The premiere of A Discovery of Witches based on the All Souls books aired last week so it’s time to catch up with the rest of the trilogy book reviews starting with Shadow of Night.
Warning: Spoilers for the first book of series A Discovery of Witches may follow.
Title: Shadow of Night
Author: Deborah Harkness
Genre: Fiction, supernatural
Release Date: 14th February 2013
It began with A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.
Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened.
Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.
Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers…
Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew once more in this stunning, richly imagined, epic tale.
As Matthew and Diana timewalk to 1590 when the witches’ powers were strong this sequel has a different feel to the first; it is historical fiction with a paranormal twist. I love the historical details and Deborah Harkness excels at bringing everyday Tudor life alive. I could smell and feel London as the characters walk through the city and interact with old characters and new. The introduction of recognisable personalities of the time such as William Shakespeare and Kit Marlow works well and inspired me to look into their works but it was the witches which fascinated me. The world of All Souls is expanded with new witches, daemons and vampires.
The pace is different and in places slower so not as page turning as A Discovery of Witches but it is still a strong book. The characters and twists keep the plot moving forward and all the details help bring things together in the Book of Life.
When I first read this book, A Discovery of Witches remained my favourite of the series but the more I reread this one the more details I see and has become the one I love most.
Would I recommend?
Of course. It has prime place on my forever bookshelf.
Thank you Headline and NetGalley for a digital copy.
Have you read this yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.
Also published on Medium.