Near the beginning of Martin's "Dying of the Light" novel, there is the following passage:
Behind it was a stillness and a smoky darkness, an unmoving curtain that hid the farther stars. A cloud of dust and gas, he thought. The Tempter's Veil.
The beginning came long after the end: a whisperjewel. It was wrapped in layers of silver foil and soft dark velvet, just as he had given it to her years before. He undid its package that night, sitting by the window of his room that overlooked the wide scummy canal where merchants poled fruit barges endlessly up and down.
I spent a long time on this, but I can't make any sense of "The beginning came long after the end". What does Martin mean by this sentence?