Tracy L. Higley
Reviewed by Elizabeth Yager
Palace of Darkness tells the story of a mother’s desperate search for safe-haven and stability for herself and her son. Seeking help from family in the city of Petra, instead Cassia finds opposition, and her son is taken from her. She also finds herself surrounded by a different family, a group of believers whose generosity and genuine concern for Cassia and her son draw them into danger. Cassia’s journey is one of strength through adversity, and of learning where true strength lies.
Setting her story in AD 106 against the temporal backdrop of the persecution of the Christians under Trajan, Higley intertwines fact with fiction to create her account of the dangers faced by a church in the city of Petra. The reference to the martyrdom of many believers around the Roman Empire, including Ignatius of Antioch, strengthens this sense of time and place. Higley’s depth of language artfully brings the city and its inhabitants to life and beautifully conveys the characters’ stories. While the main focus of the book is Cassia and her son, we meet a number of characters whose stories are equally important and are brought to life through the narrative.
Although the setting is far removed from modern experience, the characters face relatable challenges, such as learning to trust and rely on God’s strength and wisdom, and follow his will, rather than relying on their own strength and plans.
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