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The Palace Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1 2003


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446610992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446610995
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.4 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,253,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Palace, the second novel in the Saint-Germain series, provides a look at the religious and political hardships in Renaissance Italy. The book focuses on the underlying struggles of the Pope in Rome and the renegade priest Savonarola, as well as the political up's and down's of the era. Our hero, the ever-elusive Francesco Ragoczy da San Germano, is caught in the middle of these conflicts to the point where he has to flee the city for his safety.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Saint-Germain is a Vampire, but not in the way we have come to know of them through other books and movies. He shares many of the same characteristics of the Vampires we know but to a lesser degree; without the flash, the magic, and evil we are accustomed to. He comes from a royal background, has a great scope of influence, is very wealthy, has a strong intellect, and due to his kind and caring nature, attracts the ladies of the time.
This novel is rather a sad one, since it focuses around the political and religious pain and torment people had to endure in order to survive. Italy, while in a glorious Renaissance, still was under the strong influence of the Church as well as local changing politics. Being called a Heretic, whether true or not, meant certain death, in a savage and cruel way. It is under these conditions that Francesco Ragoczy has chosen to live and this novel follows several lives within the government, the Church, the local builders, and artists.
If books with historical themes interest you, then you will certainly enjoy this book. If you're already a fan of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, then you're sure to love the book.
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By R. Browning on March 11 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I do not think anyone would really expect that they could live a life such as that of St. Germaine but these books (I have read them all, twice) will certainly transport you to the era in which the story occurs. The writting is vivid, alive with the local color, even smells are there. Having traveled throughout the world and presently living in China, I have been to the places described in these books, all of them. the color is accurate even to present day, only the vile church and the smells are missing, a little anyway. To read these books is to dream a little dream and transport oneself to places been and never been, to places gone and not quite forgotten. It is to become a man such as all men should be and live a life dreams are made of. Keep up the good work Ms. Yarbro.
Roy Browning
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
For some this book might be a little slow, since Yarbro does get a little bogged down in the historical surroundings. Slow or not, it was one of the best Vampire books I ever read. It's kind of funny actually, I first heard of Hotel Translyvania and thought it was a joke because of the way the reviewer described it (a historical vampire novel of romance--what a hoot). And then one day a year or so later I stumbled across a paperback copy of the Palace, and thought why not at least give it a try--I was hooked to say the least. Yarbro's blending of history, romance and the hardships of vampire life make her books very interesting reads.
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Format: Hardcover
There is no writer I enjoy more than Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. I actually own multiple copies of her books. Each one is a treasure to be savoured again and again. "The Palace" is one of my most favourite of her novels. Carefully researched, beautifully written...it is like a quiet, swelling symphony of words. Saint Germain is a compelling, enthralling character. I read my original copy of this book so many times the pages have come loose--but I still have everyone of them.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
second in a series, and one of the best Jan. 9 2001
By R. Kelly Wagner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Palace is a historical novel featuring a vampire hero. It's the second one in a series written about this character. Those who already know that they like vampire novels, anything at all that features a vampire, can skip this review, and likewise, those who hate the whole idea of vampires can skip it. But for those trying to decide whether or not to read more of this genre, or whether the one vampire novel you've already read was a fluke, it may help if we have some ways to categorize these novels. Thus: BunRab's Standard Vampire Elements. First, most authors of vampire novels approach from one of the main genres of genre fiction; thus their background may be primarily in romance, or in science fiction/fantasy, or in murder mysteries, or in horror. Second, many vampire novels come in series; knowing whether this is one of a series, and where in the series it falls, may be helpful. Then we have some particular characteristics: - Is the vampire character (or characters) a "good guy" or a "bad guy"? Or are there some of each? - Are there continuing characters besides the vampire, through the series? - Are there other types of supernatural beings besides vampires? - Can the vampire stand daylight under some circumstances, or not stand daylight at all? - Does the vampire have a few other supernatural characteristics, many other supernatural characteristics, or none other than just being a vampire? (E.g., super strength, change into an animal, turn invisible) - Does the vampire have a regular job and place in society, or is being a vampire his or her entire raison d'etre? - Does the vampire literally drink blood, or is there some other (perhaps metaphorical) method of feeding? - Is sex a major plot element, a minor plot element, or nonexistent? - Is the entire vampire feeding act a metaphor for sex, part of a standard sex act, or unrelated to sex? - Is the story set in one historical period, more than one historical period, or entirely in the present day? - Does the story have elements of humor, or is it strictly serious? - Is the writing style good, or is the writing just there to manage to hold together the plot and characters?
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's series about the vampire St. Germain starts from the historical romance genre (although Yarbro is equally well known as a science fiction writer), and is a continuing series. St. Germain is definitely a good guy, using the knowledge he's gained in several thousand years of living to help others. There are a few characters that continue from book to book besides him: the women he turns into vampires, and his "servant," Roger, who is a ghoul. Ghouls are the only other supernatural characters who appear in these books. St. Germain can stand daylight with the right preparations. He has unusual strength, but not limitless; unusual wisdom; and is an "alchemist" but there are no overt "magic" powers. In most of the series, he has an occupation of being an aristocrat, insofar as that was a full-time occupation through most of history; in some books he has another "job" as well. St. Germain does not literally drink blood; he feeds on emotions, usually during erotic experiences, but sex is nonetheless only a minor plot element, rare and very discreet. The series covers 3000 years, from ancient Egypt to the modern day; each book is set in a span of a particular period, usually 20-30 years. The writing is serious, but not self-important; the writing quality is excellent, and Yarbro's abilities as an author qualify these books as literature rather than "merely" genre fiction.
The Palace is set in Fiorenza (Florence) in the time of the Medicis, and with a Borgia Pope in Rome. So the characters include some of the most famous people of the Italian Renaissance. Although this is only the second book written in the series, Yarbro is clearly setting up more background on St. Germain, for future novels. In this historical period, it's easy to make the Roman Catholic church a villain; the infamous Savonarola is in Florence, setting up his Bonfire of the Vanities. Warning: some torture scenes. On the other hand, there is at least a partly happy ending. One disappointment to me is that St. Germain turns a woman into a vampire in this book, and yet, as far as I can tell, she never again appears in the series, unlike Olivia Clemens. Once someone is "of his blood" I would expect to see them turn up as a recurring character. We can also, after all the harm he causes, count it a happy ending when Savonarola is executed. The bit players in this novel include Leonardo da Vinci - that's the kind of period it was! Good read, gorgeous descriptions of art and architecture, a lot more fun than studying the Renaissance in your Western Civ class!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Second of the Saint-Germain series. June 13 2002
By James Yanni - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For those already familiar with the series, I will only say that this second book improved slightly on a very good first book, "Hotel Transylvania". I'm not entirely sure why I liked it better; perhaps the villain was ever so slightly less cardboard (A medieval religious fanatic, rather than a diabolist) or perhaps the romantic angle was slightly less like a Gothic romance; it seemed more plausible that Saint-Germain's romantic interest was more than a bit nervous about the whole vampire concept, instead of embracing it as whole-heartedly as Madeline did in the first book. But whatever the reason, I enjoyed this book somewhat more than I did "Hotel Transylvania".
For those not yet familiar with the series, an introduction is in order: "The Palace" is the second of on the order of a dozen (so far) novels of Saint-Germain, who is a vampire. He is one of the first of the modern "good guy" vampires, an unequivocal hero rather than an antihero or a sympathetic villain, the more traditional roles for a vampire. At least in these first two books, there is definitely more than a taste of the "historical romance" to the books, so if you enjoy that genre, you should certainly enjoy these (unless you just don't care for vampires, and even then, I'd suggest giving them a try.) Each book is set in a different historical period, and they don't progress in any sort of historical order; the first is set in mid-1700s France; this one, technically a prequel, is set in late 1400s Italy. The history seems to this only moderately informed reader to be extremely good, but it wouldn't take much to fool my knowledge of the period, so I can't say how accurate they actually are. And the writing is quite good, even if I still don't much care for the artifice of beginning and ending of each chapter with a piece of correspondence.
If you are a fan of traditional vampire fiction, you may possibly find yourself disappointed with this series; there are many elements generally found in the vampire genre that are missing from these books: while not without angst, Saint-Germain is remarkably well-adjusted for someone who has seen all the suffering that he has, who has been as alienated as he presumably has been for as long as he has been. There are only a passing few mild "sex/blood drinking" scenes, and less of the mysterious than is usually found in the genre. But if you like historical romance, or even historical fiction generally, and don't object to the concept of a heroic vampire protagonist, you should find this book, and probably most of this series, quite enjoyable.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Religious hardships for Saint-Germain in the Renaissance June 30 2003
By Jon Weber - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Palace, the second novel in the Saint-Germain series, provides a look at the religious and political hardships in Renaissance Italy. The book focuses on the underlying struggles of the Pope in Rome and the renegade priest Savonarola, as well as the political up's and down's of the era. Our hero, the ever-elusive Francesco Ragoczy da San Germano, is caught in the middle of these conflicts to the point where he has to flee the city for his safety.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Saint-Germain is a Vampire, but not in the way we have come to know of them through other books and movies. He shares many of the same characteristics of the Vampires we know but to a lesser degree; without the flash, the magic, and evil we are accustomed to. He comes from a royal background, has a great scope of influence, is very wealthy, has a strong intellect, and due to his kind and caring nature, attracts the ladies of the time.
This novel is rather a sad one, since it focuses around the political and religious pain and torment people had to endure in order to survive. Italy, while in a glorious Renaissance, still was under the strong influence of the Church as well as local changing politics. Being called a Heretic, whether true or not, meant certain death, in a savage and cruel way. It is under these conditions that Francesco Ragoczy has chosen to live and this novel follows several lives within the government, the Church, the local builders, and artists.
If books with historical themes interest you, then you will certainly enjoy this book. If you're already a fan of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, then you're sure to love the book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Quite an Experience! July 27 2004
By L. J Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This the first book that I have read in the Saint Germaine series. As I understand they don't have to be read in any particular order as each book doesn't take place in chronological order.
In The Palace, Francesco Ragoczy da San Germano, alchemist and humanitarian, builds a grand palace in Renaissance Florence or as it is refereded to here, Fiorenza. He befriends many people in the city, including the painter Botticelli and Laurenzo Medici himself. But all is not well in this wealthy, enlightened city. A mad preacher named Savonarola is slowly gaining popularity because of his fierce piety and fire and brimstone condemnation of the arts and learning. His ability to terrify the populace and the help of a demented visionary woman named Estasia, who also happened to be Ragoczy's former nymphomaniac lover, allow this man seize power after Laurenzo's death. He starts a reign of terror in the city that threatens to swallow all Ragoczy holds dear- first and formost, Demetrice, his young apprentice, who has been accused of heresy.
Overall I was very impressed with this novel. It's story can be slow at times and sometimes pivotal happenings are desribed in correspondances between characters but the climatic ending is really zippy. The atmosphere was very well done, especially when Yarbro describes how oppressive Fiorenza had become when Savonarola had taken over with his horrific brand of religious fervor. There are a couple of scenes were he or Sister Estasia would really get crazy and the hair on the back of my neck would raise up.
I think the blarbs and such on the book's back over are really misleading. They make it sound as if this is vampire romance novel but it isn't. Although San Germano seemed to fall for Demetrice, that's just a subplot that happens in the last third of the book. In fact Demetrice is introduced in the second chapter but doesn't reappear until the half-way point. San Germano doesn't really act like a vampire as they are often imagined in most kinds of fiction- he isn't evil or a broody goth-type. We never even get to see him drink blood. His vampirism doesn't even effect the story at all until he must find a way to save Demetrice.
San Germano isn't even really the most vibrant or forceful character in this novel. Until the last third, he is reactive rather than proactive, basing his actions on what happens to him because of more forceful characters rather than making things happen on his own. His is very much a wall-flower until then. In the earlier portions of the book, I got a much better sense of the characters of Laurenzo Medici and Estasia and other various supporting characters. San Germano reveals very little about his past in this book so that kind of keeps him from being overly interesting too.
Still, it's hard not to be enthralled by the rich or desperate atmosphere that Yarbro creates as she weaves a story about fervent mad little preacher and the lives he destorys with his fanatacism. I'm very glad that I had the next book in the series. Hopefully, more details will be revealed about this elusive vampire named Saint Germaine.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
First Saint Germain Book for Me April 8 2004
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For some this book might be a little slow, since Yarbro does get a little bogged down in the historical surroundings. Slow or not, it was one of the best Vampire books I ever read. It's kind of funny actually, I first heard of Hotel Translyvania and thought it was a joke because of the way the reviewer described it (a historical vampire novel of romance--what a hoot). And then one day a year or so later I stumbled across a paperback copy of the Palace, and thought why not at least give it a try--I was hooked to say the least. Yarbro's blending of history, romance and the hardships of vampire life make her books very interesting reads.


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