The Red Palace
June Hur, critically acclaimed author of The Silence of Bones and The Forest of Stolen Girls, returns with The Red Palace—a third evocative, atmospheric historical mystery perfect for fans of Courtney Summers and Kerri Maniscalco.
To enter the palace means to walk a path stained in blood...
Joseon (Korea), 1758. There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father's approval.
But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon's closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher's innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation.
In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.
Praise for The Red Palace:
An ABA Indie Bestseller
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Forbes Most Anticipated Book of 2022 Selection
"A tense political thriller, a beautiful romance, and a coming of age all in one unique package." —School Library Journal, starred review
"This atmospheric historical mystery will transport and captivate readers ... A beautifully written story full of historical and cultural details that will leave readers aching for a follow-up." —Booklist, starred review
"An expertly choreographed mystery with a touch of romance and an emotionally satisfying conclusion ... The perfect book to curl up with for a cozy winter afternoon of murder and intrigue." —NPR
In Hur's (The Forest of Stolen Girls) historical mystery, set in 1758 Korean kingdom Joseon and loosely based on the life of Crown Prince Jangheon, hardworking 18-year-old palace nurse Baek-hyeon, known as Hyeon, is determined to find the person who murdered four women at the public medical office. Her motivations to catch the killer and exact a confession are twofold: to earn her estranged father's acceptance through hard work, and to protect her mentor, Nurse Jeongsu, from brutal police interrogations. Hur deftly renders stifling patriarchal restrictions and the tension of court life where "everyone is listening in the palace," while thoughtfully integrating Korean throughout. When Hyeon meets the newest police inspector, 18-year-old Seo Eojin, she must decide whether she can trust him. With the list of suspects growing longer and including the Crown Prince Hyeon and Eojin must navigate their collaboration, and their deepening feelings, before their illicit investigation is revealed. Steeped in rich historical details, Hur's palace thriller offers a sharp critique of the monarchy's abuse of power while maintaining a quick pace and crafting a captivating murder mystery. An author's note contextualizes the history behind the novel. Ages 13 up.