I was given an eBook version of "Palace of Darkness" written by Tracy L. Higley through Booklook bloggers in order for me to review it.
Cassia has stayed with Aretas for six years despite his violent tendencies because she is desperate for love. When he is killed after a failed scam, she and their son Alexander travel to Petra, Aretas' birthplace, searching for family and a place to belong. When she finds out the truth about Aretas' family, she is thrown into a royal conspiracy. She finds help from the followers of The Way and wonders why they are willing to help her when she has nothing to give. Through their example, she learns to rely on the One True God and His strength rather than doing it all on her own.
Julian feels that he needs to take a stand to stop the persecution of the Church in Rome, but when all he does is make life more difficult, he flees to Petra to start over and blend into the background. God has other plans for him, however, and he must learn to serve in order to lead the Church in Petra.
I have previously read two other books by Tracy L. Higley and enjoyed this one the most. (I liked the others, as well). I was drawn into the story and the characters' lives. I liked getting a glimpse into what life was like for the early church meeting in people's homes and sharing letters from Paul and other church leaders. It was almost as if I was sitting there on the bench listening to them talk. It was nice to see the romance grow and not just have them suddenly be in love.
"Palace of Darkness" was previously released as "Petra: City in Stone" . I realized about 7/8 of the way through the book that I had "met" Julian's parents in "City on Fire: A Novel of Pompeii". I don't think it was necessary to have read it first, though, since they are mentioned mostly in passing.
I would recommend the book to those who like early Church history romances.
"Palace of Darkness" is available in Paperback
or Kindle editions