The third in the Demon Prince Series, The Palace of Love shares the same sense of mercurial idiosyncracy and downright mischeviousness as its predecessors. Kirth Gersen - he of saturnine imperturbablity - now undertakes the monumental task of destroying the mysterious Viole Falushe. Vance leads us through a labyrinthine journey, Gersen requiring all his resource and skill in tracking his victim. Through a combination of deduction, determination and sheer chance, Gersen at last confronts his prey at the fabulous Palace of love - a hedonistic eutopia created by Falushe - and Vance does not disappoint. Rich in dark irony, explosive action, clever plot and the inimitable and utterly unique Vance style, the reader will be enthralled. Each planet is vivid, intense. In one paragraph, Vance can bring alive the smells,sounds, textures, colours, mannerisms of a time, a place. We witness the cruel, the beautiful, the mad. From the unpredictability of the poet Navarth, to the psychotic fixations of a mass murderer, Viole Falushe ; from the enigmatic, wistful Zan Zu from Eridu, to Gersen himself, a monomaniac, his entire existence devoted to be the nemesis of the five Demon Princes. Phew ! Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a must read.
If you like space opera, you will like this. Kirth Gersen and his grandfather survive an attack on their home planet of Mount Pleasant, a harmless pastoral world. His family and five thousand others are killed or enslaved by a confederation of mysterious Master Criminals, known popularly as the Demon Princes, who go to great pains to hide their identities. Gersen is trained by his formidable grandfather to track down, unmask and then kill them in revenge. He becomes highly skilled in martial arts, weaponry and surveillance and in the use of poisons. The stories are fairly formulaic: Demon Prince is investigated, tracked unmaked and killed by Gersen. In each story gersen meets and then loses a beautiful girl. The fun lies in the interesting descriptions of people and societies written in a distinctive style of understatement laced with sly humour. Spurious works are freely quoted from. In the printed books there are entertaining footnotes on the pages, which have been ,irritatingly,omitted from the e-versions. This loses it one star!