The Mirrored Palace
Two men: Two accounts: One goal in mind!
Spies are not a think of the past but are very prevalent in the present. Two men will give you their accounts of the same incidents and you the reader as I will decide which one is credible and which is not. But there is a third voice that of Reynolds who has been placed in a tenuous position by his superiors in the Army. Forced to be an attaché to a known spy he begins his travels and winds up in places he would never expect. Captain Hodgson and Richard Burton each one presenting an account of events that would take them into dangerous places, meeting with violent adversaries and yet only would tell it the way it happened.
There are three voices that are distinctly heard as Hodgson, Burton and Reynolds each recount their own version of the incidents that led them to the ashram. The Hajji journeys were different and each one encountered the same two men Said and Barkusinsi and both were not exactly trustworthy. Burton gets caught up in his own lies and yet when meeting the Prince in his palace, Hodgson’s lies betray him and things get out of hand.
Each one talked about Sa ad and another man that were both related to each incident described. Sa and the Demon seemed to feel he was all mighty and yet when dealing with both Burton and Hodgson he began to find himself hoping to look better in the eyes of those who might realize he was being taken down and yet was he evil?
Throughout the novel Burton is called the Darwaysh a holy man who saves many lives including Sharif and Hossein who saved his life. Reynolds is so enthralled with the journal and what it says that he will not leave or stop until he hears the entire story from Hodgson. Then the author allows us to read from the journal Burton’s account of reaching Mecca. Followed by the time and place of his funeral. But why did Hodgson leave without telling Reynolds where he was going? Why is he so in awe of this man?
Lives are at stake when described in both man’s accounts of the events. The violence is there and the betrayal too.
Richard Francis Burton is a legendary explorer and author and he fell in love with woman named Leda while in the British army? When her parents learned of it they poisoned her? Burton’s life changed and he was vulnerable and made different choices that would change the course of events for and he began hanging out in an opium den.
Learning about Burton in this novel piqued my interest to do more research about him and learning the facts that were related were all true. A marksman, swordsman and even a rider who spoke 30 languages. The murder of his niece was horrific and reading the account in the journal brought it to life even more. The actions were realistic, the dialogue genuine and the vivid descriptions makes the reader feel as if you are experiencing it.
On the other side Hodgson’s accounts were not quite the same and yet they draw you in wondering which one is true and which is not. Both Hajji journeys were depicted in the mind of both men and the raid on the harem guards by the eunuchs and leopards was original Spies are everywhere and Reynolds became so immersed in learning more about how they operate that he thought more about it before deciding where to go when all is said and done.
The chapters when we finally meet the Prince are quite compelling and we learn about his treatments of Burton, his loyalties and then deceits and cruel punishments when it suits him.
Prince Rashid wanted a deal and he wanted something handed over but sometimes the best laid plans might end someone is hopes and dreams. Wanting to assure the transaction would go smoothly Burton wanted to be sure that the eunuchs could be trusted. Packages there, each one obeying the prince’s orders but not all things go as planned. Next we meet Anouka the girl in question who is to be turned over to her father.
Something happens and tragedy strikes and Burton’s world is overturned a manuscript that changes both Reynolds and Burton and and ending that will shock and startle you and bring two lives to a close. Where will Reynolds wind up? What about when you walk into the palace and meet the Prince what exactly did he get and why? Looking at all of the mirrors what do you see in each one? What reflection of yourself or others will illuminate who they are in this Mirrored Palace? A story that is part fact and part fiction and three voices that are heard loud and clear as the author along with Burton Reynolds and Hodgson relate their own experiences dealing with his cohorts, the Prince, the guards and leading to an unforgettable ending.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews