy Koryfoides, and the tale of how he ended up with these two names is an important part of the plot of Deep Secret.
Nick is about 14 in the first novel (Deep Secret) and nearly 15 in the second. Neil Gaiman, in his memorial column on the death of Diana Wynne Jones, says that one of Nick's most noteworthy characteristics -- his zombie-like inability to communicate in the mornings until he's had numerous cups of black coffee followed by breakfast -- was borrowed from the same behavior of Gaiman's which had greatly amused his friend Diana Wynne Jones.
Nick in Deep SecretEdit
When Nick's cousin Maree moves in to stay with Nick's family, he's glad about it. Back when he was a young child, Maree had been roped into babysitting, and had been kind and inspirational for Nick. She would push his stroller up the hill to a park, and they'd sit together dreaming up imaginary places -- something Nick had been good at, and continued to do as he grew into a teenager obsessed with both playing and inventing video games.
Recently, he'd been working on one called Bristolia, based loosely on the mundane geography of Bristol, England, but transforming all the familar places and characteristics with magical ones. He happily sets off with Maree, who is getting ready for another attempt at her driving license, to drive all over town so he can show her the major spots in the Bristolia game. At the same moment, Magid Rupert Venables is arriving at their street to interview Maree as a possible replacement Magid candidate for his recently deceased mentor. The two cousins sense, after circling around through Bristol for awhile, that someone is searching for them, and they take evasive measures. This, and the protective dance they're doing in the street when Venables finally catches up to them, enrages him and sets the stage for a prickly relationship between him and the two Mallory offspring that lasts halfway through the novel.
Rupert initially sees Maree as gloomy, stubborn, and sometimes almost demented, and finds Nick to be one of the most self-centered people he's ever met. This estimate gradually changes, as do the reactions of both Maree and Nick to Rupert. They are all drawn into an alliance, trying to withstand evil forces both on Earth and on other worlds. Eventually it comes out that neither Nick, nor Maree, nor Nick's vindictive mother Janine/Jaleila is originally from Earth -- they're from the Koryfos Empire, and of royal lineage. As Magid Venables struggles to locate the true imperial heirs after the violent death of the present Emperor, he becomes entangled on many levels with the lives of Maree and Nick, leading to the satisfying conclusion of the novel.
One part of it, though, is not at all satisfying to Nick. He is given a chance to wish himself a future as a Magid, but is unable to do so because of something Maree does during a quest they make together. At the end of the book, which has been presented in two alternating first-person narratives from Maree and Rupert, Nick creates his own first-person narrative describing what happened on the quest. This narrative closes the novel. In its concluding pages, Nick confesses that his desire to become a Magid himself is not gone, and that he intends to become one in some other way.
Nick in the Merlin ConspiracyEdit
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