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The Silk Palace

by Colin Harvey

      Blue, a young scholar in the fantasy novel The Silk Palace, by Colin Harvey, takes a gigantic risk by changing her name to Bluestocking. That may sound like a minor infraction, but in the kingdom of Whiterock, the tower city situated between two kingdoms, that act is not only an act of treason but one that could condemn her soul. Blue travels to Whiterock to translate a sacred scroll that has baffled older and more learned scholars than herself. Here she faces not only extreme torture and death for the haughty indiscretion of using another name, but she comes face to face with royal snubbing, emotional betrayal, and the fury of a demonic god.

The Silk Palace is Harvey's first foray into fantasy, though he has written in the sci-fi and thriller genres. The location that Harvey portrays is vital to the story, not only because of the unique social and religious underpinnings in this society but also because of its singular location. Set high on a craggy mountain, there is no easy way to leave the city. The only way to get up or down is either by hot-air balloons on ropes or by a simple rope and wench set up. This makes the city safe from attack but also makes it problematic if anyone wants to escape unnoticed. This becomes pivotal as Blue's seeming lack of courage is put to the test.

A member of the Horror Writers Association, Harvey's skills at painting the grotesque and horrific are well used in this volume as he depicts public executions, warfare, and demonic slaughter and sexual violence. Since half of the book deals with Blue's battle with a demonic god, there was a lot of violence. I did find that uncomfortable. However, I did find myself rooting for Blue and her lone attempt to thwart evil.

The Silk Palace is a well-written fantasy with heroic elements, sometimes found in the most unusual places. It should be noted, however, that Harvey does not present a simple sweetness and light story. Battling a demon god shouldn't be confined to a few clever flicks of a sword and some witty words. I'll be curious to read other books by Colin Harvey.

The Book

Swimming Kangaroo
October 2007
Trade paperback
1934041424 / 978-1934041420
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The Reviewer

Janie Franz
Reviewed 2008
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: Itís a Business, Stupid!and co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book. Coming Soon: The Ultimate Wedding Workbook.
© 2008