|"Not even the cats we love can escape punishment for breaking the code. StarClan will enforce the code regardless. And so we must brush aside our pain and put all our energies toward serving StarClan! Now I ask my fellow leaders whether I can count on their help in strictly following the code and serving StarClan in any way we can."|
|— Bramblestar's impostor at a Gathering in Veil of Shadows, pages 221-222|
Veil of Shadows is the third book in The Broken Code arc. It features Bristlefrost, Shadowsight, and Rootspring as the main protagonists. The ghost of Spiresight serves as the protagonist for the prologue.
- Special thanks to Cherith Baldry
- Erin Hunter’s #1 bestselling Warriors series continues! Discover more epic adventures in the third book in this seventh action-packed story arc.
- After losing one of his nine lives, ThunderClan's leader, Bramblestar, is intent on rooting out and exiling codebreakers—cats he claims are traitors to the warrior code. But some cats know the truth: something went wrong when he lost a life. This isn't the real Bramblestar, and his true spirit is desperate to return to its rightful place ...before the rising tension among the five Clans erupts into outright war.
- Each hardcover in The Broken Code series includes a double-sided jacket with a [full]-color bonus poster!
Detailed plot description
Looking for a shorter overview? Find one here!
- Spiresight watches a cat attack the ShadowClan medicine cat Shadowsight and tries to help him, but cannot assist because he is a ghost, and therefore has no physical ability to fend off his attacker. The attacker drags Shadowsight's body away from a clearing and over a ravine, dropping it off the edge. After they leave, Spiresight's ghost hovers over Shadowsight, who is now gravely injured from the fall and wounds received. The black tom anguishes over why he was brought to witness the scene if he could not help.
- Rootpaw attends the half-moon meeting with the medicine cats of the other Clans at the Moonpool. He and his father Tree feel out of place, as it is a place not meant for non-medicine cats. Kestrelflight becomes impatient, as do the others, and they see Puddleshine meet them. When Shadowsight fails to show up to the meeting, the medicine cats split up to look for him. However, they fail to find him when his scent fades out in a patch of catmint. Rootpaw then shows the medicine cats Bramblestar's ghost, though some are skeptical it is real. Kestrelflight and Willowshine don't concur to pass this information on to their leaders, while Alderheart and Jayfeather do. The meeting breaks up as cats depart to their Clans, agreeing to look for Shadowsight as they can.
- Bristlefrost exits the warriors' den to go to the dirtplace, and when she returns, sees Bramblestar's impostor coming back into camp with Berrynose, blood covering his chest. She hastily greets them, and reflects on the experience the next morning while on dawn patrol. After returning to camp, she tells Stemleaf and Spotfur about the blood she saw. Shortly after, the impostor calls a Clan meeting announcing that Shadowsight has gone missing, and that he believes he has fled. Bristlefrost is shocked as Bramblestar's impostor exiles Jayfeather and Lionblaze, and sends Twigbranch on a harsh atonement. The pale gray she-cat follows after them and explains that Bramblestar is not himself, and takes them to ShadowClan, where Tigerstar agrees to let them stay.
- Rootpaw witnesses Leafstar calling a Clan meeting, where she makes his sister Needlepaw into a warrior named Needleclaw. He reflects that he should also be receiving his name, but has been too busy with other ghost and spying obligations. Bramblestar's impostor visits SkyClan, and Rootpaw takes him to see Leafstar. The ThunderClan leader announces that he has called an emergency Gathering about the punishment of codebreakers. He leaves, and Leafstar convenes the Clan, which has mixed opinions. Leafstar concludes to not act for now, but promises that SkyClan will stick together. The leader appoints Rootpaw as a medicine cat apprentice to Frecklewish.
- Bristlefrost returns to camp, grateful to escape the impostor's increasing attention towards her. She talks to Spotfur and Stemleaf about Shadowsight's disappearance, speculating on where he might be. However, the three quickly cut off their conversation when Thornclaw approaches, as he doesn't share their view. Bristlefrost attempts to comfort a downtrodden Finleap, but breaks off when the impostor overhears them, and goes to talk the lethargic leader in his den. She later goes with ThunderClan's patrol to the emergency Gathering, where Tigerstar expresses his discontentment with Shadowsight's disappearance. After, Mothwing and Crowfeather are exiled from their Clans, Bristlefrost sees Stemleaf go after them, to tell them about the other refugees.
- Rootpaw fiddles with herbs in the SkyClan medicine cats' den, but panics when Rabbitleap comes in covered in blood, despite only having a minor aliment. After Puddleshine comes to fetch them, Rootpaw and Frecklewish attend a meeting of the rebel cats. To ease bickering, Tigerstar agrees that the refugees can shelter in SkyClan's old camp on ShadowClan's territory. Squirrelflight asks Rootpaw if she can speak to Bramblestar's ghost again, but he informs her that he hasn't seen it in awhile.
- Bristlefrost attends a rebel cats meeting at SkyClan's old camp with Spotfur and Stemleaf, where they see the exiles bickering amongst themselves. Many cats trickle into the camp for the meeting, which Bristlefrost starts. Rootpaw explains what has happened to Bramblestar, which prompts debate. Though some want to kill ThunderClan's leader, others point out that the true Bramblestar needs a living body to return to. Tigerstar adjourns the meeting, instructing no cat to act until they have a better plan. Meanwhile, Shadowsight floats in a dreamless haze, where Spiresight meets him and tells him that he's gravely injured, but not dead. As a ghost, the medicine cat spies on the rebel cat meeting that Bristlefrost and Rootpaw had attended.
- Rootpaw helps remove a tick from Macgyver, and later speaks to Tree about the rebel cats' meeting. They worry about not seeing Bramblestar's ghost, and conclude to perform a summoning ritual; one that Tree learned from the Sisters. However, the ritual fails, and they concur to try it again at the Moonpool later. Rootpaw, Tree, Leafstar, and Frecklewish's second attempt results in the ghost appearing for the barest moment. Tree reflects that Bramblestar's ghost may be fading away from his body, though Leafstar won't commit to fighting against ThunderClan. The leader reinstates Rootpaw as a warrior apprentice, promising that his assessment will be soon.
- Bristlefrost becomes quickly annoyed with how every cat feels she is Bramblestar's lackey, wishing they knew what she thought. She sees Alderheart arguing with the leader about dosage amounts, and shortly after, the leader appoints Flipclaw as a medicine cat apprentice. Bristlefrost is shocked at his actions, and worries when he tells her to find Squirrelflight again. She goes to the rebel camp, concocting a plan with the former deputy to fake her death. The impostor believes the fake scene that is set up with Squirrelflight's fur and blood, crushed with the knowledge.
- Meanwhile, Shadowsight and Spiresight hold a conversation agreeing that the latter will attempt to find Rootpaw, who can find the medicine cat's body. At the same time, after a successful training session, Dewspring informs Rootpaw that his assessment is scheduled for tomorrow, and he is thrilled. That night, he as a dream of his mentor, and wakes up to find Spiresight beckoning to him. Though wary, he follows and finds Shadowsight's body in a ravine, and brings his befuddled mentor to help. Together, they tow the medicine cat's body back to SkyClan's camp. Rootpaw and Violetshine leave to inform Tigerstar and Dovewing of the developments, stopping briefly to tell Leafstar.
- In ThunderClan, Bristlefrost tries to motivate her moping and lethargic leader, who is grieving for Squirrelflight. The leader snaps at Alderheart, who upon the she-cat's prodding, agrees to give him something to help him sleep. Bristlefrost then attends another rebel cats meeting, and holds a conversation with Twigbranch, who expresses her wish to return to ThunderClan. Squirrelflight informs the gathered cats of her faked death, and Rootpaw reports that Shadowsight is alive. The cats reluctantly wait to attack Bramblestar until the medicine cat wakes up. Before the meeting breaks up, Bristlefrost promises Squirrelflight that she will protect Bramblestar's body. Meanwhile, Shadowsight, as a ghost, goes to spy on ThunderClan and sees Stormcloud banished for a day. However, the impostor can see him, admitting that he was the attacker, and has many evil plans. However, before he can finish his encounter with the false leader, Shadowsight's spirit is tugged back to SkyClan.
- After his assessment, Leafstar gives Rootpaw his warrior name of Rootspring. He visits the medicine den, where Shadowsight wakes up and informs the cats present of what happened to him. Leafstar is not convinced to commit to a fight, though Tigerstar says he will ready for battle. A few warriors overhear their conversation, and Rootspring tries to dissuade them from going to attack Bramblestar's body. He worries if they'll listen, and whether Leafstar will listen to the proof cats have gathered.
- Bristlefrost wakes to find Twigbranch has returned to ThunderClan, and has cats help her carry the prey she's caught to the pile. However, Bramblestar's impostor insists that she can atone, but that not it does anything, and confirms her exile. Finleap leaves with Twigbranch, while Alderheart is exiled after standing up to the leader, making Flipclaw the new medicine cat. Bristlefrost talks with the impostor while in the forest, where they are attacked by a group of rebels. The she-cat rushes to find help, bringing Berrynose and some others. Upon seeing Stemleaf has died, Bristlefrost loses consciousness. When she wakes up, she sees Brightheart helping Flipclaw with herbs, though the elder is soon told to leave. Bramblestar proceeds to exile Berrynose and makes Bristlefrost the new deputy, sparking controversy due to Bristlefrost's young age and relative inexperience.
- Shadowsight puzzles over Kitescratch's recent wounds, and hears his father say that he'll be taken home soon. Leafstar is hesitant with Tigerstar's conclusion that this conflict will end with a battle. Shadowsight is moved to ShadowClan's camp, where Puddleshine greets him happily. There, he explains to his mentor how Bramblestar had attacked him, and planted the false vision. However, Shadowsight begs them not to attack until he finds out what happened to the real Bramblestar's ghost.
- Rootspring attends a rebel cats meeting, shocked to learn that Berrynose has been exiled. Cats concur that Bristlefrost is a traitor, as she brought help to the impostor when attacked, though Squirrelflight mentions that she'd made her promise to protect the body. No cat can determine who or what has taken over Bramblestar, spotting Stemleaf's ghost sadly linger by Spotfur. Tigerstar concludes that the medicine cats of each Clan need to convince their leaders that the leader of ThunderClan is an impostor of Bramblestar, which they concur to.
- Bristlefrost is increasingly alienated from her Clanmates, including her sister Thriftear, because of her outward support of Bramblestar. Her deputyship is disputed at the Gathering, though the impostor smooths over it, lauding that he's exiled Berrynose and Alderheart. Cats question why Flipclaw is the new medicine cat, and announces that Squirrelflight is dead. The leaders outwardly agree to exile those who committed the attack, except for Tigerstar, who rebuffs the impostor. The next day, Bristlefrost witnesses Flipclaw's struggles as a medicine cat. Sparkpelt is exiled for bringing this issue up, while Graystripe, Blossomfall, Bumblestripe, Cinderheart, Finchpaw, and Thriftear are either exiled or choose to leave as well.
- Shadowsight listens to Puddleshine report what had occurred at the last half-moon meeting, learning that WindClan and RiverClan still believe in the impostor as ThunderClan's true leader. Shadowsight protests killing Bramblestar's body, though Rootspring reflects that his spirit may have faded by now. The cats agree to attack in two sunrises and take the impostor prisoner if possible. In the night, Shadowsight hears a voice calling for help, and uses a berry to get into a ghost-like state. He frees Bramblestar's spirit from the Dark Forest, and is rescued from his physical aliment by Puddleshine.
- Rootspring travels to ThunderClan territory to meet with Bristlefrost. After separating from her patrol, Bristlefrost reassures Rootspring that she is not a traitor. The pair admit to having feelings for each other, though nothing can happen with them. Later, Bramblestar's impostor visits SkyClan's camp, insisting that Kitescratch be exiled because of his attack on the leader. Leafstar sends him out until the ThunderClan tom leaves, agreeing outwardly to fight against ShadowClan tomorrow. After he leaves, she then calls for Hawkwing to bring him back, and agrees to fight on the side of the rebels.
- Bristlefrost heads towards ShadowClan's camp to attack, meeting WindClan and RiverClan there. ShadowClan is ready for them, having been warned, and SkyClan arrives. SkyClan attacks RiverClan, WindClan, and ThunderClan at Leafstar's direction, while the rebel cats join in as well. Bristlefrost attempts to stay out of the fight, and is horrified when Harestar loses a life. Tigerstar and the impostor fight; the latter overpowers the former, but gets distracted when he sees Squirrelflight in the crowd, allowing Tigerstar to wound him badly. Tigerstar nearly kills the impostor and only stops due to Squirrelflight's pleas to keep him prisoner. Bristlefrost sees injured cats start to get treatment, and feels a sense of dread. Later, Shadowsight tends to Bramblestar's body, where Squirrelflight mulls her feelings over. Squirrelflight is appointed by the other leaders as ThunderClan's leader, and picks Lionblaze as her deputy, much to Bristlefrost's relief. Shadowsight becomes scared of the impostor, who claims that he will do more harm once healed.
- Rootspring attends the next Gathering with his Clan, seeing the ghosts of the cats who had died lurking in the island clearing. Harestar admits that Bramblestar was fake, but still wishes to adhere to the warrior code closer. Tigerstar protests, and the leaders begin to bicker. Mistystar eventually offers that Mothwing can come back to RiverClan, though she exiles Icewing and Harelight for disobeying her orders. Mothwing refuses to return, and so she and the pair assent to go with ShadowClan after the Gathering. As the cats disperse, Squirrelflight exclaims that she knows who has taken over Bramblestar's body.
- Rootpaw's warrior name of Rootspring, which he receives in this book, was selected through fan poll on the Warriors website.
- Veil of Shadows (EN), HarperCollins (hardcover), 7 April 2020
- Veil of Shadows (EN), HarperCollins (eBook), 7 April 2020
- 暗影之蔽 (ZH), Morningstar (paperback), May 1 2021