Rosa and the Veil of Gold

Overview

When an ancient gold bear is found walled up in a dilapidated St. Petersburg bathhouse, researcher Daniel St. Clair and his frosty colleague Em Hayward set out for the university in Arkhangelsk to verify its age. Along the way they are mysteriously set adrift. Maps are suddenly useless. Lost and exhausted they turn north, sinking even deeper into the secrets and terrors of the Russian landscape.

Daniel’s lost love, the wild and beautiful Rosa Kovalenka, fears the worst when ...

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Overview

When an ancient gold bear is found walled up in a dilapidated St. Petersburg bathhouse, researcher Daniel St. Clair and his frosty colleague Em Hayward set out for the university in Arkhangelsk to verify its age. Along the way they are mysteriously set adrift. Maps are suddenly useless. Lost and exhausted they turn north, sinking even deeper into the secrets and terrors of the Russian landscape.

Daniel’s lost love, the wild and beautiful Rosa Kovalenka, fears the worst when Daniel goes missing and resolves to find him. To do so will mean confronting her past and secrets that she has fought to suppress. The only way to save him is to go forward, where she encounters the haunted Chenchikov clan, a family with their own shadowy tangle of grief, desire, and treachery.

In the unknowable, impenetrable Russian forest, Rosa meets an enigmatic wanderer who is full of tales and riddles of times past. Who might hold the key to Rosa and Daniel’s future—or the destruction of their world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Aurealis-winner Wilkins (The Autumn Castle) refracts Russian history through a brilliantly jeweled kaleidoscope of folklore in this sparkling tale. Papa Grigory, a powerful shape-shifting creature who claims intimate familiarity with Russian celebrities from Konstantin to Rasputin, narrates the story of the Golden Bear, a magical statuette. When human enchantress Rosa Kovalenka finds the Bear hidden in the wall of a Russian bathhouse, the Bear sends Rosa's lover, Daniel, and his boss, Em Hayward, to Skazki, the fabled "land of enchantments." There they struggle to survive encounters with mythic Russian creatures banished across the veil centuries ago by foolish humans. Rosa must learn to use her magical inheritance and solve the riddle of the doomed Snow Queen to save her human friends and keep Skazki from oblivion. Wilkins's human characters are endearing and her mythic monsters spring into vibrant life. Adult fairy tales don't come any better than this. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

The discovery of an ancient gold bear hidden in the walls of a St. Petersburg bathhouse brings researchers Daniel St. Clair and Em Hayward to verify its age. On their way to the university in Arkhangelsk, however, they lose their way; maps become useless, and they have no choice but to venture on-and into an unfamiliar, strange Russia. Seeking Daniel, his lost love Rosa ventures forth into her own mystical journey, confronting her past in an attempt to save Daniel's-and possibly the world's-future. The Australian author of The Autumn Castle again blends dark urban fantasy with adventure/intrigue in a story that combines Russian myth and modern sensibilities. For most libraries.
—Jackie Cassada

Kirkus Reviews
A real fairy tale, in traditional, bloody style. A thousand years ago, a princess of Russia chose Christianity, rejecting the pagan gods, demons and magic of her people. As a result, Russia split into two, dividing into Mir, the world of men, and Skazki, the world of story. In the present day, a mysterious golden bear figurine is unearthed from an old St. Petersburg bath house. It transports Em, a curiously cold television presenter, and Daniel, a lovelorn script editor, into Skazki. Meanwhile, Daniel's former lover Rosa, a woman with second sight and a terrible secret, apprentices herself to a treacherous wizard to gain the knowledge to bring Em and Daniel back to Mir. Wilkins (The Autumn Castle, 2004) uses an extensive knowledge of Russian folklore to create a viscerally real Skazki; no candy-colored Disney paradise, it's unpleasant, uncomfortable and extremely dangerous. There are no brave heroes or absolute villains in this book, just people (and entities) doing what they need to do (be it unethical or disgusting) to survive and preserve their loved ones. And magic, while a useful and powerful tool, always exacts its price. These strictures make for superlative world building and a plot that leads to a perfectly inevitable conclusion. Intriguing, genuine, rich.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780732274085
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Australia
  • Publication date: 7/24/2006
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Kim Wilkins is an Australian bestseller who has won an Aurealis Award for both Best Horror Novel and Best Novel. She resides in Brisbane with her husband, son, assorted cats, and far too many books.

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