- Gregor and the Marks of Secret
name = Gregor and the Marks of Secret
Gregor the Overlander
language = English
The Underland Chronicles
publisher = Scholastic
release_date = 1 May
media_type = Print (
pages = 352 pp
isbn = ISBN 0-439-79145-6
Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods
Gregor and the Code of Claw
"Gregor and the Marks of Secret" is the fourth book in
the Underland Chroniclesby Suzanne Collins. It picks up soon after the end of " Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods".
Gregor's mother is still recovering from the Plague in the Underland hospital in Regalia. He and Boots make regular trips to visit with her and to spend time with Luxa, Hazard and the other Regalians, and it becomes known to Gregor that the other creatures of the Underland call human Underlanders "killers", just as bats are called "fliers", or mice called "nibblers". His battle training with the gnawer (
rat) Ripred continues. Gregor is still inexperienced when fighting in the dark, and he soon learns of a surprising turn of events involving Pearlpelt the Bane, the white rat whose life he spared at the conclusion of "Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane." Pearlpelt is now of adult size and considers himself an abused victim, despite the fact of his having killed his caretaker Razor over the carcass of a cockroachand having maimed two succeeding caretakers. Pearlpelt is now under Ripred's eye, as his personal student; yet the Bane resents Ripred and desires to be king of the gnawers.
While Gregor attends Hazard's birthday party, the nibblers (
mice) send back the crown Luxa gave to them to send if they ever needed help. Gregor and Luxa try to find the nibblers, but find both of their colonies deserted. While in one, they witness a symbol, which greatly upsets Hazard. The symbol is part of an old code, "The Marks of Secret." The symbol means death for all who see it, and resemble a scythe. Ripred and Gregor saw it also, at the site where Luxa suspected the crown had been sent from. Gregor, Ares, Luxa, Aurora, Howard, Nike, Boots, Temp, Hazard, and Thalia (a young bat who was to bond with Hazard), go through the cavern system called Hades Hall to try to find the nibblers. In the Hall they witness the mass death of many nibblers, who were apparently driven off a ledge into a cavern. Here Luxa makes the "Vow to the Dead", promising she will avenge their deaths. They also choose to carve the mark of death on the wall. Here, the pick up Cartesian, the only nibbler to survive the fall. Word of the "Vow to the Dead spreads quickly, and Luxa realizes that she has just declared war on the rats.
They learn that the Bane, now the rats' leader, is planning to annihilate the nibblers and they stumble across Ripred, whom the Bane had imprisoned. They free him and witness the death of many nibblers caused by toxic gas from a volcano. (Due to the charismatic nature of the speech delivered to the gnawers by the Bane, and the genocide of the mice by toxic gas, where the rats had told them they were only going to be resettled, this seems to be an allegory for the
Holocaust.) They realize that a child's song that was sung at the party, is actually a prophecy left by Bartholemew of Sandwich. They name it "The Prophecy of Secrets". The volcano erupts, killing Thalia. Luxa and Ripred go to help the nibblers fight off the rats. Gregor goes to Regalia to warn the others of the oncomming war. The book ends with their mention of the 'Prophecy of Time' and a war starting. Gregor is prepared for the worst, and on Ripred's advice, takes Sandwich's sword from the Underland Museum, and knows it to be truly his for the fight ahead.
Throughout the book, Gregor's relationship with Luxa grows, and he begins to desire/cherish her. At the beginning, during Hazard's birthday party, he dances with Luxa, and starts to think she is pretty. Later, while the two were riding on a
bat, Luxa laid her head on Gregor's shoulder for the duration of the trip. Towards the end, Luxa asks Gregor why he is helping the nibblers, telling him they never helped him, and Gregor replied saying that he's helping them because they saved Luxa's life.
The Prophecy in this book, is carved ito the walls of an old nursery. It is a popular nursey rhyme of sorts, like Hey Diddle Diddle or Humpty Dumpty. It's meaning is unknown until about half way through, after the mass death of the nibblers at the volcano.
Dancing in the firelight,See the queen who conquers night.Gold flows from her, hot and bright.Father, mother, sister, brother,Off they go. I do not knowIf we will see another.
Meaning-This verse talks about the volcano, and the light it gives off in the dark tunnels.
Catch the nibblers in a trap.Watch the nibblers spin and snap.Quiet while they take a nap.Father, mother, sister, brother,Off they go. I do not knowIf we will see another.
Meaning-The nibblers are herded into a pit at the base of the volcano. As the poisonous gas is blown towards the mice, and away from the group by the currents, the nibblers start to writh on the ground in search of air. At the end the mice appear to be napping (according to Boots.) Whole families are killed, and they companions are concerned about the survival of the species.
Now the guests are at our doorgreet them as we have before.Some will slice and some will pour.Father, mother, sister, brother,Off they go. I do not knowIf we will see another. Gregor knows that anything can happen and he can lose his loved ones but he still takes the risk.
Meaning- This verse talks about the rat's plans to invade the city of Regalia. The rats are the guests at the gates of the city. They have never been welcomed, and will be greeted with war, as many times before. Some will slice, indicating the use of swords, and some will pour, which talks about pouring boiling oil over the wall and onto the army, which is a common Regalian tactic. The end talks about the perils of war, and how many will die.
The sequel of this book is
Gregor and the Code of Clawand it starts off with Gregor learning about the final prophecy.
The Prophecy of Time
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