The Veil of Snows by Mark Helprin

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Synopsis

"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).
 

About Mark Helprin

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Mark Helprin was born in Manhattan, New York on June 28, 1947. He received degrees from Harvard College and Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and did postgraduate work at the University of Oxford, Princeton University, and Columbia University. He has served in the British Merchant Navy, the Israeli infantry, and the Israeli Air Force. He is the author of numerous novels including Refiner's Fire, A Soldier of the Great War, Memoir from Antproof Case, Freddy and Fredericka, and In Sunlight and In Shadow. Winter's Tale was adapted into a movie in 2014. His short story collection, Ellis Island and Other Stories, was nominated for a National Book Award in 1981. His other short story collections include A Dove of the East and Other Stories and The Pacific and Other Stories. He also writes children's books including Swan Lake, A City in Winter, and The Veil of Snows. He has received several awards including the National Jewish Book Award, the Prix de Rome, the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award in 2006, and the Salvatori Prize in the American Founding in 2010. Considered to be one of the foremost authors and illustrators of surrealistic fantasy for children, Chris Van Allsburg was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1949. He received his B. F. A. at the University of Michigan and his M. F. A. at the Rhode Island School of Design. He married Lisa Morrison and currently teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design. Van Allsburg's work is highly praised for the excellent artisanship of his illustrations, which often have a surreal element. His first book, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi (1979), concerning a lost dog found by a magician, and his second book, Jumanji (1981), about a strange board game that comes to life, brought him quick praise. Jumanji won the Caldecott Medal in 1982. The Polar Express (1985), Van Allsburg's most popular book, deals with the idea that the ability to believe in things beyond one's experiences helps to keep a person young. It also won a Caldecott Medal in 1986. Other books by Van Allsburg include The Z was Zapped, and Just a Dream, a story about a boy who learns to be ecological. Van Allsburg's sculptures have also been exhibited at many New York galleries.
 
Published October 1, 1997 by Viking. 128 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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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 o...

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Publishers Weekly

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Referring to the queen's potential separation from her infant son, he intones: ""The saddest thing in the world was for a parent to have his child loosed upon the wing...."" The lavish volume features a few richly magical paintings that rank among Van Allsburg's best work: red trees being lifted ...

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