Review: Palace of Darkness by Tracy L. Higley

For most college students, elective classes are waste of time. More often than not, they don’t have a whole lot to do with your degree, but the university requires them anyways. They give you a more well-rounded education. Fortunately, I’ve always had varied interests, so some of these electives turned out to be some ridiculously interesting courses. One class, was an introduction to archeology.

In that class, we studied a couple of dig sites in ancient Greece. Since it isn’t uncommon for professors to have field experience, our professor had slides from her own time at Mycenae (click here for the wikipedia article on this ancient city). I still remember the day that she had a colleague come in and talk about something. I actually don’t remember what topic it was, but I do remember that she had a small statue, smaller than my hand, that was from the dig site. We all got to hold it and study it. Since Mycenae was flourishing in 1300’s BC, this statue that I held was thousands of years old. I had goosebumps and was in awe that such a small thing could survive for that long. I can only imagine what it would be like to discover or visit a site that old.

Petra is such an astonishing city. Photographs of it are extremely recognizable, but other than that, I actually don’t know too much about the city. But again, fiction is a wonderful guide to explore new places, and that was one reason I picked up Palace of Darkness.

Interested in winning a copy of Prelude for a Lord? Click here for details.

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**I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review**

In an ancient city carved from stone, one desperate young woman searches for peace—in the calm before the deadly clash of empires. In 106 AD, a single mother can be certain of one thing—destitution. So Cassia and her six-year-old son flee to Petra, her late husband’s birth city, in hopes of finding refuge in the loving arms of family. But the great stone city is not what Cassia imagined. And a secret about her husband reveals her son’s true bloodline, making the boy the target of a royal conspiracy. In her darkest hours, Cassia finds herself surrounded by followers of the Way, a subversive new religious group whose disciples are frequently sentenced to arenas with starved lions and blood-soaked sand. Why would this sect seek out more danger by helping her? And what kind of religion gives freely and asks for nothing in return? Roman soldiers soon surround Petra, immersing the city in panic and further endangering her son, and Cassia realizes he cannot be saved by human efforts alone. Her only hope lies with the followers of the Way . . . and her willingness to trust their One True God.

Since reading a couple of novels written in Biblical times, this has been a fairly new genre for me. So far, I haven’t been disappointed with it, and Palace of Darkness has only encouraged me to look for more books set in this time. Tracy L. Higley created characters that make excellent tour guides into the stone city. While it is hard to fully imagine living in a city carved out of rock, this book made a great attempt to breathe a bit more life into it.

One thing that I really enjoyed with this novel was the way that the early church was captured. The gathering of Christians that took place in Petra had references to Paul and his letters. I imagine that this is close to how the church would have operated. Even more impressive, was Higley’s ability to take those same characters and place them into a spiritual battle that runs throughout the course of the novel.

From page one, Cassia quickly grasped my attention. Moving on from an abusive situation to search for her son’s father’s family had me wondering what she would find in Petra. Not only that, but it seemed like she was bombarded with terrible things happening to her at every turn.

The storyline involving Cassia’s son had a lot of twists and turns to it that made me eager to keep reading. The characters also had me wondering what would happen to them by the end of the novel. But, the relationships between some of the characters felt quite rushed at times.

And finally, I can’t help but gush about this cover. The image of Petra in the background at night is beautiful. There is a theme of darkness in the novel and the cover definitely goes along with this.

**This book will be released September 9, 2014

I would love to hear from you! Have you read any fiction that took place in the ancient world? Or any “archeological sites” that you find really interesting?

For more on the author or this book, please check out the following links:

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