The Palace of Love is the third novel in Jack Vance's science fiction series, the Demon Princes, after Star King and The Killing Machine.
Kirth Gersen hunts Viole Falushe, the third of the arch-criminals who killed or enslaved his loved ones. He travels to Sarkoy, a planet of poisoners, to interview Kakarsis Asm, who has been condemned to death (by poisoning of course) for selling poisons to Falushe without authorization. He learns that Falushe sold a pair of young women to Asm in the past. Gersen finds one of them and discovers Falushe's original identity; he was born Vogel Filschner on Earth.
As a schoolboy, Falushe had become obsessed with Jheral Tinzy, a fellow student, and tried to kidnap her during a school outing; however, he ended up with everyone in an all-girl choir except her. He finally did succeed in capturing Jheral and taking her to his "Palace of Love", an establishment catering to the lusts of his customers. She eventually killed herself, but not before Falushe had clones made of her. As each clone grows up, Falushe tries again and again without success make one of them fall in love with him.
Gersen manages to get himself invited to the Palace of Love. He is certain that one of the other guests in his party is Falushe himself. When he finds out which one, he takes Falushe captive in a ship high above the sea, but the prisoner, in breaking free, falls to his death.
Best part of story, including ending:
The irony is that Falushe, who buys and sells "love", is himself totally frustrated in this respect because of his monomaniacal obsession.
Best scene in story:
Gersen meets the "mad poet" Navarth (once Falushe's idol), who has been entrusted with raising one of Jheral's clones. Navarth is amusingly eccentric.
Opinion about the main character:
Gersen once again shows his ingenuity, having Navarth phone Falushe to identify him.