Review: Palace Council by Stephen L. Carter

Stephen L. Carter 978-0-307-26658-3   Borzoi / Alfred A. Knopf  528 Pages; First Printing: July  2008

Action-filled with a diverse cast of characters – spies, politicians, writers, academics – finding the right word or words is at the root of Stephen L. Carter’s Palace Council. These words lead to murders, disappearances and clues to not necessarily solvable mysteries but to an intricate world. In this case, the world is that of power and national politics. The novel’s core is set in the 1960s though the story begins in 1954 and ends in 1974.
This two-decade time span is impacted by a meeting that occurred decades ago, when powerful men put together a plan, a plot to influence politicians and the United States government. Things seem to be progressing but then a man is killed. Eddie Wesley is nearby and discovers a clue, setting him on the trail of this secret society. Through his eyes and that of his former lover, Aurelia Treene, the reader enters high society Harlem, the White House and other exclusive locales. The quest becomes personal for both after Eddie’s sister disappear and Aurelia’s husband is killed in a bombing. At the end of the day, Palace Council asks whether the black elite of “the darker nation” who inhabit Carter’s novels are power brokers or mere pawns in the “paler nation’s” machinations.

Recommendation: MEDIUM-HIGH  


Reviewed by Guichard Cadet