Above the Veil is the fourth children's book in Garth Nix's The Seventh Tower series, published in 2001 by Scholastic.

Plot introduction

Above the Veil continues the story from Aenir. Tal and Milla both continue their adventure and find themselves involved in a revolt.

Plot summary

While the mysterious Shadowmaster Sushin eats his shrimps and orders seemingly higher ranked chosen around, Tal and Milla travel through the Castle's depths, where they come across the Freefolk. The Freefolk are a group of the servant class Underfolk who possess a great hatred for all the Chosen, and who are determined to gain freedom for the other Underfolk.

They also meet Lector Jarnil, a famous teacher who had apparently been dead for several years. Tal and Milla learn more about the intricacies of Castle politics, including the fact that Sushin, apparently a mere Shadowmaster of the Orange, is actually the Dark Vizier of the Empress. He deals in the more unsavory matters (those best left in the dark) and can order anyone using the authority of the Empress. They also learn that the Veil is maintained by the seven Keystones which lie at the top of each of the seven towers.

Most of the Chosen have left the Castle due to the Day of Ascension. To prevent the Veil from failing, Tal, accompanied by the permanently angry Freefolk leader Crow, climb the Red Tower and defeat the deadly Keeper. (The huge serpent-like spiritshadow who caused Tal to fall the first time in The Fall). At the top of the tower, they have to solve a puzzle of tiles to prevent any alarms from ringing out. Eventually they reach the Red Keystone. Trapped inside it is Lokar, cousin of Lector Jarnil, and her Spiritshadow. The Keystones are unsealed every year for alignment and repair. At this time, someone was able to trap Lokar inside it by stealing her Sunstone. Tal takes the Keystone imprisoning Lokar. As Tal and Crow prepare to depart, they are assaulted by numerous unbound Spiritshadows. Tal is able to construct a miniature Veil in time to hide them, but accidentally binds Adras, his Spiritshadow, into it as well, leaving Adras severely weakened for lack of light. As they near the Freefolk base, Crow injures Tal and flees with the Keystone. Tal attempts to stop Crow with a blast of orange light energy, which causes the steam pipe in the room to explode. In the steam, Tal sees Ebbitt and several others enter the room, and the ceiling caves in. Lokar convinces Tal to go to Aenir and consult the Empress to free Lokar.

While Tal and Crow climb the tower, Milla returns to her home with Odris by traveling through the labryinth of underground tunnels that are below the Castle. On her way, she discovers the skeleton where her Primary Sunstone partially originated. Scrutinizing it closer, she notices a long Violet fingernail, which she puts on. Knowing that she will give herself to the Ice, she breathes the Tenth Pattern to assure the completion of her task of getting a Primary Sunstone. On her way, she is attacked by Arla and a band of Shield Maidens for bringing Odris. Milla accidentally kills Arla with her talon. She is then judged by the Crones, who will decide her fate. After reviewing Milla's thoughts and dreams, the Crones debate and decide to attack the Castle to stop the Spiritshadow trade and save the Veil. The Crones choose Milla to lead the attack.

Characters in Above the Veil

  • Tal
  • Milla
  • Adras
  • Odris
  • Crow
  • Jarnil
  • Ebbitt
  • Lokar
  • Nova

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