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The Veil of Gold

(Europa #3)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  561 ratings  ·  89 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published July 22nd 2008 by Tor Books (first published July 2008)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Mar 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I'd never heard of this author, but apparently she's a bestseller in her native Australia. Tor has so far released 2 of her 20+ novels in the US, and if "The Veil Of Gold" is any indication, I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to release some more. "The Veil Of Gold" is a modern fantasy set in Russia. I'd call this urban fantasy, except most of it takes place in the Russian country-side, but aside from that minor detail, it has most in common with that sub-genre.
When a mysterious golden statuette
Nov 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Why is this story of modern characters entering a Russian mythic fairy-land not getting 5 stars from me--a self-identified mythic fairly-land enthusiast? Well, it's a wee bit predictable at times, which wouldn't necessarily be all that bad except the narrator frequently challenges the reader to figure out who's who and what's what in what he obviously thinks is a blindingly complex web of mystery. And then there's this tension between this mythic, pagan world and Christianity--and rightly so, pe ...more
Hannah Notess
Dec 19, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked the use of creepy Russian folklore in this fantasy novel. I am very fond of Russian fairy tales, and I enjoy fantasy novels that blend the fantastical and real. I can't give it more stars because I thought the main characters were a little flat, but it was still very entertaining.

I also want to add that this book was recommended to me when I used Seattle Public Library's book recommendation service. I asked them for fantasy recommendations that weren't too fantasy-ish (lots of hard-to-pr
Miriam Cihodariu
Jun 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: russia, australia
The third installment in the Europa suite was my favorite and the first thing which drew me into reading the other two novels as well since Russian mythology is something really special.

The story does read a bit like a guilty pleasure, but the backdrop of mythology and Russian lore, names and concepts is delightful and very well-researched. Kudos to the author for the love of detail and research in addition to her creativity in world-building.
While this was slow going, and I did have some major problems with it (1. A good hundred pages of walking could easily have been cut, 2. The narrator cutting in and breaking the 4th wall was jarring in the beginning, 3.All of the characters fell flat) the myths used were what made the book for me. There just aren't enough books with Russian folklore, and this one was packed with it. For example, did you know that there is no true Russian word for "bear" because the beast itself holds so much pow ...more
Grace Troxel
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures:

The Veil of Gold is an adult fairy tale heavily influenced by Russian history and folklore. The story revolves around a cursed/blessed gold sculpture of a bear. Rosa finds the bear, and asks her former lover Daniel to look at it, as he’s a historian. Daniel is travelling with his emotionally distant colleague Em. The bear has the ability to open the veil between worlds, and so Daniel an
Miriam Cihodariu
The third installment in the Europa suite was my favorite and the first thing which drew me into reading the other two novels as well since Russian mythology is something really special.

The story does read a bit like a guilty pleasure, but the backdrop of mythology and Russian lore, names and concepts is delightful and very well-researched. Kudos to the author for the love of detail and research in addition to her creativity in world-building.
Laura Morrigan
Review from my blog:

In Rosa and the Veil of Gold, Kim Wilkins seamlessly interweaves Russian myths and fairytales with the events of our world. In her story, Russian myths intersect with Russian history, and three modern day people with their own secrets are drawn into the dark worlds of legend. It took me a little while to get into this novel, but when I did, I was hooked, and read it over the last couple of days. I loved the way it was narrated, slowly revea
Not too bad... but not too good either.
While I loved 'The Autumn Castle' by the same author, I found the other books that I tried after that one to be a bit disappointing. While this one was faster paced and more gripping than 'Angel of Ruin'/'Fallen Angel', it just had too many flaws.

The writing is alright. Not terrific, but certainly good enough to at least not bother me, which means it's not so bad since I'm fairly hard to please. The storyline was interesting enough, so that wasn't the prob
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
I heard about this book from a blog that I read and I was not disappointed. I'm not usually a fantasy reader, but this novel wove Russian folklore and history together to make an engaging story that I greatly enjoyed.
Excellent read, loved all the Russian myth references.
Sep 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Great, original use of mythology and folklore, but somehow really slow.
Sep 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed it greatly. Set in Russia in present day with travels into the magic and folklore world and characters who travel back and forth between them.
Nov 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating contemporary fantasy beautifully interwoven with Russian folktales, myths, and history. It's a sizeable read, but well worth it!
Jul 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ending was clever but not satisfying. If it had been the other way around, I may have given this book 5 stars instead of 3.
Jul 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
DNF at 75 pages. I've seen this at the library but was wary of reading because of how often non-Russian authors butcher Russian culture, language, and history. However, I read and enjoyed a short story by this author in a collection called Dreaming Again, so I thought I'd try The Veil of Gold after all. The book sounded potentially promising but quickly devolved. I took issue in particular with her portrayal of female characters as well as her clear lack of knowledge of most things Russian relat ...more
**Warning: this text may contain spoilers** What can I even say about this book?

I felt that it was too long and just an excuse for the author to weave in myths of russia and combine Skarzki with russian history. I felt like the plot took way too long to start moving and none of the characters except for Em and Makhar were likeable.

Rosa is a selfish, immature 26-year-old woman who manipulates those around her into doing what she wants. She has some magic in her blood from her mother and so this
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kim Wilkins is an Australian author known for her wonderful, magical, fantastical tales, and The Veil of Gold is certainly no exception.


It's about historical researcher Daniel St Clare and his colleague Em Hayward, who are called to St Petersburg, Russia, by Daniel's former lover, Rosa Kovalenka, to investigate the origins of a mysterious golden bear found walled up in a dilapidated bathhouse. Rosa gives the bear to Daniel and Em so that they may travel to Arkhangelsk to see an expert
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was surprisingly good given how long it takes to start up. By the time Daniel and his companion are in the Russian land of spirits and legend, Skazki, you won't be able to put it down. The mix of dire survival needs and the rewritten magical history of Russia is simply fascinating. But cliche characters and the most annoying man-boy ever (I hate cliches too but I guess this book rubbed off on me, grow a pair, Daniel!) clog up the first 100 pages. This book was on my to-read shelf for the be ...more
Kate Atkinson
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: skimmed
This ended up being a skim read just because the page count is high, and time is short when you're a librarian with a backlog to read! What I did skim at the end, to wrap up this true saga of a story, was a mysterious and interesting conclusion. A rich, detailed, magical and vibrant read, a book to get lost in with intriguing Russian folklore and history.
Emily Mcleod
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ugh i so fucking love this book, love this author. Came across this book after falling in love with Giants of the Frost.

I loved the world, the narrative, the schadenfreude. Kim Wilkins has a perfect blend of agony and irony going on for her characters.

11/10 one of my top novels. <3
Jul 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
In a nutshell:

When development sub-contractors accidentally tear down a wall in an old Russian bathhouse, they discover a small statue of a golden bear. The niece of the developer, Rosa Kovalenka, can immediately tell – through her second sight – that there is some strange magic surrounding the bear. To assist in identifying the bear’s origins and value, she contacts an old lover, Daniel St. Clare, who happens to be elsewhere in Russia as a history consultant on a documentary shoot. Daniel catch
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
(originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)

Well, I never heard of this author or book before in my life until Calico's book club (she's well known in her home country of Australia) and so going into this I wasn't sure what to expect. Boy, was I given a gem! I really enjoyed this story! I can easily say it's a Squee! type of book. You know, one that by the end of it, you're *squee*ing because it was so awesome?

Anyways, I better go into some detail here. There are some very specific reasons
Sep 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hist-fic, fantasy
A golden bear statuette is the catalyst for a tale of two worlds in The Veil of Gold. Mir is the place where humans live, while its counterpart, Skazki, is the parallel world of stories and folkloric gods and magical creatures. The engimatic little bear was discovered discovered in a construction site in modern St. Petersburg; finding herself back in the light of day, the bear has a mission, and "marks" two people to carry it through. Rosa, whose uncle now owns the bear, entrusts Daniel, her for ...more
Rachael Pruitt
Mar 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am a fan of Kim Wilkins fantasy work--she is not afraid to explore the dark side of folklore, her research is excellent, and she explores the folklore of cultures usually overlooked by western fantasy novelists such as Scandanivia & Russia. However, I almost always have trouble warming to her human characters and "Veil of Gold" (set in Russia) is no exception.
Other reviewers have already described Wilkin's premise of a mythic Russian world existing parallel to our own that three modern charact
Venetia Green
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I enjoyed this book like a summer film. That is, I wouldn't recommend it to my book-nerd friends, but I was more-or-less pasted to the pages.

This contemporary fantasy taps in to Russian folklore to bring new life to an tired concept (magical and human worlds separated by a veil), and tell a fairly unique and fast-paced story about the repatriation of a sinister golden bear. There are no ambrosia-drinking elves to shelter with on this hero's quest, however; the non-human characters are generally
Jul 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
For some reason I had a bit of trouble getting into this one. However, once I was in, I was swept away by Wilkins' easy story telling. I blew through the second half of the book in a few hours.

As a lover of Russian folklore, I really enjoyed all of the monsters coming to life. Wilkins must have done a lot of research and got the Russian culture pitch perfect. Even the mythical creatures had a certain "Ruskie" tone. I really enjoyed the thread of supernatural Wilkins weaves through historical eve
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Goodreads Librari...: Different titles for same book 4 24 Apr 23, 2014 03:08PM  

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Also writes under the name of Kimberley Freeman. ...more

Other books in the series

Europa (3 books)
  • The Autumn Castle (Europa, #1)
  • Giants of the Frost

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