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The Palace of Love by Jack Vance

The Palace of Love (1967)

by Jack Vance

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Duivelsprinsen (3), Demon Princes (3)

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3951142,098 (3.69)11



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English (9)  French (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (11)
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Geen review. Sorry ( )
  EdwinKort | Jul 4, 2018 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Two down and three to go… In order to exact revenge on Viole Falushe, the third Demon Prince, Kirth Gersen must first discover who Mr. Falushe is, and then find and infiltrate his famous Palace of Love.

The actual plot, while just as brisk and fun as usual, isn't the most entertaining aspect of The Palace of Love. This volume is particularly charming because of Jack Vance's exquisite characters — three in particular:

1. Vogel Filschner was rejected by the prettiest girl in school when he was a pimply 14-year old geek. His retaliation feels just like what school psychologists are warning us about these days. He's a fascinating villain!

2. Navarath is a washed-up poet who lives on a houseboat. We're not sure if he's a genius, a fake, crazy, or just drunk. Whatever he is, he's amusing and Vance has lots of fun with Navarath, giving him an eccentric artist personality. He talks dramatically and emphatically, gestures extravagantly, seeks attention, drinks a lot, and broods. When he got on a spaceship for the first time he "simultaneously became afflicted with claustrophobia and agoraphobia, and lay on a settee with his feet bare and a cloth pulled over his head." He even constructs absurd (but somehow ingenious) poems, including one whose stanzas end with lines such as "But Tim R. Mortiss degurgled me" and "But Tim R. Mortiss peturgles me."

3. Zan Zu, the girl from Eridu, is a dreamy dirty adolescent misfit with no name. (Since Kirth asked for her name, Navarath introduced her as "Zan Zu from Eridu.") Vance can't help but use her entire title nearly every time she's mentioned (and I can't either), so Kirth thinks of her as Zan Zu, the girl from Eridu, and we regularly encounter the words "Zan Zu, the girl from Eridu" in the text. It just trips off the tongue so nicely and somehow made me smile every time I saw it. (I read somewhere that Jack Vance chose his characters' names this way — by saying them over and over to see how they sound.)

These are three of Vance's best supporting characters, all packed into about 150 pages. That's enough reason to read The Palace of Love.
www.fantasyliterature.com ( )
1 vote Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
More than anything, its Vance's writing that keeps me captivated. The soft flowing nature of his prose takes the reader into a fantasy SF world, rich with charm and adventurous plots. There are few writers like Vance. However, I suppose he's not for everyone. If your looking for Hard SF, I don't think you'll be satisfied. Still, Vance is classic SF. A good read for anyone who loves the classics. ( )
1 vote sgarnell | Jul 10, 2012 |
The Palace of Love is the third of Vance’s Demon Princes series. It was first published by Berkley Books in 1967, three years after Berkley published the first two books of the series.

Please note that spoilers for the book’s plot follow.

The novel begins with Kirth Gersen spending time with Alusz Iphigenia Eperje-Tokay, the woman he rescued in The Killing Machine. Alusz cannot understand Gersen’s quest for vengeance and so the two part. Alas. It was not meant to be. (I still don’t find Alusz nearly as entertaining a love interest as the ill-fated Pallis Atwrode from The Star King.)

In his effort to track down Viole Falushe, third of the Demon Princes, Gersen follows a lead to Sarkoy, a world mentioned previously in the series where its inhabitants have made poison a way of life. There, Gersen learns something of Falushe’s past: he was born Vogel Filschner on Earth. Filschner was a vile creature even as a teen, and he kidnapped and sold into slavery an entire choral group of girls in a fruitless quest to possess the object of his affections, a girl named Jheral Tinzy. Unfortunately for the budding young psychopath, Tinzy didn’t attend choir practice the day of the kidnapping.

Gersen travels to Falushe’s hometown on Earth, since the criminal mastermind is still rumored to occasionally reappear here (regrettably we don’t see any of the quaint, bizarre customs for which Vance is famous in his descriptions of Europe in 3500 AD; I view this as a missed opportunity). It is here that Gersen makes the acquaintance of the mad poet Navarth, who maintains occasional contact with Faluche. In Navarth’s care is a young girl of unclear antecedents who resembles Jheral Tinzy to an uncanny degree. Gersen’s investigation on Earth and elsewhere is interesting, as are the financial arrangements he makes to invest and utilize his ill-gotten gains from the last novel. Gersen also prepares a cover story for himself as a journalist for a magazine he purchases outright. Such are the options when one has billions to spend in vigilantism!

After a series of botched attempts to encounter Faluche (once again, his precise identity is unclear), Gersen finally arranges to travel as a guest to Faluche’s Palace of Love on a distant world. There, Gersen finds an entire society that had dedicated itself to serving the criminal overlord. He also discovers that the fiend has created a series of clones of his childhood obsession (the original having committed suicide many years previously) in an attempt to find one version of Jheral Tinzy who will love him. Truly a perverse, tragic figure. And one that, of course, Gersen ends up killing in the end.

I didn’t find the second half of The Palace of Love to be particularly engaging; it meandered a bit and I was, to be honest, bored in parts. I also found many of the epigraphs to be especially (and unnecessarily) bizarre. Gersen's characterization, never particularly strong in the series, is limited in this middle work of the series. I found this to be the weakest of the first three Demon Princes novels, though I certainly don't think it's bad by any means, and it does include some delightful moments. I give The Palace of Love 3 out of 5 stars.

Review copyright 2010 J. Andrew Byers ( )
1 vote bibliorex | Jul 26, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Vanceprimary authorall editionscalculated
D'Achille, GinoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lina, RikCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russell, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
SARKOVY : planète solitaire de Phi Ophiuchi.
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Disambiguation notice
Early Dutch editions carry the title ''De Duivelsprins'', later editions have this corrected to ''Het Paleis van de Liefde''
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