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The Palace of Love

(Demon Princes #3)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,010 ratings  ·  55 reviews
In the midpoint novel of the "Demon Princes" series, Kirth Gersen sets his sights upon the mysterious Viole Falushe. Vance describes this murderous creature as a "sybarite." "Sadistic pervert" would probably be a more apropos phrase.After several false leads, Gersen backtracks the villain to his point of origin --- Earth, of all places! Then the trail moves outward again, ...more
176 pages
Published May 1st 1980 by Hodderand Stoughton (first published 1967)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,010 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Start your review of The Palace of Love (Demon Princes, #3)
3.5 stars. This is the third book of the "Demon Princes" series by Jack Vance. Not quite as good as the first two (the Star King and the Killing Machine) which I though were superb. This is still a very good read (as just about everything Vance ever wrote was) and a nice addition to what I believe is a fantastic and under-appreciated series by Jack Vance. ...more
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First time read in Orbit omnibus
Second time in Orbit omnibus (legimus)
Kat  Hooper
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 pr
This series belongs to my absolute all time favorites. I think I've read these books ten times or more and they are still interesting, great to read and fun.
For people who would like to try and start reading science fiction: please choose something by Jack Vance.
Ivan Stoner
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vance
Does anyone really understand Demon Princes?

There is a good chunk of Vance's work where the plot is pretty bare. It's largely an excuse for the characters to travel around and experience the world. The Palace of Love and the other Demon Princes books fit into this category.

Briefly, the protagonist Kirth Gersen's family and entire community were murdered when he was a boy by a quintet of intergalactic criminals -- the Demon Princes. His grandfather vowed revenge and spent Gersen's youth trainin
David McGrogan
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There is something profound at work in this book, which like all of Vance's fiction is a deliciously sweet slice of pulp that hints at something much deeper. A meditation on love, identity, sex, power, insecurity, vanity, monomania, and meaning? It's all of those things, and the fact that you can never quite see the results of that meditation - just glimpse them from behind an opaque glass screen, like Falusche's face itself - makes them all the more important. (*What*, though, to those who have ...more
Jim Mcclanahan
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
The third in the tales of Kerth Gerson tracking down the five perpetrators of his family's murder, this one dwells less on figuring out who does the evil deeds and more on just trying to ferret him out from among the pleasure seekers who are captivated by his hedonistic wiles. The tale itself is not momentous, but is imbued with Vance's customary literate style and impeccable story telling. Gerson is an anti-hero you can get behind. ...more
Jul 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: space-opera
The personalities of the Demon Princes grow ever more outré and extravagant. Within the outlandish displays and shallow artistry of Viole Falushe one sees the original insecure youth, whose intricate manipulations have as goal the reparation of an ancient injury.

Kirth Gersen in comparison plays an increasing role as the straight man in all this, a stolid figure with little overt personality except a wit that is not so much "dry" as "dessicated". His monomania for justice/revenge falters and it w
Chris Gager
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Moving on to number three. The main review will be under "The Demon Princes". ...more
Lisa's book adventures
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: oldschool-sci-fi
Keith definitely wasn't up to his game. Lots of wine drinking and playing 'who is it?'
Not as good as the previous two in the series but amazing nonetheless!
I loved it a great deal !
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Palace of Love was first published in 1966 in Galaxy Magazine. It was released as a novel in 1968. This is the third book in Jack Vance's The Demon Princes and remains in print. It is 200 pages long, making it slightly longer than the first two novels in the series. The first novel of the series, The Star King, provided essential background material so should be read first. In The Killing Machine, the second novel, there is further development of the main character, Kirth Gersen, so that ide ...more
Nov 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Gersen continues his revenge-quest against the "Demon Princes," involving more entertaining world-building, fun procedural nonsense involving the fortune he acquired in Book 2 (at one point, a newly-hired lackey details just how he's laundering Gersen's money), and a visit to future Earth (pretty similar to modern Earth).

Book 3 finally has a non-Gersen character who's genuinely interesting, in Navarth, a poet with a relationship to Gersen's quarry. Navarth is sometimes funny, always unpredictabl
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm enjoying the series, this the third book, was my favorite so far.

The Skinny: Kirth Gersen's family were murdered when he was a small child by the five Demon Princes. The Demon Princes are five notorious criminals that live in the galactic world imagined by Jack Vance.

Gersen's grandfather ensured that his grandson was trained by some of the most vicious assassins in the galaxy. Now, Gersen, is a monomaniac whose only goal in life is to kill the Demon Princes.

Two down, three to go. In this
Apr 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Jack Vance... there is a very particular, even narrow band in which Vance works evident most in his characterization. nonplussed but capable men move through the world without quite knowing why. Women are in the plot and of it, but sidelined even and when they are powerful. When working within a series, such as the Demon Princes series, Vance is at his height, and The Palace of Love represents a peak of sorts for him. (Similarly, many of his short stories break this mould.)

Here, the search for
Frank McGirk
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ah...this was what I was waiting for....A little character development for the protagonist Kirth Gersen.

I suppose it's natural given the title of the book and the obsession of the Demon Prince he tracks down in this period, but Vance finally looks a little deeper into the obsession of revenging the attack on Mount Pleasant that Gersen's grandfather trained him to achieve.

His love from the first book, finds him too remote, and Gersen does a little self-reflection on his pursuit...not a lot, but
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As the title suggests, the Palace of Love is a sensual and occasionally psychedelic story. You want a harlequinade with naked girls? Doggerel poetry and bar-hopping? The more outrageous bits are fun to read, but soon it's clear that Vance doesn't have a narrative to drive his story. The prior Demon Princes novels are revenge tales where the hero gets by on wit and reflex, but here our hero Gersen founders through a series of dumb choices and lucky breaks, making the climax feel cheap and lazy. N ...more
Tom Meade
This is a strange book, and I could see it annoying people who read the first two novels in the series and were expecting more action-packed space opera shenanigans, but it really is an excellent and beautifully written work. The scenes of nightlife, the million SUV party, and the long pilgrimage to the Palace are all beautiful. Navarth, Falushe and Drusilla are all great characters, each fascinating in their own way. Falushe's scheme is both a really damned cool concept and deeply disturbing, m ...more
Anne Schelhorn
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Sorry to tell this, but it has been a bit disappointing, I expected much more of this book (we are talking of Jack Vance, isn't it?!). However I found it quite boring, monotonous, it seems to have been written unenthusiastically. ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another great installment of the Demon Princes series by the master. What really strikes me about Vance is that he is*consistently* solid, producing amazingly rich world building and prose without fail.
Rob Stone
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautifly written, but lacking in story. Not my favorite Vance - but still Vance at the end of the day.
Jeroen Van de Crommenacker
The Demon Princes number three and it still gets better and better. What imagination!
Phoenix Scholz-Krishna
May 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The most entertaining book of the series so far. It certainly has the most descriptions of food, and some of the more decadent feasts and parties read like something out of Clark Ashton Smith.
May 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Palace of Love was first published in 1966 in Galaxy Magazine. It was released as a novel in 1968. This is the third book in Jack Vance's The Demon Princes and remains in print. My copy is 154 pages long, making it slightly longer than the first two novels in the series. The first novel of the series, The Star King, provided essential background material so should be read first. In The Killing Machine, the second novel, there is further development of the main character, Kirth Gersen, so tha ...more
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
After spacing the first three novels of Jack Vance’s The Demon Princes pentalogy so that they didn’t become formulaic, The Palace of Love proved that I needn’t have bothered. Kirth Gersen is the equivalent of a bounty hunter/avenger. He’s not a science-fiction version of Marvel’s The Punisher (the novels precede the comic hero anyway)—killing all the bad guys in sight—but he does have a personal vendetta against the so-called “Demon Princes” and each novel deals with his attempts. The first two ...more
This is the third of the Demon Princes novels, a sort of space-opera-revenge series with western overtones. Kirth Gessen’s village got enslaved by a gang of space pirates led by the five Demon Princes when he was a boy, and he’s spent the rest of his life pursuing revenge, one (book) at a time. By this third book Vance is a bit looser, building more character into Kirth’s quarries. The first two Demon Princes were mostly distinguished by their provenance in a species that mimics mankind and atte ...more
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is wisdom masquerading as interplanetary revenge tale.


"I am an unhappy man. I am haunted by my inability to express the inexpressible, to come to terms with the unknown. The pursuit of beauty is, of course, a major psychological drive. In its various guises--which is to say, the urge to perfection, the yearning to merge with the eternal, the explorer's restlessness, the realization of an Absolute created by ourselves, yet larger than our totality--it is perhaps the single most
Jan 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This third chapter in the saga of Vance confirms what was said in the previous ones.
The story is already well known and described in the preface. What always amazes me is how easily this author tells about alien environments as if they were part of the culture of the reader.
References to articles or interviews invented yet absolutely credible, that do not weigh ever reading but rather enrich it. Now I am hunting for the following two novels to end the hunt for the five principles demons.
If I
Ĝan Starling
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have re-read all five books of The Demon Princes series at least seven times. I own all five in hardbound editions, signed by the author. I would like to give The Palace of Love 4.5 stars only in comparison with the final two of the series.

Of all Jack Vance's colorful characters, Viole Falushe is one who will uncomfortably remind the reader of someone he once used to know. And Navarth the Mad Poet, someone you might wish to know...if only so as to claim that you did.

The Demon Princes series i
Apr 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: a
Shelves: science-fiction
I recorded all of Jack Vance's Demon Princes books in 50-55 minute episodes for Golden Hours, my local radio service for blind and reading-impaired listeners. Too bad I didn't make CD copies for myself, since the radio station broadcast the tape versions and then erased them too reuse.

I guess I'll have to re-record them for Golden Hours and this time keep a copy, since Jack Vance has a wicked and sardonic sense of humor that I really enjoy, and this series of books is his absolute best.

I especia
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Aka John Holbrook Vance, Peter Held, John Holbrook, Ellery Queen, John van See, Alan Wade.

The author was born in 1916 and educated at the University of California, first as a mining engineer, then majoring in physics and finally in journalism. During the 1940s and 1950s, he contributed widely to science fiction and fantasy magazines. His first novel, The Dying Earth , was published in 1950 to g

Other books in the series

Demon Princes (5 books)
  • The Star King (Demon Princes, #1)
  • The Killing Machine (Demon Princes, #2)
  • The Face (Demon Princes, #4)
  • The Book of Dreams (Demon Princes, #5)

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