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Mask of the Beast

by Toni Sweeney

Mask of the Beast - Tony V. Sweeney
Editions:Kindle - Second Edition: $ 5.99
Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Pages: 404

A retelling of Beauty and the Beast set against the story of Moses and the Golden Calf.

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Cover Artists:
Setting: Ancient Egypt/Africa
Languages Available: English
Setting: Ancient Egypt/Africa
Languages Available: English

“He comes!”

The shout made Senset spin around, jerking her hand from Aram’s.

“The bridegroom comes!”

Someone else walked toward them, but from a side street running parallel to the temple itself. He strode confidently, surrounded by a group of children, boys and girls running around him laughing and tossing flowers and green leaves into the air. The crowd cheered and some were also throwing petals. He laughed and held out his hands.

The sun gleamed off his golden mask.
Michael. Senset felt her knees weaken. At last.
As he neared where Senset and Aram stood, the children flung the last of their flowers. Their laughter stopped as they ran into the crowd to waiting parents holding out their arms to hug them tightly.

“My brother...” Aram stepped forward, offering Senset’s hand. “I bring your bride to you.”

Michael held out his hand and Aram placed Senset’s in it.

“Come, my bride.”

Reviews:Kat Henry Doran on Wild women Reviews wrote:

Who saved whom?
Our Review: At first sight, Mask of the Beast appears to be a spin off on the age-old fairy tale where, because of true love a centuries old curse is lifted. It is more than that. The depth and range of author Toni V. Sweeney’s research is exceptional. Her fluid prose and compelling characters keep the pages turning in this tale of devotion—both marital and filial. Do Not Miss this one!
On a scale of 1-5, Mask of the Beast deserves a 7.
Kat Henry Doran, Wild Women Reviews

Vela on Redz World wrote:

Bride of the Beast written by Toni V Sweeney was a charming romance between two characters united by marriage to bring peace to their people. The beast men were known to be ruthless by legend. Princess Sensete-Ra of Usaset, marries the beast man’s leader King Michael, a man hidden behind a golden mask. Within each page, Sensete-Ra discovers the mysteries behind the mask hoping to lift its curse. Will she alone be able to save her husband from their god’s own curse? Or will her children’s children suffer the same fate?
I liked how the author educated the reader on different articles of clothing related to the Ancient Egyptian era. I also enjoyed the different culture the author brought to life within the pages of this story dealing with two different kingdoms. I think this book would be more appealing to a young adult audience because of how it’s written, an easy read. I found the language to be really young in places. Though it did pick up once I was further into the book. It is well thought out plot although it was difficult to get hooked at the beginning. Took me till almost chapter three before I really found the pick up in the pace of this book. Over all, it was a wonderful read and I appreciate the opportunity to read this author's work and know a little more about this time period as well.

Gloria Lakritz/Penelope Adams on Paranormal Romance Guild wrote:

DUAL REVIEW of 1st Edition
Gloria Lakritz - She said: | Penelope Adams - She Said:


I must admit, I was taken aback by the fluttering in my mind. It was like a feather tickling me, to realize where this book was going. This is the world of the past, bigger than life heroes, Kings and Royalty, and a Princess that could save a beast.
Senset, a young Princess, lives with her father the King and her family. The King has a favored wife, secondary wives and concubines, as is their practice. Her brother is Prince Horem, General of the Aegysian army and Crown Prince of Usaset. He is arriving home from war to his wife Asanath, pregnant with child; greeted with a parade with accolades of his countrymen. He rides home with a prisoner from the people they warred with. The man looks and bellows like an animal and he is thrown into the dungeon to be used as a sacrifice to their Gods. Senset, hearing of this prisoners execution which will happen in a few days, sneaks past her guards nightly, past the jailer in the dungeon and inevitably helps the man to escape. This is so unlike her, but she thinks this is an unreasonable punishment, as they have not given this man a chance to speak for himself.
Senset is summoned to dress as the Castle bustles. A visitor from another land has come for an audience. The guest is none other than General Aram who had been their prisoner and escaped. We learn he is the twin brother of the King of Habir, and his return home extolled the virtues of Senset for setting him free. His brother Michael has sent gifts of jewels, fabrics, and riches to ask for the hand in marriage of the beautiful Princess, sight unseen. It will be a great match, solidifying their treaty with each other. The King agrees, making sure he is sending his daughter as Prime Wife to this King.
Traveling many days, Senset meets the Beast King. He wears a mask of gold that covers the upper part of his face. Michael relates why these people were called beasts and Michael wears the mask. This mask as a curse placed on the royal family by God. He reveals to her that he felt she had done something selfless to save his brother, a stranger, so she possibly could be the key to his and his people's salvation.
When Senset was in her own land, much of what I picked up were the many Gods that they worshiped, Isis being mentioned and their dress was very Egyptian. When she meets Michael’s people, Judaism plays a big role in this story. Their names, the history, the dress, the one God. The reason for the curse.
Since I am of Jewish faith, some of the story made me cry, and it might not do this so much to others, who would not realize all this story had to offer. The tearing of the garments to mourn was utmost in my mind as I just lost my sister this August and let me tell you having to do this 3 times now in my life, losing my mother, father and now sister, you cannot know how this feels to a mourner. The reason for this is that you are severing your tie with the deceased. The tear is very painful emotionally.
It will be up to you to read this wonderful story, and see if Senset is the key. I will not either address this or spoil it for you. But I do suggest that if you want to read a well written, well thought out love story, THIS IS IT. I commend you Ms. Sweeney on the wonderful story that you have woven, as well as expressing that "Giving up something of yourself to do for another" as a powerful lesson for any God to reward.
Sorry readers, keep checking with us as this book is SOON TO BE RELEASED… But Add it to your TBR List !

Review by Gloria Lakritz
Sr Reviewer of the Paranormal Romance Guild


In a time when women are used as a means of barter between kingdoms to ensure peace, 17 year old Senset was well past her prime. The youngest daughter of the king of AEgys, she is still unmarried. Senset’s brother, General Horem, has returned victorious once more from battle with the beast people, and to the surprise of Senset, he brings a prisoner. Senset learns her brother plans on sacrificing the beast to their god Ra-Horakhty, and being a naturally curious young woman sneaks into the dungeon to see the beast.
She learns the prisoner is not a beast, but a man named Aram. Senset cannot let Aram be sacrificed, so manages to help him escape. Soon after, an emissary from another land appears at her father’s court, not just any emissary, but none other than Aram, who is the brother of the king of Habir. Aram is to arrange a treaty between the two lands and ask for Senset’s hand in marriage. Before she knows it, Senset is married by proxy and on her way across the dessert to her new home.
On the journey to her new home, Senset questions Aram about their culture and the man who has become her husband, and learns she will never see his face; he has worn a golden mask since birth.
Senset soon falls in love with her new husband and her new land; she quickly learns the language and customs and does her best to fit in with her new people. Michael also falls in love with Senset telling her the story of why he wears the golden mask. But this is a difficult time and a difficult land, Senset and Michael will soon not only find their love for each other tested but their beliefs and loyalty as well.
Set in a time of gods and mystery, Bride of the Beast tells a story of love gained, lost and gained again. We travel back in time to AEgys, a land that bears a large resemblance to the Egypt in the time of Pharaohs. Habir is a thinly disguised Israel and the people are very much the early Jewish nation. The story is rich with Jewish customs and religion, so well told that the reader can see the temples, hear the sounds of the street vendor and smell the food being prepared. We travel from the jungle across the dessert, and learn strange and mystical stories of curses and redemption.
Senset is a brave young woman, she doesn’t fit the mold of the women of her culture, and she is curious and stubborn at times, a modern woman. Michael is a strong man, fiercely loyal to his God and his people; he will do anything to protect both. He is a tortured man, living with a curse not of his doing. Aram is a strong general, he is happy not being the oldest born and loves his brother as much as himself. I have to admit, I liked Aram better than Michael, and I don’t know why I just did.
Having read other of Ms. Sweeney’s work, I was totally taken aback by this story. I love the time we find ourselves in, I’m totally fascinated with the history of the Middle East and Ms. Sweeney does a wonderful job bringing it to life. The paranormal aspect of the story fits right into the beliefs of the time and her telling of the Jewish religion’s origins and beliefs was well done.
I did have a small issue with how fast Senset actually fell in love with Michael and Michael with her. Michael I can almost understand, since he was in love with the idea of Senset when he heard of her from his brother Aram, but since Senset was not the usual compliant woman, it seemed a stretch how fast she fell. Other than that one small issue, I enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys going back into a time of chariots and the land where history began.

Review by Penelope Adams
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

About the Author

Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains.

Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy/Horror under her own name and the pseudonyms Icy Snow Blackstone and Tony-Paul de Vissage. She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books, was an amazon reviewer, and is in the 1% of reviewers for Goodreads. In 2016, she was named a Professional Reader by

Currently, Toni has written 94 novels with 84 of them have been published. This includes several series.