The Veil of Snowsby Mark Helprin, George Guidall
"Long ago, in the time of the old emperor, I was young and just beginning in my profession. The Usurper was there, and one could not escape his evil presence.... An enthralling story in the time-honored tradition of Lewis Carroll and C. S. Lewis. Although her kingdom has lived in peace for many years, the queen has always feared the day the Usurper would return to plunge her city into darkness. Even as she rejoices in the birth of her first child, she sees signs of impending danger. Her husband and his army have vanished in the wilderness. With only a short time left to reinforce the kingdom's defense, her faithful general masterminds a strategy to keep the city safe, against great odds. But even when the Usurper's victory may seem to be complete, the mysterious veil of snows hides a symbol of undying hope. The Veil of Snows is a moving and powerful tale about the light of the human spirit,light that can never be wholly extinguished. The Veil of Snows, which stands on its own as a compelling story, also completes the Helprin/Van Allsburg trilogy that began with their first collaboration, Swan Lake, which Publishers Weekly called "elegant and beautiful...wise and musical." As Kirkus noted in a pointered review of A City in Winter, the second book, "The sheer scale of the city [Helprin] envisions will enthrall readers of any age...." Mark Helprin is the acclaimed author of books for adults and children, including A Soldier of the Great War and the best-selling Winter's Tale (both Harcourt). He lives in New York state. Chris Van Allsburg is a two-time Caldecott winner, for Jumanji and The Polar Express (both Houghton).
Polish is the operative word; Helprin's unnamed narrator illuminates this dark, poignant story with characteristically refulgent prose, to which Van Allsburg's 13 color scenes of theatrically posed, golden-toned figures add sparkling elegance. A troubled peace follows the usurper's flight behind the remote Veil of Snows, and he soon returns to shatter the Queen's army, kill her husband (seemingly), and oppose her and her infant son with two million men. After a bitter siege, the Queen and her last 100,000 loyal followers escape the capital city and disperse into the mountains, where she is pursued and killed. Helprin injects a garishly satiric hue into this tale by filling it with corpulent, venial, opportunistic Tookisheims, a family whose government is headed by the Duke, a media mogul whose papers are relentlessly critical of the Queen, and Branco, who "makes the talking boxes that take the place of books." After 25 years of waiting beside the Veil, the narrator symbolically casts away the last of his hopejust as the Queen's husband and grown son march out of the mists at the head of a new army. As with the previous books, the language, imagery, and wit are aimed at sophisticated sensibilities; Helprin's bottomless imagination and Van Allsburg's monumental visual style create a collaboration that glitters with star quality.
- Recorded Books, LLC
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Age Range:
- 8 Years
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