Read Palace of Darkness Online
Authors: Tracy L. Higley
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.”
“I love Tracy Higley’s novels. Meticulously researched, spell-bindingly written with luscious prose and compelling and complex characters, each one is a treasure.”
SELLING AUTHOR OF
“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.”
“Readers will find much to enjoy here: fine writing, suspense, mystery, faith, love, and a new look at an old story.”
“The author’s insights into a woman’s inner strengths . . . will leave readers rejoicing.”
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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
Keeper of the Flame
© 2014 by Tracy Higley
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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.
ISBN 978-1-4016-8750-2 (paperback)
1. Petra (Extinct city)--Fiction. 2. Civilization, Ancient--Fiction. I. Title.
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:
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.
THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY . . . AND BEYOND
AN EXCERPT FROM THE QUEEN’S HANDMAID
—a sacred stone, often in the form of a block
—the main thoroughfare of a city
—seating area in a Roman arena or amphitheatre
—inner chamber of a temple
—the smallest organized unit of soldiers in the Roman army
—wedge-shaped sections that divided the amphitheatre vertically, separated by stairs
—small silver coin in Roman currency, most common coin
—a unit of weight equal to sixty shekels, monetary unit
—the scene building behind the stage
—small unit of money
—a unit of weight equal to about half an ounce, monetary unit
—stone tile worn around the neck and used as a ticket
—dining room containing a dining table with couches along three sides
—type of awning stretched over the seating area
Rome, AD 106
HE STREETS OF
OME LAY BARREN AND EMPTY
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.
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
, the stone tile he wore around his neck. The
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
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.