“The Palace” is Book 2 of “The Adventures of Jecosan Tarres” trilogy. Since this is a trilogy, not a series, the plot of the second book heavily depends on the first, so I believe I should start with Book 1.
The story unfolds in a fictitious world where the god of the story is known as the lord of the heavens, or simply the Light, and is not followed by many. Jeco, a hard working twelve-year-old blacksmith's apprentice, is an exception. Raised by a priest, he knows the truth and is determined to abide by it. When a supernatural messenger visits him and says that the boy must go to the capital city of Kanavar and join the king's service, Jeco is ready to accept his calling, although he is a little intimidated by the importance of the task entrusted to him. “In the palace,” the messenger says, “you will find the Unarmed Warrior, the Unlit Fire; you will light that fire and give a sword to the warrior, and he will start helping you. Together, you should stop the coming war.” Jeco sets off on a long journey, which turns out to be one trial after another. The boy perseveres and makes it to his destination. This is where Book 1 ends.
Book 2 picks the story up right there. Jeco is at the king's palace, hired as a kitchen worker. We now see why it was so important for him to be there at a certain time, and why the dark forces were doing their best to delay him. The king, who believes neither in the Light nor the Darkness, has nevertheless hired a magician as one of his advisors, and is falling under his influence more and more, which makes Jeco's mission close to impossible.
The boy is not alone though; he does find the person the messenger had referred to as the Unarmed Warrior and Unlit Fire. Jeco and the Warrior join their efforts, although it seems like there is not much they can do. The king's determination to attack the neighboring country of Tirgan grows. The magician suggests that the best way to defeat it is by stealing the sacred manuscript of the Book of Light – that would shake the faith of the Tirganians. The king likes the idea and sends out a secret squad. Unexpectedly, a mysterious black horseman shows up out of nowhere and thwarts the plan.
The review of this Book prepared by Laura Southcombe