Brace yourselves, gird your loins, and stow your erotic Gallowglass fan fiction! Yes, it’s time. Those troublemaking de Clermonts and meddlesome Bishops are back again, and this time they’re wrapping everything up in another continent-hopping magical romp with the final installment of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls trilogy.
All your favorite characters return (be they corporeal or not) in The Book of Life, and it’s a good thing, too, because there’s still much bewitching debris to sort out after freakily handsome vampire Matthew and accidentally all-powerful witch Diana return from their working vacation in 1590.
For one thing, Matthew and Diana are still on the hunt for two missing pages of Ashmole 782, the all-purpose origin story for the world’s creature population. Secondly, the Congregation remains hot on their tail, and no less forgiving of this forbidden romance than before the power couple’s time-traveling holiday. Third, Diana’s got great big new powers, even bigger news, and a persnickety firedrake to handle.
That’s a lot to unpack, so thank heavens it’s all hands on deck, with even the Bishop house and a crackerjack team of Yale researchers pitching in.
In the center of this storm is, of course, the vampire-witch union of Matthew and Diana, which is as strong and achingly felt as ever. Surrounded by stressors, the Bishop-Clairmont marriage is a thing of wonder. Thus, to honor the final chapter of their love (that we’re privy to), we proudly present:
How to Maintain Your Marriage: A Manual, by Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont
1. Surround yourselves with loved ones, no matter their species or temporal state.
Because what are a few ghosties or daemon accountants among family? When we pick up with our magical mystery tour in The Book of Life, we begin at Sept-Tours, the de Clermont familial homestead that has been transformed into a turreted Mystery Machine with its ragtag band of vigilantes and rabblerousers. As it should be…so long as no one gets under Marthe’s feet.
2. Understand your partner’s pressure points, and know what might set them off on a homicidal rampage.
Matthew’s blood rage affliction is front and center once again, and finding the root of its genetic existence is crucial. At the same time, one must manage the condition, or else the body count starts climbing rapidly, and these books are already on the chunky side. Luckily, Diana’s become pretty intuitive when it comes to vampiric rage, one of the traits that very importantly endeared her to Philippe de Clermont.
3. Care for your partner’s fire-breathing
Charizard familiar and bloodsucking pals as if they were your own.
In marriage, you don’t just get a mate, you get all the baggage that comes with them. And when there’s a 1,500-year-old vampire and a time-traveling weaver involved, there are tremendous amounts of baggage, most of it in the form of inconvenient associates, eccentric relatives, and the odd firedrake.
4. Remember: stepchildren can be fun!…And not so fun.
The charismatic Marcus is great! And look what he’s done with the Knights of Lazarus! Some of Matthew’s other psychotic children? Less so. But you take the good, you take the bad.
5. It’s important to make an effort to get on with your in-laws.
Even if that means bending time over backwards to seek them out. After all, there’s often much to learn from their example (e.g., Philippe and Ysabeau, Rebecca and Stephen, Sarah and Em).
6. Take time to read.
Don’t think it’s any coincidence that Diana and Matthew are happy together and spend half their time in libraries?
7. Do not ever hang out with Christopher Marlowe.
Are you excited to read The Book of Life?