CAVERN OF THE VEIL QUEEN
Conquest of the Veil, Book 4
Michael Scott Clifton
Illustrated by Nancy E. Durham
Fiction / Fantasy / Action / Sword & Sorcery
Publisher: Book Liftoff ** 342 pages
Publication Date: July 27, 2022
***** SCROLL DOWN FOR GIVEAWAY *****
The Empire of Meredith has waged war against the Veil Queen for over a thousand years.
However, the struggle is unequal. Protected by the Veil, an impenetrable boundary of magic, the Veil Queen preys on the Empire’s citizens. The ceaseless raids have allowed her to build an enormous army of melds, monstrous creatures who are a fusion of humans and beasts.
Then a way is found through the magical partition. An invasion is launched to defeat the Dark Queen. But she’s had centuries to plot treachery. Is the open portal real or a misdirection, another of her evil schemes?
Alexandria’s new husband, Prince Tal, has wielded his formidable magic repeatedly in the struggle. But the key to victory may not lie with his power, but with Alex’s wild and unpredictable magic. If she can discover a way to control it, they have a chance to end the war and destroy the Veil. It requires only two things.
Find the Veil Queen…and kill her.
***** CLICK TO PURCHASE! *****
First off, I’ll admit that I’m normally not a fan of fantasy stories. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, I just find other genres more my style and there’s only so much time for reading. Since I’d read and enjoyed one of Clifton’s other books, The Janus Witch, also on a review request, I thought I’d give this one a try.
I’m glad I did.
The magic was fun. The battle scenes were dramatic, well executed and full of incredible action. The characters were interesting and one can’t help but get pulled into their lives, worrying for them as they face the challenges of the evil queen and her dark magic.
Action takes place in different parts of this fantasy world.
The Empire of Meredith where Alex and Tal reside most of the time, while Alex figures out how to control her magic and this whole newly-wed thing.
The Wheel, where the breach in the veil exists, and they hope to move enough troops through to attack the Dark Queen, which is the first plan to subvert her wickedness until that plan goes awry.
And the secret place where the little people have found safety from the Veil Queen. She has used her deadly magic to generate these creatures called melds, a combination of human and animals, and there is an army of thousands of them. Horrid creatures who are sent forth to overrun and destroy the Empire and everyone in it.
As Tal and the others fight to protect Meredith against the brutal attacks, he’s joined by Maggie, who is as fierce a fighter as Tal. They have a shared past that plays into the current story seamlessly.
The aerial battles are fought from the backs of flying horses, and my imagination went into overdrive, taking to the sky with the characters. For a little while I was that child who used to pretend to be one of the beloved characters in the stories I read.
In this story, I wanted to be Maggie. She is such a strong woman, aggressive in battle, while on a personal level struggling to overcome a devastating loss. The connection she has to Tal is complex, and she has to find a way to accept the fact that he loves Alex on a deeper level than he can ever love her, despite their history together. Good emotional stuff.
Connecting to readers through their hearts, as well as their imaginations, is the mark of a good story teller. Clifton succeeds admirably on both levels.
And I must say the illustrations were superb. Even adult readers can appreciate the value of a picture-book with an image that comes just at the right time to help us see as well as imagine. The final battles of magic against magic, as well as the amazing ending, were so compelling, it was hard not to finish the last third of the book in one sitting. I read primarily at meal times, but I stretched a couple of lunch breaks a little longer than normal.
This a good stand-alone read, although reading the series in order might be a wise choice for fans of fantasy.
Multi award-winning author Michael Scott Clifton, a longtime public educator, currently lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas with his wife, Melanie. An avid gardener, reader, and movie junkie, his books contain facets of all the genres he enjoys—action, adventure, magic, fantasy, and romance.
His fantasy novels, The Janus Witch, The Open Portal (Book I in the Conquest of the Veil series), and Escape from Wheel (Book II), all received 5-Star reviews from the prestigious Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews. The Open Portal has also been honored with a Feathered Quill Book Finalist Award. In addition, Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator earned a 2021 Feathered Quill Book Award Bronze Medal in the Teen Readers category. Two of his short stories have won Gold Medals, with Edges of Gray winning the Texas Authors Contest, and The End Game winning the Northeast Texas Writer’s Organization Contest. Professional credits include articles published in the Texas Study of Secondary Education journal.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
One Winner: Signed Paperback of Cavern of the Veil Queen and bookmark;
One Winner: Complete Conquest of the Veil Series eBooks;
Three Winners: eBook of Cavern of the Veil Queen.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, September 17, 2022.)
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