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Extended Audio Sample Palace Council Audiobook, by Stephen L. Carter Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (746 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephen L. Carter Narrator: Dominic Hoffman Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2008 ISBN: 9780739343418
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John Grisham called Stephen L. Carter’s first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park, “beautifully written and cleverly plotted. A rich, complex family saga, one deftly woven through a fine legal thriller.” The Chicago Tribune hailed Carter’s next book, New England White, as “a whodunit with conscience.” Now this bestselling novelist returns with an electrifying political thriller set in the turbulent era of Watergate and Vietnam, giving us one of the most riveting and naked portraits of Nixon ever written.

In the summer of 1952, twenty prominent men gather at a secret meeting on Martha’s Vineyard and devise a plot to manipulate the President of the United States. Soon after, the body of one of these men is found by Eddie Wesley, Harlem’s rising literary star. When Eddie’s younger sister mysteriously disappears, Eddie and the woman he loves, Aurelia Treene, are pulled into what becomes a twenty year search for the truth. As Eddie and Aurelia uncover layer upon layer of intrigue, their odyssey takes them from the wealthy drawing rooms of New York through the shady corners of radical politics, all the way to the Oval Office.

Stephen Carter’s novel is as complex as it is suspenseful, and with his unique ability to turn stereotypes inside out, Palace Council is certain to enthrall listeners to the very last moment.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Stephen Carter can really write. I loved every page of Palace Council and am eager for more. Robert B. Parker

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deb | 2/19/2014

    " Intricate plotting is the hallmark of Carter's work. Again, intrigue abounds as the characters move from just post Harlem renaissance to Vietnam activism and White House hi-jinks. Eddie is a keepin it real writer ala Baldwin who becomes a presidential speech writer, but his main goal is to find out what happened to his sister June who disappeared after her involvement with radical terrorists. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Caleb | 2/1/2014

    " In reflecting on this one, I can't pinpoint exactly why this let me down as much as it did. It's a thriller, but at times it feels like the author (a Yale law professor) knows this and is trying to deconstruct the thriller or play to the genre's ends. The story itself is fast paced and interesting and kept me guessing, but the end left me flat and I didn't completely care. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 1/27/2014

    " This Stephen L. Carter's third novel, and the third one for me.... I love his writing, his plot intracacies, the world he to which he introduces us of old-money African Americans that is not well known to many people. He is a brilliant man, which comes through in his fictional writing. He just occasional resorts to cliches, but nobody's perfect! I like the way his characters recur in different novels "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 1/24/2014

    " While it takes a chapter or two to get used to the rhythm of Carter's writing, this story sucks you in and won't let you go until the end. Gives a highly interesting picture of the upper classes of Harlem and their relationship to events in American history through the tumultuous years of the mid-twentieth century. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teri | 1/24/2014

    " Interesting novel dealing with rich and powerful members of the African American community. I enjoyed some of the historical details, but honestly, the book was a bit bogged down by too many details... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chuck | 1/22/2014

    " A very complicated story about a black, Harlem based author's life during the Viet Nam/Watergate era. This is not an easy read but worth the effort. Stephen L. Carter is a black law professor at Yale. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica | 1/17/2014

    " I added this to the mystery shelf but Palace Council isn't just a mystery; it is a family saga and a work of historical fiction. Eddie is a writer in 1950s Harlem. He leaves his ex-girlfriend's engagement party and stumbles upon a body. Then his younger sister disappears. With the occasional help of his ex-girlfriend, now married into one of Harlem's elite families, he hunts for his sister and for an explanation of the murder. His chase leads him through two decades and into the Kennedy White House and wartime Vietnam. Carter manages to write a novel that is both literary and gripping. I can't wait to read a few more of his books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Borshuk | 1/17/2014

    " A splendid pre-history conclusion to Carter's unofficial trilogy about dastardly goings-on amidst the elite of African American society. I love the crossover characters from THE EMPEROR OF OCEAN PARK and NEW ENGLAND WHITE, and this may be my favorite of the three novels for its historiographical metafictional turn. (Richard Nixon, Langston Hughes, Adam Clayton Powell and other famous people appear as characters in the novel.) It's a wonderful picture of the turbulent 1960s, covering some of the same ground as, say, James Ellroy's THE COLD SIX THOUSAND, but with much less of the nastiness and cynical worldview. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shannon | 1/16/2014

    " I really like Stephen Carter's books. They are all connected, but you don't realize it at first. He is one interesting mystery writer. I loved this one, I think because of its place in history and the things that were happening around it. It is not essential to read them in any order, but I read them in the order they were published (well, listened to Emperor, read New England White and this one.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Holly | 1/15/2014

    " A dense, complicated thriller that is nonetheless a really fun read. I did a lot of flipping back and forth, and with a book more than 500 pp. long. Read it carefully: even the smallest details may turn out to be important. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzette Tanen | 12/8/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book's historical references, the 50's and 60's from a black perspective made for a very interesting mystery story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsay | 11/18/2013

    " interesting plot twists with historical references "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Malex10000 | 11/17/2013

    " This is my third book by Stephen Carter. I really like him.I learned a lot about the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights movement,and history from 50's-70's. His other 2 novels are even better. Emperor of Ocean Park and New England White "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 11/12/2013

    " Decent political thriller well-rooted in history. Some rough patches in the writing at first, but then it got much better. And Nixon, in all of his awkward weirdness, is a character! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sls Schnur | 11/11/2013

    " At first glance, a rather far-fetched plot, but after the past 8 years of the Bush Administration, not so far-fetched after all. Perhaps a little long, but after a certain point, I didn't want to put it down. Carter is a good writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marzia Bianchi | 9/26/2013

    " Decent political thriller. Lots of twists and turns and unlikely events mixed in with real events spanning 1952-1976. Never really cared about any of the characters. I had the feeling that the book was written to be made into a movie rather than to be a good novel. Weak ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dorinda | 5/12/2013

    " Very enjoyable, a description of the '60's (1954 to 1974 as the author judges the era) from the viewpoint of African American author protagonist with a healthy conspiracy throy thrown in as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peg | 5/7/2013

    " Stephen Carter's use of the language and creation of plot continue to enthrall his reader. To begin reading is to be "hooked". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pmcdnld2 | 4/1/2013

    " Set among the wealthy black families in Harlem in the 40's-covers many decades of US history up to Nixon as 2 main charcaters try to solve murder mystery "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 12/20/2012

    " A fun polical/historical page turner. I may have turned too fast. I'm still wondering who will be killed last. Read it and let me know! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katherine | 6/27/2012

    " i am impressed with stephen carter as an author and other career but this was my least fav of his books "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 3/24/2012

    " Not as good at Carter's other two books I have read. Loved The Emperor of Ocean Park and New England White. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Keeley | 2/26/2012

    " Picked this up in an airport. I like Carter's fictional characters, their inner voices, and the convolutions of his plots. I'm not entirely convinced by his portrayal of historical characters, e.g. in this case Nixon. It could just be that I'm a lot less sympathetic to Nixon than the author is. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elisabeth | 11/22/2011

    " Great read covering the 1950's and sixties. a lot of events I can remember but had forgotten to a great extent. The plot is intricate like a John La Carre novel and I had to back track on occasion to understand what was happening. I will read other by this author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike Horne | 11/4/2011

    " I love his thrillers. I need to read his nonfiction. They should be right up my alley. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sheldon Lehman | 8/18/2011

    " Another well-written book. Conspiracy theories, historical fiction from a great story-teller! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ron | 6/29/2011

    " Historical novel about 1960's politics and how fictional characters from New York's Harlem district play a role in affecting what went on in Washington. Interesting plot but sometimes too farfetched to believe any of it could really happen. Good light reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ron | 5/10/2011

    " Historical novel about 1960's politics and how fictional characters from New York's Harlem district play a role in affecting what went on in Washington. Interesting plot but sometimes too farfetched to believe any of it could really happen. Good light reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robyn | 4/15/2011

    " Interesting book, keeps you interested, as you follow one man's quest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 1/16/2011

    " I appreciated the author's note at the end explaining which historical facts he changed for the sake of the story's flow. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsay | 12/21/2010

    " interesting plot twists with historical references "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 12/15/2010

    " Decent political thriller well-rooted in history. Some rough patches in the writing at first, but then it got much better. And Nixon, in all of his awkward weirdness, is a character! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Suzette | 12/9/2010

    " Very slow reading, would not recommend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Toni | 9/17/2010

    " A lot of characters to keep up with. Excellent read. Good plot. 500+ pages. Don't let the length keep u away. Give yourself time to get through it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chelsea | 7/18/2010

    " This was a wonderful book that was hard to figure out right down to the end. One man's struggle through coming of age, civil rights and unrequitted love. Wonderful book! "

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About the Author
Author Stephen L. CarterStephen L. Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University, where he has taught since 1982. He and his family live near New Haven, Connecticut.
About the Narrator

Dominic Hoffman is a Los Angeles–based actor of stage, screen, and television. He has appeared in such television shows as The ShieldNYPD Blue, and The Jamie Foxx Show. He attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art as well as the American Conservatory Theater.