Shadow of Night Book Review

Shadow of Night Book Review

Title: Shadow of Night
Author: Deborah Harkness
Published: 2012, Penguin Group
No. of Pages: 577
Cover Price: $15.00 US

In Shadow of Night a historical/fantasy thriller, and the second book of the All Souls Trilogy, Matthew and Diana have traveled back to the 1500’s in order to escape the attempts on her life in the present as well as to find a witch to instruct Diana in the use of her powers of witchcraft. In addition, they are searching for the book that was the catalyst for the problems in the present, Ashmole 782.

Several real historical characters from the 1500’s – authors, playwrights, poets, and royalty, are introduced in this novel. They are friends, acquaintances, and employers of Matthew, and he seeks help from them in fulfilling the goals he and Diana have set before returning to the present. Diana must not only learn how to act as a woman in the 1500’s, but also learn how to be a witch; her marriage to a vampire is against the rules of the Congregation, which presents even more perilous challenges. At the time, there are witch trials in Scotland, resulting in the execution of several powerful witches, and Diana, while seeking a proper teacher, is almost a victim. There are also some unsavory characters who want to get rid of Diana by turning her in as a witch, one being Matthew’s best friend, Christopher (Kit) Marlowe, who is in love with him and views Diana as a rival.

As the novel progresses, it seems Diana is always in danger; Matthew is busy working as a spy for the Queen, and is away often. Diana is trying to accomplish the things they are there for while he is gone and puts herself in several uncomfortable situations. They are required to travel to Prague to see King Rudolph as part of Matthew’s duty as a spy for the queen, and the King wants Diana for himself, which causes some additional problems, but Ashmole 782 is in Prague, and it is important that they stay long enough to get to see the book and discover why it is so mysterious.

Although Matthew and Diana are fictional characters, the historical facts are real, and there is much to be learned by those who are not particularly familiar with the history of the 1500’s. It is actually fascinating, and adds an extra dimension to the novel. Thriller fans who don’t want to be bothered with the historical aspects of the book may find it a bit tedious, but for those of us who appreciate learning, it is captivating.

Deborah Harkness has proven herself again in this second novel, and most readers will have trouble being patient while waiting for the final book in the series. Harkness has a way of making her characters real, as well as the world where humans, vampires, daemons, and witches co-exist. The book is not a fast read, and there are so many characters from the past, that it is sometimes difficult to keep them straight if trying to hurry through the book. Shadow of Night is a must-read after completing A Discovery of Witches and is certainly worth taking the time to carefully read it so as to fully understand what is happening and prepare for the third book. Highly recommended!

This book was purchased with personal funds and no promotion of the book was solicited by the author or publisher.

This book may be purchased at Amazon: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, Bk 2)

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