Review: Palace of Darkness by Tracy L. Higley

September 22, 2014

Title: Palace of Darkness
Author: Tracy L. Higley
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 368
ISBN: 978-1-4016-8750-2
Publication Date: September 9th, 2014

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.
I have always loved Petra, like most, I was introduced to it in Indian Jones. Since then, I've looked up what I could and have just been amazed at this city in the stone. On Tracy's web site, I was able to scroll through her adventures in Petra and then as I read through the book, each place just popped off of the page. She took the details of this ancient city and brought it back to life.

We view the life of Petra through the eyes of Cassia. She is a woman who has had a very hard life. When we meet her, she is in a relationship with an abusive man, she has no family to turn to, she is alone and has no money. All she cares about is her son, Alex. He is the only good thing in her life. One day, after a deal her "husband" made turned sour, comes to haunt Cassia and her son. The man she has despised is dead and she and her son are free. All she wants is her son to be cared for, so on impulse, she follows the only lead she has. Cassia's "husband" mentioned he had family in Petra. She and her son soon set out for there.

Julian is as Roman as they come...or so it appears. Except he is a follower of Jesus and His teachings. Sadly though, the group he worships with is caught and are thrown in to the arena. He is alone, except for his parents who are followers as well, but the guilt of the loss follows him and he flees to Petra. It is here in Petra that Julian and Cassia meet and where their reliance on each other start.

I enjoyed Julian and his character. He is a strong lead. He is a quick thinker, even if his thoughts aren't always the best, he seemed to always have an idea. He is knocked down a few pegs when he sees his plans aren't always the right way, but he wants to learn. Cassia, I was flipping back and forth on her character. I hated that she was in horrid relationship and hoped she could get out. When she did, it felt good, but her ideas made me want to slap some sense into her.

Cassia was a girl who should have known better. She arrives to Petra on a small amount of information, but she she receives a big dose of information upon arriving, instead of stopping and thinking and researching more, she plows on a head and puts herself and her son Alex in danger. She decides to go against powerful people thinking she can get what she wants and there won't be consequences. I was so glad that Julian was there to level her out, as was a secondary character, Malik, the leader of the Followers. He was a strong character and offered the grandfatherly comfort and advice.

All in all, it was a good story. It was a story that focused on how power hungry people can be and how evil can grab hold and fight to hold on to the power with all of its strength, and the only way to face it is to be strong in the Lord. It was also interesting to see an idea of what Petra could have been like at it's strongest.

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:
Tracy L. Higley started her first novel at age eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. She has authored nine novels, including Garden of Madness and So Shines the Night. Tracy is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Ancient History and has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Italy, researching her novels and falling into adventures.

See her travel journals and more at
Twitter: @TLHigley
Facebook: tracyhigley

Thank you to BookLook, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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