Cool Stuff, Death's Dancer

The Grace Bloods Prague Tour: The Prague Castle

In May I was able to go back to Prague for a couple of days during our annual trip to Germany. I spent the time doing research for the Vogel Brothers books, visiting friends, and visiting places mentioned in Death’s Dancer and Dancer’s Flame. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting the videos with photo, excerpts from the books and my notes here. Keep in mind: I write fantasy, not historical fiction. Some of the places and locations have been changed in my books, but they were all inspired by real places in the city.

Today I’m starting with the eponymous castle that gives Prague its iconic skyline…enjoy!

The Prague Castle was a complex of buildings framing an
increasingly narrowing street leading toward the main grounds. While an architectural student might have admired the enormous range of styles represented by the individual palaces, Isela felt like livestock being funneled down a chute.
As they reached the castle proper, the gates rolled open soundlessly. The car continued between the columns topped with statues of battling Titans. Isela was unable to shake the impression that the two muscle-bound demigods peered hungrily into the car as she passed.

Death’s Dancer Jasmine Silvera, p17
The Battling Titans (Photo by Author)

They moved through the largest of the three courtyards, awash in shadows cast by the enclosed cathedral and the falling darkness. The imposing exterior of St. Vitus loomed over them in all of its neo-Gothic glory.
Isela didn’t realize she had slowed down until her guide paused a few steps ahead. He angled his head toward her.
“The cathedral has been closed for some time,” he stated. “Restoration.”
“I’ve just… never seen it so close,” she uttered finally, unable to hide her awe.
She didn’t assume a necromancer had much interest in a church even if it was the grandest in all of Prague. However, she’d heard stories and seen old pictures of the stained-glass windows by Mucha and Svabinsky. She longed to see the light shining through them.

Death’s Dancer, Jasmine Silver, p 21

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The gardens on the south hill of the castle provided her favorite view of the red-roofed Malá Strana district. On a clear day, the long stone walkway of the garden on the ramparts was the perfect place to watch the sparkle of the river winding its way through the center of the city. Today the sky was hazy with the kind of gauzy air that presaged rain. Pools of slate-gray clouds driven on a cold wind blanketed the horizon, dappling the sunlight over the city. The walkway led into the Garden of Eden, once the private retreat of an archduke. The gardens were also close to the buildings, an option she had taken into consideration when she accepted the invitation for a walk.

Dancer’s Flame, Jasmine Silvera, p 305

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Photo by Author

Overlooking the city of Prague, the castle complex gives the city its iconic skyline. One of my favorite views traveling on the 22 tram across the city is looking out the north windows crossing the bridge to see the castle on the hill. Depending on the time of year, the actual grounds are more or less packed with tourists–it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, after all–but without much effort, you can find a less traveled spot. One of my favorites places to pause and enjoy the grounds are the Royal gardens outside the riding school. Don’t let the name fool you: it’s much more like a city park than a formal garden and ends in the Summer Palace which is now used for art and historical exhibits.

The Summer Palace in the Royal Garden

The fountain in front of the summer palace plays a special part in the opening scene of Dancer’s Flame (Grace Bloods #2). If you’ve read Death’s Dancer, you can read the first chapter here. But beware, spoilers ahead!

That’s all for this post. In the next few weeks, we’ll visit the Charles Bridge, Municipal House, and the Vysehrad Fortress! Stay tuned.

Have you been to Prague or read the books? Tell me about your favorite places in the comments below!

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