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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.