Alongside the political satire in Kadare's "Palace of Dreams" (1981) runs an intricately coded theme of ethnic identity. The plot revolves around two heroic epics, one Bosnian, the other Albanian, at the time of the Albanian nationalist uprisings in the late nineteenth century. The key to Kadare's political vision lies in the histories and cultures encoded in these epics. Kadare uses the form of the historical novel to represent ethnicity as a category of social identity and as a destabilizing force in imperial politics at a time of decline. Kadare thereby foreshadows the re-valorization of ethnic identity as a socio-political category in Eastern Europe when open discussion of this issue was prohibited.