Under a Velvet Cloak (Incarnations of Immortality #8)

( 94 )

Overview

The eighth book in Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series. It is the year 500 AD. Kerena, a beautiful young girl living near King Arthur's Camelot, is apprenticed to Morely the Seer. Morely teaches her fantastic magic, but when he mysteriously disappears, Kerena finds herself out on the street and must resort to prostitution to survive. Kerena prospers as a skilled courtesan until she is taken into service by Morgan le Fey, the sorceress sister of King Arthur. Kerena's knowledge of magic grows as she ...
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Under a Velvet Cloak (Incarnations of Immortality #8)

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Overview

The eighth book in Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series. It is the year 500 AD. Kerena, a beautiful young girl living near King Arthur's Camelot, is apprenticed to Morely the Seer. Morely teaches her fantastic magic, but when he mysteriously disappears, Kerena finds herself out on the street and must resort to prostitution to survive. Kerena prospers as a skilled courtesan until she is taken into service by Morgan le Fey, the sorceress sister of King Arthur. Kerena's knowledge of magic grows as she is required to carry out nefarious deeds for the evil Lady Fey. One of her missions is to seduce Sir Gawain, Knight of the Round Table, to prevent him from locating the Holy Grail. But Gawain and Kerena fall in love and she conceives his child, a child she discovers is cursed to die an early death. Using her Seer abilities, Kerena tries to locate the fabled Incarnations of Immortality, seeking their aid in removing the taint from her baby. Rebuffed by all seven major Incarnations, Kerena vows revenge. But revenge against such mighty immortals would require an even greater power...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594262944
  • Publisher: Mundania Press
  • Publication date: 12/5/2007
  • Series: Incarnations of Immortality Series , #8
  • Pages: 228
  • Sales rank: 108,603
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
On Velvet

It was the time of a great king who ruled from a shining city. He had been trained in statesmanship by a powerful mage, and had united the warring clans to form a kingdom that would be long remembered. He had gathered a prominent group of knights under his banner of chivalry. They met at a table in the shape of a circle, so that there was no seeming order of rank among them. But this is not that story.

In a small village in this kingdom was a family with two daughters. The lack of a son might have been unfortunate, but the elder sister was beautiful, outgoing, talented in the arts, intelligent, and good natured. She would inevitably be courted by many eligible young men, fall in love with the handsomest and wealthiest, marry, and have many excellent children. Some of her distant descendants would become Incarnations of Immortality, and others would marry them. But this is not that story either.

The younger sister was fair of feature, but slow to develop, so that at age thirteen she still lacked breasts. This was awkward, as other girls her age were already fascinating young men. She was quiet, introspective, observant, and sometimes given to flashes of intuition. That would have been acceptable, had she not made the error of expressing them. She was simply too smart and nervy for a girl. Her prospects were bleak.

This is her story. As seen by a ghost.

* * * *

Jolie quested until she found the correct girl. She could tell by the feel of her. She had to get it right, because once she entered, she would probably be confined to that body, until her long mission was done. She couldn't just flit about,because she was out of her timeline and could readily get lost.

This second sister was the one. She fit the description, and she felt right. She had vastly more potential than she knew, and she was the pivotal figure in the divergence of realities. What others did didn't matter; only this girl's actions were responsible for the key changes.

Jolie entered the body and was subsumed. Her awareness became the girl's awareness, but Jolie retained her own identity to the extent she wished. She could assert herself any time she needed to, but it was too much of an effort to bother with routinely.

Kerena did not know what to do. She was so much in her elder sister Katherine's shadow that she was in effect invisible. She seemed destined to remain a drag on her parent's household. There was barely enough to go around as it was; they could not afford to feed her indefinitely.

That's what you think, girl. Your life is about to change significantly. Jolie was not really talking to Kerena, who was not aware of her presence. But the pretense made her feel better. She could influence the girl's thoughts, and thus her actions, but it was essential that she not do that unless it was absolutely necessary. Anonymity was golden.

Then a Seer visited the village, really just passing through on his way to somewhere more important, and Kerena suffered a flash. If she could somehow persuade him to take her off their hands, that would be almost as good as marriage. They would be free of the burden, and she would get to travel. Of course it would not be a completely pleasant existence, but she could gather herbs, scrub pots, and do whatever else a servant girl did. Men traveling alone were always in need of such services; they were incompetent housekeepers.

That's it, girl. He is a good man. Do it. If for some obscure reason the girl didn't do it, then Jolie would have to encourage her, because this connection was vital.

In fact vital rather understated the case. There were a seemingly infinite number of timelines, alternate realities, each slightly different from its neighbor, the differences growing as they progressed. The tiniest deviance could generate massive change farther down the timeline. If a girl was walking at dusk to a love tryst, and made it, and conceived and birthed a baby, that baby could grow up and have descendants of lesser or greater significance. But if that girl happened to see a large spider and took a fright, and fled home instead of making her tryst, there would be no baby, and all of what that new person did in life would be lost. All because the maiden happened to see the spider instead of missing it. The change of the direction of one glance could alter the fate of that entire timeline.

This was not academic. In Jolie's timeline the Incarnation of Good had made a study of adjacent and nearby alternate timelines, and discovered that only one achieved salvation: her own. All the others, as far as the Incarnations had fathomed, expired in hellfire, chaos, or some other dreadful doom. It was hardly possible to discovery why, as that would require in-depth studies of an infinite number of variants. God--the Incarnation of Good--could not check directly, because few folk could cross between timelines. Only those who had no similar selves in the others, and there were not many of those.

Instead they had sought the closest variant, and prepared Jolie to go there, to its earliest point of divergence, so she could in effect change the girl's glance and salvage the situation. Jolie could not affect her own timeline, because of the paradox of changing her own existence, but she could touch this adjacent one. They called it Timeline Two, or T2, the original being T1. There might not be a Jolie here, but by the time she brought it into alignment there would be a Jolie. That would be a different person from herself, with an independent existence, but very similar in all the ways that counted. Including, unfortunately, her tragically early death. That was uncomfortable to consider. Suppose the Jolie of this timeline survived, and she had to change it to make her die? She hated the very notion, yet knew she would do it if she had to.

The hope was that in this straightforward manner a second timeline could be saved. Then the Jolie of that universe could do the same for the third timeline, and so on in a chain, saving many that were otherwise doomed. T1 to T2, T2 to T3, and so on, in theory. Perhaps there were many routes to salvation, but the only pattern they could be sure of was the first one. They had to make the second align with the first, at least until it was close enough to achieve salvation on its own.

Thus her mission was literally to save a universe. She had no certainty of success, but it was something that had to be tried. The folk of this timeline did not deserve the cruel fate that awaited them otherwise. Meanwhile she was learning things about the prior course of her own timeline, because of the alignment. These supposedly dull details were thus made fascinating. Here was an innocent girl proceeding to a tryst of a sort. Let her not see a spider!

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 94 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(24)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(26)

2 Star

(12)

1 Star

(11)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 95 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2011

    Should have quit while he was ahead

    I loved the original series, so I was looking forward to this. What a disappointment. In 233 pages there is perhaps 20 pages of actual story, the rest is just a string of poorly written sex scenes. The shallow sexuality fails to distract from the fact that the character development is missing and the storyline is recycled and not very interesting. Its a shame. This last book feels like an anchor on a series that was better off left alone.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2010

    Good read; however not recommended for less than mature audiences

    While a very good read, I feel that this book is only safe for mature audiences, as this work shows just how dirty Piers Anthony can write. This is a stunning conclusion to the Incarnations of Immortality series, as Piers Anthony wraps up the last remaining loose end from the previous seven books, Nox. I will not go into a synapsys of the book itself, and limit my commentary to the review while trying not to give the story away.

    The first part of this story that really struck me is that I feel this book revolves way too much around the bedroom. It is my opinion that the amount of these scenes in the book could potentially detract from the storyline. When dealing with the Incarnation of Night they are to be expected to an extent, however this started early and often, and it felt like there was not a chapter with one of these scenes in it.

    Aside from these scenes, I found the book very easily pulling me in with various hooks to keep my interest. Every time I would try to set the book down to do something else, I would invariably try to get back to the book as quickly as possible to see what happened next. Piers Anthony definitely showed his skill with word crafting to keep the reader hooked into the book.

    In conclusion, I would recommend this book to any and all Piers Anthony fans, as it's no worse than many of his other works, and I would especially recommend it those who have read the rest of the Incarnations of Immortality series. To those new to this series; however, I would strongly recommend starting with On A Pale Horse and working their way through the series before reading this book, as it would otherwise be a very big spoiler on the rest of the series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2014

    Terrible ending to the series. It is written to cram as many sex

    Terrible ending to the series. It is written to cram as many sex scenes in the book as physically possible. There is so much sex that characters have normal conversations WHILE having sex.
    I loved the previous 7 books! Just stop at book 7...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2011

    Not a good addition to the series

    This is a series I very much enjoyed, thought about, and felt had a well-imagined world and explanation.

    However, Under a Velvet Cloak is not a good volume 8. It relies too much, far too much, on descriptions of sex to advance the plot. Absent the sex scenes, there isn't much holding the book together at all. This problem also happened when I rushed to buy the ChroMagic series by the same author. Mr. Anthony mentions in the end-note that his best selling days are in the past. There's a reason for this: his best writing days are in the past.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    terrible!

    This book is terrible! It's book eight in the Incarnations of Immortality series and hopefully the last. It's definitely the last for me! I loved the first book in the series, On a Pale Horse, but then the books went downhill from there. In Under a Velvet Cloak, the author is entirely too preoccupied with sex. Sure, sex can be good in a story but not when it's in every other paragraph (unless the story is written as erotica of course). It's distracting and detracts from the story line, what little there is of one. And it's not even good sex. It's laughable how corny his descriptions are! And then there is the matter of one of the "good" guys who likes having sex with little boys between the ages of six and eight. How can Piers Anthony write in this character as a hero? He should have been the villain in my opinion. Do yourself a favor and read the first book in the series and stop there.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

    Nox

    Liked how they explained why nox got involved with the other incantations

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    Good read but ya, A LOT of sex

    Most of the reviews are spot on. I would four star the other in this series but because of the seemingly endless, this garners a three. While central to the story, it was too much, especially in the beginning. The early sex made me feel like was watching child porn. Not cool.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    Velvet Cloak Review 4/10/2012

    Plain and simple I enjoyed every minute while reading this book. Reading the other seven books in this series is helpful in understanding some aspects but is not required as this story needs no support. Had to give it five(5) star rating.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    Don't bother.

    This was a lame ending to the series. I'm beginning to wonder if the author himself has a desire for sexual relations with underage girls. It began with And Eternity and continues (albeit poorly written) in this book. Obviously, there is a connection between the office and sex, but the episodes in the book were far to frequent and seemed like they were written by a horny 8th grader. I actually found this book diificult to read because of the sheer number of these horrible scenes.

    Unfortunately, if he had taken out the sex scenes, the thin recycled plot could have been published as a pamphlet. Hopefully, not a lot of paper was used on physical copies of this book. It would be a crime to waste recources on this "novel".

    If I could, I would ask the author for a refund and compensation for time lost while reading it. I doubt they would compensate me for pain and suffering.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    WORST story by Piers to date

    So disappointing. This was the absolute worst story I have ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Not up to his previous work

    I love the Incarnations of Immortality series and found this to be subpar. Interesting in how things ties together, but would have been happy if it just ended before this one.

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  • Posted July 12, 2011

    Wow

    An outstanding culmination of the previous novels. As well as an amazing and enjoyable stand alone novel. Once again Piers has facinated and continued a love of good fiction in myself, as well as my household.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2011

    One of my favorite series

    I love the Incarnations series. Thus was a good endung to it. I wish there was more of the incarnations themselves, but the stary telling was good. Im glad i found this last book.

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  • Posted March 10, 2011

    A fitting end if you've read the other 7 in the series

    This book was quite captivating and I read it with only one break to sleep. I had read and enjoyed the previous 7 books and I feel this one was a pretty good finale to the series. I understand the connection of night, secrets, and sex, but sometimes the casualness of Kerena's sexual escapades was a bit too much for me and a few of them could have been removed entirely with no disturbance to the plotline. At times it did almost feel as if there was added sex just for the sake of added sex... maybe to appeal to young teenage boys, I don't know.

    Overall, I'd recommend it if you've read the previous 7.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2010

    Terrible Terrible Terrible - I want a refund!

    This book is awful...I cannot even begin to describe how bad it was. Stay away from this turd of a book and spend your money on some fantasy that is actually entertaining.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2010

    I love Piers Anthony. This is one sexy, interesting novel.

    Be aware that there is a LOT of sex in this book but it doesn't get "Nasty". It shows how MOST people treat sex, especially in the time period in which most of the story takes place. The main character, to be blunt, uses sex and sexuality to further her goals in a mutually beneficial manner that is very straight forward.

    I've seen a lot of negative reviews about this book on other sites but I'm almost to the end and I have completely enjoyed it.

    (Not to mention that the price could not be beat!!)

    I really like this series. It gets strange in parts but there is something about Mr. Anthony's style that just WORKS.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 11, 2010

    I love Piers Anthony. This is one sexy, interesting novel.

    Be aware that there is a LOT of sex in this book but it doesn't get "Nasty". It shows how MOST people treat sex, especially in the time period in which most of the story takes place. The main character, to be blunt, uses sex and sexuality to further her goals in a mutually beneficial manner that is very straight forward.

    I've seen a lot of negative reviews about this book on other sites but I'm almost to the end and I have completely enjoyed it.

    I really like this series. It gets strange in parts but there is something about Mr. Anthony's style that just WORKS.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I was pleasantly surprised.

    I usually am disappointed with sequels and the conclusion of series. However I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It kept me interested from beginning to end and when it was over I didn't want it to be over.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 26, 2009

    Explains a lot; Risque

    The Final Final book to the Incarnations of Immortality series, Under A Velvet Cloak answers a great deal of questions that were left unknown in previous books. It plays through all the characters you know, as well as shows you who is really pulling all the strings and WHY they need to be pulled. Nox was an enjoyable character to follow through her adventures.

    My only warning is that this book ought to come in a brown paper bag. I love it, don't get me wrong, but would I give this to a minor who likes the series? Possibly not. It does have some rather hot and heavy scenes, so if you (or the person you're getting this for) is not up for that, take my warning into account.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    The Final and Least Necessary Incarnations of Immortality Novel

    Piers Anthony separates from his usual conflict between good and evil with this novel, splitting off into a conflict between night and darkness, neither of whom were significantly mentioned until late in the original Incarnations of Immortality series.<BR/><BR/>While it was perhaps time that the incarnation of night received her own book due to the role she played in And Eternity and her influence in For Love of Evil, this novel does not completely follow the plot elements from earlier books, especially with regards to chronology of the earlier books.<BR/><BR/>As well, this novel separates from the normal social interactions of the earlier books into much more sexually oriented actions. While this was certainly a part of the incarnation of night based on the earlier books, I feel Piers Anthony took the interactions to an excessive level while not concentrating sufficiently on the other activities of the incarnation of night.<BR/><BR/>If you truly love the Incarnations of Immortality series, I would suggest that you stick with the first 7 books, as this book definitely falls short of what I would expect from Piers Anthony.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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