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.