Read Palace of Darkness Online

Authors: Tracy L. Higley

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Palace of Darkness

Acclaim for Tracy L. Higley

“Rich in historical detail, Higley’s vivid writing brings to life the plots and intrigues that swirled throughout the ancient world.”


CBA R
ETAILERS
+
R
ESOURCES
(
ON
T
HE
Q
UEEN

S
H
ANDMAID
)

“I love Tracy Higley’s novels. Meticulously researched, spell-bindingly written with luscious prose and compelling and complex characters, each one is a treasure.”

—T
OSCA
L
EE
,
N
EW
Y
ORK
T
IMES
BEST
-
SELLING AUTHOR OF
H
AVAH
: T
HE
S
TORY OF
E
VE
(
ON
S
O
S
HINES THE
N
IGHT
)

“Higley proves once again that she has a great talent for historical fiction . . . The story is so well detailed and the struggles between different faiths and cultures is exceptionally illustrated. Daria characterizes all one would hope for in a strong, brave woman of faith.”


RT
B
OOK
R
EVIEWS
, 4-
STAR REVIEW
OF
S
O
S
HINES THE
N
IGHT

“Readers will find much to enjoy here: fine writing, suspense, mystery, faith, love, and a new look at an old story.”


P
UBLISHERS
W
EEKLY
(
ON
G
ARDEN OF
M
ADNESS
)

“The author’s insights into a woman’s inner strengths . . . will leave readers rejoicing.”


RT
B
OOK
R
EVIEWS
, 4-1/2-
STAR REVIEW
, TOP PICK! (
ON
G
ARDEN OF
M
ADNESS
)

Also by Tracy L. Higley

The Queen’s Handmaid

So Shines the Night

Garden of Madness

Isle of Shadows

City on Fire: A Novel of Pompeii

Pyramid of Secrets
(e-book only)

Keeper of the Flame
(e-book only)

© 2014 by Tracy Higley

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc.

Thomas Nelson, Inc., titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail [email protected]

Publisher’s Note: This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.

ISBN 978-1-4016-8751-9 (eBook)

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Higley, T. L.

Palace of darkness : a novel of Petra / Tracy L. Higley.

pages cm

ISBN 978-1-4016-8750-2 (paperback)

1. Petra (Extinct city)--Fiction. 2. Civilization, Ancient--Fiction. I. Title.

PS3608.I375P35 2014

813’.6--dc23

2014011027

14 15 16 17 18 19 RRD 6 5 4 3 2 1

 

To the three men who have served God as my pastors during my adult life:

Jeffrey Hartman

Mike Otto

Bob Sloan

Each of you has faithfully preached the freedom of the gospel, prayerfully opened the Scriptures to me, and given yourself to the work of the Kingdom. Thank you for your ministry in my heart and the hearts of so many others.

CONTENTS

WORD LIST

ONE

TWO

THREE

FOUR

FIVE

SIX

SEVEN

EIGHT

NINE

TEN

ELEVEN

TWELVE

THIRTEEN

FOURTEEN

FIFTEEN

SIXTEEN

SEVENTEEN

EIGHTEEN

NINETEEN

TWENTY

TWENTY-ONE

TWENTY-TWO

TWENTY-THREE

TWENTY-FOUR

TWENTY-FIVE

TWENTY-SIX

TWENTY-SEVEN

TWENTY-EIGHT

TWENTY-NINE

THIRTY

THIRTY-ONE

THIRTY-TWO

THIRTY-THREE

THIRTY-FOUR

THIRTY-FIVE

THIRTY-SIX

THIRTY-SEVEN

THIRTY-EIGHT

THIRTY-NINE

FORTY

FORTY-ONE

FORTY-TWO

FORTY-THREE

FORTY-FOUR

FORTY-FIVE

FORTY-SIX

FORTY-SEVEN

FORTY-EIGHT

FORTY-NINE

FIFTY

FIFTY-ONE

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY . . . AND BEYOND

READING GROUP GUIDE

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

AN EXCERPT FROM THE QUEEN’S HANDMAID

ONE

WORD LIST

betyl
—a sacred stone, often in the form of a block

Cardo Maximus
—the main thoroughfare of a city

cavea
—seating area in a Roman arena or amphitheatre

cella
—inner chamber of a temple

contubernium
—the smallest organized unit of soldiers in the Roman army

cunei
—wedge-shaped sections that divided the amphitheatre vertically, separated by stairs

denarii
—small silver coin in Roman currency, most common coin

gladius
—short sword

mina
—a unit of weight equal to sixty shekels, monetary unit

pilum
—javelin

scanae
—the scene building behind the stage

sestarii
—small unit of money

shekel
—a unit of weight equal to about half an ounce, monetary unit

tessera
—stone tile worn around the neck and used as a ticket

triclinium
—dining room containing a dining table with couches along three sides

velarium
—type of awning stretched over the seating area

ONE

Rome, AD 106

T
HE STREETS OF
R
OME LAY BARREN AND EMPTY
,
SUCKED
dry by the colossal Flavian Amphitheatre that had swallowed seventy-five thousand Roman citizens in a single gulp, and would hold each one captive until they enjoyed the horrors Julian now raced to prevent.

More time
.
I need more time.
Already the crowd inside the four-story rim of stone cheered for the first event.

Julian’s sandals smacked the black basalt road that led toward the amphitheatre. The blistering Roman sun pounded the moisture from his skin and left him panting. He had run most of the way, since an old servant in Vita’s house had pointed a gnarled finger toward the east, toward the Forum, toward the arena of death.

Eighty arches ringed the outside of the theatre on each of its first three stories. The bottom arches provided access to the public, and the second story’s niches held statues of the gods and emperors, who now looked down on Julian as he sprinted across the large travertine slabs that paved the arena’s edge.

He ran toward one of the four main entrances and fumbled for the
tessera
, the stone tile he wore around his neck. The
designatores
at the entrance would insist on examining it, to see the sector, row, and seat to which he was assigned.

Indeed, the usher at this entrance was full of his own importance and held a palm to Julian’s oncoming rush as though he could stop him with only the force of his arm.

“Too long in your bed this morning, eh?” His smug smile took in Julian’s hastily wrapped toga and sweat-dampened hair.

Julian thrust the
tessera
before the man’s gaze. “Here, here, look at it.”

Still the amused smile. The usher opened his mouth to speak again.

“Look at it!”

Daunted, the man let his gaze travel over the tile, then took a tiny breath and stepped back. His grin faded to a look of regret, and he bowed his head. As if that were not enough, he bowed at the waist and extended a hand to invite Julian to enter.

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