Holy Christ – this was FANTASTIC! Not only that the cover design fits in perfectly in the entire makeup of this trilogy, the plot as well is created in a great and very haunting way. Wow, wow, wow! Good, I admit it, at first, I wasn´t very sure if I had made the right choice to ask for this second book. But when I got it, I was doing a little happy dance, and reading turned out to be one great pleasure.

Palace Of Silk-Die Verräterin*
by C. E. Bernard
Palace Saga #2
Translation Charlotte Lungstrass-Kapfer
Original Title Light That Flame
Publisher Penhaligon on May 29, 2018
Genre Fantasy
Pages 441
Format Softcover
Source Publisher

Rea was first the bodyguard of Crown Prince Robin, then his secret lover. After the dramatic events at the English royal court, she had to flee. In Paris, she hopes for a new life in freedom, because in France, people may touch – even the in England feared Magdalene must not hide. But when Ninon, Rea´s closest confidante and sister of the French King, calls her friend to the court, Rea brings in the curse of her past: Nobody less than Prince Robin awaits her – but not because he wants to win Rea back, but because he stops for Ninon´s hand. (personal translation by ©Vi at Inkvotary) 
Rea wants to start all over in France. But without work or money not easy to achieve. So, when the King of France finds out, that his sister is in danger and Rea has nothing to prove to him that she can handle life on her own while in his country, he orders her to work as his sister´s bodyguard. And once again, Rea is in the position that her life means nothing, except for the king and his sister.

Good, there were some moments while reading where I thought “great, we are back again in the same plot as book one, only this time things are happening in France”. But oh boy. The author brought in a lot more intrigues, haunting scenes, and romance, holy heck! 

Palace of Silk is a fast-paced story, with many action scenes and figures you have to look at twice to see their real face. And with the setting of a very colorful Paris, combined with a king who acts like a three-year-old toddler, you can bet that humor, charm, and some very great to read dialogues are among the way. Life in Paris and especially at the royal court is colorful, decadent, intrigue, and dangerous. Everything has to go to the whim and will of the kings´ very childish behavior, mood, and demands. His sister gets a little scratch from a rose thorn and the king literally burns the entire bush down. The town´s council asks him about the costs for a planned ball, and the king reacts as if the world is crashing down on him. Who cares about it anyway?

Rea is a young woman who was born and raised that she has to hide what she is, or her life is in real danger. As a Magdalene, she can read people´s minds by touching their bare skin. But in England, this is strictly forbidden. Over the canal in France on the other hand, she can finally be what she is, and no one will hunt her for her natural ability. As much as I found it intriguing how Rea fights for what she wants, in a very unique way, as much I am annoyed how hesitantly she is most of the time. There are some scenes in which she has the one in a lifetime opportunity to touch her enemy to get to know what she wants to know and what does Rea? Moving at a snail´s pace. This is in stark contrast to her other behavior and made me almost yelling at her. Rea has many enemies. And one very close to her. Madame Hiver is a figure I wasn´t sure at first what to think of. But the more I read into the book, the more I got the impression that she is someone Rea rather keeps at bay or as far away as possible from her and her loved ones. And in the end, I wasn´t really surprised to find out who she really was. It was absolutely natural for the plot, though I wasn´t very fond of the idea of how she was presented.

A completely haunting and very thrilling novel from start to finish. Many questions got answered while other questions arose. And the little touch of gay relationships is the dot to the “I” I´d say. And after that end, I am really looking forward to the last book of this trilogy. 

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by Penhaligon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

C. E. Bernard
C.E. Bernard ©Eva-Lotte Hill

C.E. Bernard is the pseudonym of Christine Lehnen, who was born in 1990 in the Ruhr and since then has lived in Canada, the United States, Australia, and Paris. He short stories were awarded the literary prizes of the Young Academies of Europe and the Ruhr Festival Recklinghausen. Since 2014 she teaches Literary Writing at the University of Bonn. In addition, Christine Lehnen studies English literature and political science, does research on creative writing and stages plays with the Bonn University Shakespeare Company. 


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