"Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown"—the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Discovery of Witches
Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.
Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.
Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.
About the Author
Deborah Harkness is the number one New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life. A history professor at the University of Southern California, Harkness has received Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships. She lives in Los Angeles.
Visit www.deborahharkness.com and follow “Deborah Harkness” on Facebook and @DebHarkness on Twitter.
Read an Excerpt
“Why no beard? Have you been ill?” Marlowe’s eyes flickered when they spotted me, nudging me with the insistent pressure that marked him unmistakably as a daemon.
I suppressed an urge to rush at one of England’s greatest playwrights and shake his hand before peppering him with questions. What little information I once knew about him flew from my mind now that he was standing before me. Had any of his plays been performed in 1590? How old was he? Younger than Matthew and I, certainly. Marlowe couldn’t yet be thirty. I smiled at him warmly.
“Wherever did you find that?” Marlowe pointed, his voice dripping with contempt. I looked over my shoulder, expecting to see some hideous work of art. There was nothing but empty space.
He meant me. My smile faltered.
“Gently, Kit,” Matthew said with a scowl.
Marlowe shrugged off the rebuke. “It is no matter. Take your fill of her before the others arrive, if you must. George has been here for some time, of course, eating your food and reading your books. He is still without a patron and hasn’t a farthing to his name.”
“George is welcome to whatever I have, Kit.” Matthew kept his eyes on the young man, his face expressionless as he drew our intertwined fingers to his mouth. “Diana, this is my dear friend Christopher Marlowe.”
Matthew’s introduction provided Marlowe with an opportunity to inspect me more openly. His attention crawled from my toes to the top of my head. The young man’s scorn was evident, his jealousy better hidden. Marlowe was indeed in love with my husband. I had suspected it back in Madison when my fingers had traveled over his inscription in Matthew’s copy of Doctor Faustus.
“I had no idea there was a brothel in Woodstock that specialized in over-tall women. Most of your whores are more delicate and appealing, Matthew. This one is a positive Amazon,” Kit sniffed, looking over his shoulder at the disordered drifts of paper that covered the surface of the table. “According to the Old Fox’s latest, it was business rather than lust that took you to the north. Wherever did you find the time to secure her services?”
“It is remarkable, Kit, how easily you squander affection,” Matthew drawled, though there was a note of warning in his tone. Marlowe, seemingly intent on the correspondence, failed to recognize it and smirked. Matthew’s fingers tightened on mine.
“Is Diana her real name, or was it adopted to enhance her allure among customers? Perhaps a baring of her right breast, or a bow and arrow, is in order,” Marlowe suggested, picking up a sheet of paper. “Remember when Blackfriars Bess demanded we call her Aphrodite before she would let us—”
“Diana is my wife.” Matthew was gone from my side, his hand no longer wrapped around mine but twisted in Marlowe’s collar.
“No.” Kit’s face registered his shock.
“Yes. That means she is the mistress of this house, bears my name, and is under my protection. Given all that—and our long-standing friendship, of course—no word of criticism or whisper against her virtue will cross your lips in future.”
I wiggled my fingers to restore their feeling. The angry pressure from Matthew’s grip had driven the ring on the third finger of my left hand into the flesh, leaving a pale red mark. Despite its lack of facets, the diamond in the center captured the warmth of the firelight. The ring had been an unexpected gift from Matthew’s mother, Ysabeau. Hours ago—centuries ago? centuries to come?—Matthew had repeated the words of the old marriage ceremony and slid the diamond over my knuckles.
With a clatter of dishes, two vampires appeared in the room. One was a slender man with an expressive face, weather-beaten skin the color of a hazelnut, and black hair and eyes. He was holding a flagon of wine and a goblet whose stem was shaped into a dolphin, the bowl balanced on its tail. The other was a rawboned woman bearing a platter of bread and cheese.
“You are home, milord,” the man said, obviously confused. Oddly enough, his French accent made him easier to understand. “The messenger on Thursday said—”
“My plans changed, Pierre.” Matthew turned to the woman. “My wife’s possessions were lost on the journey, Françoise, and the clothes she was wearing were so filthy I burned them.” He told the lie with bald confidence. Neither the vampires nor Kit looked convinced by it.
“Your wife?” Françoise repeated, her accent as French as Pierre’s. “But she is a w—”
“Warmblood,” Matthew finished, plucking the goblet from the tray. “Tell Charles there’s another mouth to feed. Diana hasn’t been well and must have fresh meat and fish on the advice of her doctor. Someone will
need to go to the market, Pierre.”
Pierre blinked. “Yes, milord.”
“And she will need something to wear,” Françoise observed, eyeing me appraisingly. When Matthew nodded, she disappeared, Pierre following in her wake.
“What’s happened to your hair?” Matthew held up a strawberry blond curl.
“Oh, no,” I murmured. My hands rose. Instead of my usual shoulder-length, straw-colored hair, they found unexpectedly springy reddish-gold locks reaching down to my waist. The last time my hair had developed a mind of its own, I was in college, playing Ophelia in a production of Hamlet. Then and now its unnaturally rapid growth and change of hue were not good signs. The witch within me had awakened during our journey to the past. There was no telling what other magic had been unleashed.
Excerpted from "Shadow of Night"
Copyright © 2012 Deborah Harkness.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
Praise for Shadow of Night
“A captivating and romantic ripping yarn.”
—E. L. James, “Books of the Year 2012: Authors Choose Their Favourites,” The Guardian
“The joy that Harkness, herself a historian, takes in visiting the past is evident on every page. . . . A great spell, the one that can enchant a reader and make a 600-page book fly through her fingertips, is cast. . . . Its enduring rewards are plenty.”
“Fans of Harkness’s 2011 debut A Discovery of Witches will be delighted. . . . Harkness delivers enough romance and excitement to keep the pages turning. Readers will devour it.”
“Deborah Harkness takes us places we’ve never been before. . . . Shadow of Night isn't just about wonderfully detailed descriptions of England in 1591, it's about being there. Readers time-travel as precisely and precariously as Diana and Matthew do. . . . Shadow ends as Discovery did with promises of more to come. Lucky for us.”
“Harkness exudes her own style of magic in making the world of late 16th century England come alive. . . . Enchanting, engrossing and as impossible to put down as its predecessor, Shadow of Night is a perfect blend of fantasy, history and romance. Its single greatest flaw is, after almost 600 pages, it’s over. If you’ve already read and enjoyed A Discovery of Witches, picking up Shadow of Night is an absolute requirement. Otherwise, pick up both, and consider your reading list complete.”
“Picking up where she left off in last year’s A Discovery of Witches, Harkness proves she’s not suffering from a sophomore slump with this addictive tale of magic, mayhem and two lovers.”
“Rich, period fun, particularly delightful in its witty characterization of historical immortals . . . Shadow ramps up the supernatural suspense.”
—New York Daily News
“This novel is as much a love story about a bygone era as it is about Matthew and Diana. It overflows with a colorful cast of characters, many of whom Harkness has plucked straight from the history books, and Harkness renders the late 1500s in exquisite detail. . . . The writing is so rich, the characters so compelling . . . and best of all, Harkness manages to execute with aplomb the act of answering old questions while posing new ones that will intensify anticipation for the final installment. Readers who have been counting down the days, take heart: The wait was most assuredly worth it.”
Reading Group Guide
Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches, the thrilling debut novel in the All Souls trilogy, exploded onto the literary scene, becoming an instant bestseller and leaving fans breathless with its cliffhanger ending. Now, in Shadow of Night, Harkness returns with feisty heroine Diana Bishop and her continuing search for the enchanted manuscript known only as Ashmole 782. The new novel finds that Diana has traveled back in time, embraced her magical abilities, and confronted Matthew’s complex past as a fifteen–hundred–year–old vampire—but is she risking too much?
The year is 1590, Elizabeth is queen, and all of Europe is aflame with witch burnings. Into this world of danger and conspiracy arrive Diana and Matthew. She has timewalked them from today to sixteenth–century England in the hope that they will track down Ashmole 782 and unlock its secrets. But Diana must also find a guide to help her master her powerful yet unpredictable magic. From the moment they arrive in the past, Diana can see the threads of time unraveling, but has no idea how to control them.
Harkness draws on her talent for storytelling and her experience as a historian to create a richly textured, authentic world, surrounding her characters with details of Elizabethan life large and small: Diana mingles with Sir Walter Raleigh and Christopher Marlowe, is present for the invention of the telescope, and dances at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor. For Matthew, sixteenth–century life is a return home: to his country manor, to his family, and to his life of royal espionage and international intrigue. This meticulously researched milieu is the setting for an expansive and fast–paced adventure that stretches through centuries and around the globe.
In a world filled with supernatural subterfuge where even thoughts can be dangerous, Diana and Matthew discover unexpected allies; loyalties hundreds of years in the making are tested, and courage comes from the least likely of corners. From royalty to half–mad alchemists, Matthew and Diana find that they aren’t the only ones seeking the manuscript. While Matthew attempts to make peace with his troubled past, Diana uncovers a disturbing prophecy for her future—one that could put those she loves most at risk—as Ashmole 782 begins to reveal its dark secrets.
Alchemy, history, and magic—Harkness is in her element, and her smooth control of plot and prose is a pleasure to read. By turns sexy and suspenseful, entertaining and exhilarating, Shadow of Night is a massive achievement that will leave her fans clamoring for the final installment in the gripping All Souls trilogy.
ABOUT DEBORAH HARKNESS
Deborah Harkness is the author of the bestselling A Discovery of Witches and is also a historian specializing in the history of science, magic, and alchemy. She has received numerous awards, including Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships, and is currently a professor of history at the University of Southern California.
A CONVERSATION WITH DEBORAH HARKNESS
Q. Because you are a scholar, your work is based on constant research and analysis; the novel is filled with details that could come only from extended historical work. Do you find a difference between researching for academic purposes and for creative writing? How long did it take you to gather the information for Shadow of Night?
In a way I’ve been researching Shadow of Night since 1982, when I first began studying this period in earnest, though my interest in Elizabethan England extends beyond that into my childhood and teen years. No matter how much I’ve read or how many documents I’ve consulted for my scholarship, however, when writing Shadow of NightI found there was still so much I didn’t know, such as how far and fast a horse could travel in a single day in November or what people ate in December. It was an exciting, humbling experience to write this book.
Q. Your field of specialty is Elizabethan England and the history of science. Is there anything about the period you’d like readers to know that didn’t make it into Shadow of Night? Did you have to leave anything out?
How much space do we have for my answer? Seriously, if I had put everything into the book I wanted to in terms of historical detail, the book would have been six or seven times as long! In the end, I set myself this test: If I was writing about the present, would I stop to describe this shoe/breakfast/shop? If the answer was no, I kept the story moving. If the answer was yes, then I tried to tell the reader the most important historical details, but it was still not everything that I might have shared.
Q. When we last spoke, you had just published your debut novel, A Discovery of Witches. At the time, you said, “Novelists, like the alchemists of old, know that true creation takes time and patience, and that it’s likely you will have many disasters and failures before you achieve success.” Does this statement still reflect your feelings about writing? Could you share a few details about your development as a novelist between the two books?
Writing a second novel was very different. Writers I’ve spoken to often tell me that books are like children: No two are the same. That was certainly the case with Shadow of Night. I really struggled with the beginning and the most effective way to arrange the plot, much more so than with Discovery of Witches. Even in the last month of writing, I was making major changes in the sequence of events.
Q. You added notes at the end of the book that some of the characters (major and minor) are historical figures. Can you say something about the interplay between real people and fictional characters in the novel?
Back when I started A Discovery of Witches and was first imagining this story about an ancient vampire scientist and a reluctant witch, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun if my vampire was someone who really lived, someone mysterious who knew interesting people but remained in the shadows?” I knew of just such a person in Elizabethan England, the poet–spy Matthew Roydon. From that moment on—and this was in 2008, so it was some time ago—Matthew Roydon’s life story determined a great deal about Matthew Clairmont’s intellectual habits and his taste in friends. A historical figure like Matthew Roydon is a novelist’s dream, because what little we know about him is so fascinating and leaves so much room for creative invention. I like to think that the historical characters add the same air of verisimilitude to this book set in 1590 as going to yoga and entertaining trick–or–treaters did to A Discovery of Witches. As for the minor characters, I drew them from interesting individuals I’d come across in my research. They are usually people about whom I wanted to know more, but there is, alas, no further evidence about them.
Q. In this novel, Diana learns to use her magic and Matthew comes face–to–face with his past. How does this empower and change them?
Facing who you are is the most empowering thing a person can do, so it isn’t surprising that their experiences in 1590 change Matthew and Diana enormously. And long–lasting relationships are built on honesty and acceptance, so this changes not only Diana and Matthew individually, but also who they are as a couple.
Q. Two of our characters are Hancock and Gallowglass. How did they arrive on the scene?
One of the most exciting aspects of writing fiction is I never quite know what’s going to happen next. In A Discovery of Witches, Matthew was suddenly driving around in a car and when he stopped, Hamish was there to greet him. I had no plans for Matthew to have a best friend, but now I can’t imagine life without Hamish. It was the same thing with Gallowglass and Hancock—although slightly more dramatic as befits their characters! I was settling in to a cozy evening in front of a fire at the Old Lodge when a storm blew in, carrying Gallowglass and Hancock with it. Once they were there, I fell in love with their banter and the way they are constantly puncturing Matthew’s confidence.
Q. In your personal reading, do you gravitate toward supernatural and/or historical fiction? How have your own reading tastes shaped this novel?
I don’t read much fiction, to be honest, and with the exception of the Harry Potter series I haven’t read supernatural fiction since I was a student and read Anne Rice. As for historical fiction, I like historical mysteries set in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries but don’t read much else. I find it hard to relax when reading works set in the periods of history I know best.
Q. If you had to pick one book (besides your own) to be a companion piece to Shadow of Night, what would it be?
That’s a great question. I think it would have to be Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus or a book about Marlowe, like Charles Nicholl’s The Reckoning, which brilliantly conveys how tricky it was to lead a double (or triple) life in Elizabethan England. Of course, a Shakespeare play like Loves Labours Lost or The Tempest would also be an excellent choice.
Q. Any hints about what will happen next to Diana and Matthew?
Diana and Matthew will face an interesting problem in the next book: They have been dropped into a world where time has passed and people have lived their lives as best they could, and they will be expected to step back into a whirl of action and reaction. I would expect some reunions and some farewells, some fascinating new characters as well as old friends and, of course, finally learning what it was that the witches discovered.. . . .
- Harkness opens Shadow of Night with a quote by Queen Elizabeth I. How is the quote significant to the book?
- The Elizabethan era is made vivid in the novel through the everyday details that Diana must contend with. What did you find most surprising, funny, or intriguing about life in the sixteenth century?
- When Diana arrives in 1590, she is thrilled to experience firsthand a world that she had studied as a historian. If you could go back in time, what era would you visit? What would you do while there?
- There is no question that Matthew is a compelling character, but is he a traditional romantic hero? Compare him with some of your favorite leading men in literature.
- Who were the School of Night? What is the meaning behind the title Shadow of Night?
- In Shadow of Night Harkness cheekily refers to Shakespeare’s plays without naming them. Can you recognize which work she’s referring to?
- What does Diana learn about the materials used to make Ashmole 782?
- If Shadow of Night was a film, which celebrities would you cast in the starring roles?
- Did you read A Discovery of Witches? If so, in what ways has Diana changed since the last novel? If not, how did your own opinion about Diana change through the course of the book?
- A Discovery of Witches ended with a cliffhanger. At the end of Shadow of Night, what do you think lies ahead?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The tale literal picks up right where Discovery of Witches left off. Diana and Matthew find themselves landing back in Elizabethan London. Diana is thrilled to be able to visit a period she has studied but finds herself woefully unprepared. She quickly realizes that even with her education she is completely out of her element. From her speech to her mannerism it is obvious to all; she isn’t from around here. With the aid of Matthew’s eccentric friends, they will work to assist Diana with these skills, secure a witch to train her and find the lost copy of Asmole 782. The tale that unfolds is absolutely breathtaking, filled with suspense, romance, danger and iconic characters throughout Elizabethan history. The characters are flawed, fleshed out and I absolutely adore them. Diana finds herself out of her element. Her witchcraft is acting all sorts of bonkers. She is living in a time when witches are burned at the stake, the clothes are barbaric and women have no rights. In this novel we get to see tremendous growth in Diana. Her love and understanding of Matthew grows. She becomes more confident in her own skin and continues to be loyal, fearless and stubborn. I loved watching her discover her talents as a witch. This provides both funny and frightening scenes as her inability to control them creates mayhem. Then of course there is Matthew *swoons*. In this novel we learn so much about him and what has molded the modern day version. His history is both fascinating and sad. We get to see a darker side of Matthew as he confronts his past. He loves Diana but things are holding him back. I loved discovering his inner-workings. Diana peeled back his layers, bringing them closer together. The soft, tender side of Matthew was beautiful. There are a few flash forwards to present time and the characters we love. This provides insight into how Matthew and Diana are changing the future. We spend most of the novel in the years 1950 and 1951. This affords us the opportunity to witness history, attend the queen, and meet many historical characters. Harkness did a fantastic job of weaving them in the tale and giving them voice. I adored getting to know Gallowglass and Matthew’s father. The Queen and other characters gave me the chills and I feared for Diana. Harkness has an incredible gift for world-building. She brought the Elizabethan era to life. Her interpretation of the queen, the atmosphere, and the smells of London lifted the tale right from the pages and I become completely immersed. It is immediately evident that a tremendous amount of research went into writing this novel. I was delighted by the historical accuracy and believability. From the buildings, merchants and furnishing, Harkness's imagery was enthralling. The characters she introduced were fleshed-out, and my feelings toward them reflected that. Shadow of Night held my attention and kept me up late two evening in a row, but it was worth every sleep-deprived minute. Harkness spun twists and turns into the plot that completely captivating me. We travel all over Europe and I loved all the little details. The fear of discovery and the atmosphere of the times, especially towards witches made this tale very suspenseful. The romance between Diana and Matthew was genuine and beautifully portrayed. Thanks to Viking for providing a finished copy in exchange for my unbiased review
SOME SPOILERS! As a university writing professor of 20+ years, a rabid reader, and history buff, I find Harkness to be one of the more frustrating writers I've encountered. An obviously brilliant historian with terrific ideas, her books have enough originality and intrigue to hook me--until I'm reduced to screaming frustration by the weak (or absent) editing, inconsistent characters and "Twilight" For Academia plotlines. I was SO hoping "Shadow" would improve upon "Discovery", but I don't think it does in any major way. Like "Discovery," "Shadow" has the makings of a terrific novel; I can see that novel; I just can't get to it: 1. "Discovery" desperately needed to be cut by half; while shorter, "Shadow" still needs to be cut in half. After a conscise, fast start, the novel goes off the rails as it progresses. HOW many times must we be told Matthew and Diane have no more secrets only to be told, oops, there's more? How many references to Matthew's stalkerish possessiveness, his astounding beauty, their star-crossed obssession and her inept magic do we need? WAY too many characters, plotlines, secret organizations, obscure or cliched historical references (Dracula? really?) Must Matthew have some connection with all historical figures (major and minor) of the last 1,500 years? An awful, uneplained death at the end comes out of nowhere and reads like an overly obvious attempt at "shocking cliffhanger." The last 200 pages cram in so much "stuff" (Diana's dad?!), I felt like tbe author was trying to use every. single. idea. she had. Edit!! 2. One plus is that the inane,infuriating "Twilight" parallels that show up via plot and character in "Discovery" are, somewhat, toned down. Diana has some backbone--mercifully not as much fainting, sleeping, being carried around, and following Matthew's every command--but we're still stuck with the icky half-vampire baby plotline and way too many simpering "ma couer" dialogue points. Worse, common sense alludes these supposed geniuses consisently. After showing some spunk and real intellect, Diane then does incredibly stupid things, repeatedly, like deliberately exposing herself to dangerous creatures, being surprised when they find her and want her dead, while apparently forgetting her past history of torture, abuse and being in the 16th century to HIDE. Matthew is TOO much: too Byronic, too James Bond meets Lancelot, yet not smart enough to realize that yes, if you time travel, you're probably going to alter history and run into people you shouldn't or don't want to: like your dead father and crazed sister. 3. Not consummating the affair was one of "Discovery's" most annoying points--it finally happens here but we have to wait almost 200 pages and the circumstances (Matthew's father basically ordering it) are kind of cringe-worthy. However, the sex scenes do have some fun steaminess and eroticism. 4. The Ashmole search unbelievably disappears for long stretches while the lovers do other things and give the search over to secondary characters who, every 100 pgs or so,pop in to say it's still missing. It only becomes important again almost 3/4 of the way thru. There are supposedly reasons for this--but I didn't care by the time I got there. Deborah Harkness has a sexy, fascinating, fun novel in here SOMEWHERE but this isn't it. Sh
I loved this book. very well written. Finished it very quickly
Awesome book! Finally an ADULT fantasy series, not YOUNG adult. Really, the historical details are exceptional and the plot is as intricate and engaging as the characters are. Also, a lot of wit and humor to lighten up some of the darker parts. A great summer read. If you are looking for books like this, I HIGHLY recommend Traci Slatton's books Immortal and The Boticelli Affair. They're the only books that are of the same calibre as the All Souls trilogy and they feature the same historical richness combined with alchemical/magical themes and some fun romance.
NOTE: Lost reading this book, or about to start reading it? Go to the back of the book and find "Libri Persona: The People of the Book" (I believe it is on page 579-581 out of 584 pages). It has a list of the characters and a brief description for each character broken down into the sections of the book. Bookmark it! It will help you out immensely considering all the different people and details in this book. Shadow of Night picks up where A Discovery of Witches left off. Diana and Matthew go back in time to Elizabethan London in search of Ashmole 782. Though Diana knows about the Elizabethan age, she finds it hard to act the part. Matthew and his buddies try to help Diana by tutoring her in how to live in the 1590s. The story is detail rich, so be prepared to know a lot more about Elizabethan London by the end of the book. While in the past, Matthew and Diana are faced with several quests. The first, to find Ashmole 782 and discover its secrets. The second, to find a witch to teach Diana how to use her magic. Both are extremely important in the book, but there is another important part. Shadow of Night gives a lot more details on who Matthew really is. You can easily see how much he has grown compared to his past self. You also find out how he interacts with his friends and family and why he is the way he is. This brings great new details to the series, since I felt that A Discovery of Witches didn't give very many details on Matthew. Though I think the book was a great addition to the series, I found myself frustrated with preconceived notions on time travel. Yes, I have watched too many time travel movies / read too many books. Matthew and Diana seem to not be afraid to alter the past, and do not seem to worry about the ramifications that could happen. To each their own, it did take a little bit of my enjoyment away from reading. All in all, I suggest this series if you loved the first book. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley for an honest review.
I think this book was a success in one way and a failure in another. Obviously, Harkness has a plethora of knowledge of history and wields that throughout the book. Out of approximately 600 pages, only 100 involves a plot. She strings you along enough that you want to know about these characters and their solutions but never quite satisfies you. I enjoy reading historical non-fiction but even the history in this book made so many assumptions about what the reader would bring to the book (or didn't care) that it became white noise. It wasn't enough real history to make sense and too much for a narrative. I really wanted to love it. The only reason I am giving it 3 stars instead of two if because I do love history and the plot (though weak) is interesting. I will read the 3rd, but I won't recommend the book.
The story of Diana and Matthew is an interesting one, however this book was tough to get through. Harkness includes way too many characters, many of which had historical implications, however to the average reader, this became quite confusing. I found myself re-reading sections to clarify what was going on. Harkness should consider the fact that most of her readers are not historians and are readers interested in a good story and ease up on the number of characters and their historical importance in the last book. I will read the last installment when it comes out, as I hate not knowing how a series will end, but it's not a book I'm dying for.
It was so wonderful spending time in 1591 and seeing it through the eyes of someone out of time! I have often wondered what it would be like to step back in time and "go native" just to see how it was and to appreciate what our world is like now even more so. I feel like traveling with Matthew and Diana, I have had a glimpse of it! The only thing about this book that was hard for me, was the fact that it really picked up where A Discovery of Witches left off with no reminders. And having read Witches so long ago, I almost had to look back and refresh myself because I didn't remember who someone was or what was going on. But once I remembered everything I really got into the story. I cannot wait to see what happens in Diana and Matthew's lives and in the lives of all those around them! I already miss the people they shared the past with too
Stayed home from work to read it. I couldnt put it down. Is it too early to wonder when book 3 is coming out?
I really wanted to like this book. The first book dragged, but it was good enough to pre-order Shadow. It seriously needed editing. One more complete description of everyone in the room's attire, one more neck ruff comment, one more hip "donut" comment, one more...well you get it. And why aren't we looking for, hearing about etc., Ashmole!!! I lost interest in this book several times and even read other books, before I could force myself to return to it. I have about 1/3 left and I think I'm done reading it. I don't really care what happens to the characters anymore. It's pretty boring, and failed to keep me involved and interested in the characters or the story. I won't buy the last book, or read anything by this author again.
I was prepared to be underwhelmed with the second All Souls Trilogy installment, instead I was impressed and spent two days immersed in the late 16th century. I enjoyed every moment of both books and although I am not much of a reviewer I can say that anyone who appreciates a well-researched novel will appreciate Deborah Harkness's second installment in her trilogy. I love her characters, and her descriptions of the clothes and the surroundings. Her plot kept me glued to the book for 2 days straight. This book is not to be read alone however......I found that the best way to read a trilogy or an ongoing series is to read the whole thing at once so I reread Discovery of Witches and then jumped directly into Shadow of Night. No one saw me for 4 days and I loved every minute of the read. The only flaw in Deborah Harkness's book is that when she writes about the way the late 16th century smelled she never mentions about how bad it was. It had to have reeked. People didn't' bathe,they used chamber pots and threw them out windows, there was death and decay everywhere...(especially peoples mouths)I mean I wouldn't have wanted her to dwell on it but she really missed the ball on that one. Other than that her research was AMAZING and I learned so much from reading her books. I hope her third book is being written quickly as I am awaiting more.....more more!
Sorry to say that this book was just awful! It dragged and the story never went anywhere. The main characters didn't really do anything and I was so disappointed as I was looking forward to this book after the first one. But I agree with others that there must have been no editing done here. And I can't believe all the good reviews that this book has received. I kind of felt like the author spent a lot more time on the first novel and then rushed this one out. There was no plot. NO plot at all, and the story was SLOW...painfully SLOW.
I so looked forward to this book, but after reading the first 100 or so pages went back to Discovery to see what I had missed. Unfortunately the author may have forgotten that most readers will have not finished book 1 yesterday. There was a struggle to put all the characters together after waiting so many months for Shadow. Perhaps the character reference listing should have been placed in the front of the book. I am sure like most readers, I don't go to the end of the book first and didn't know about the reference until I had finished the book. Shadow didn't leave me wanting to get book #3.
I'm on page 284 and I'm still waiting for *something* to happen. I think the only thing that has happened is that there haven't been any perfectly poured cups of tea! I thought they were going back to 1590 to see about a witch and Ashmole? So far Ashmole may have been mentioned twice in the 284 pages I have read, and I'm not sure if Diana has found her witch teacher yet. For only having 3 weeks after Matthew found out she is pregnant, they sure do waste a lot of time. He's a spy for the queen, but what is he spying on and for what purpose. I just dont about these characters at all, and I'm only trying to finish it because I spent money on it.
Long wait, huge disappointment! I waited for 9 moths for this book, preordered it, and started reading it immediately. I could barely finish it. Two hundred pages too long, way too much filler, not enough of why they went to 1590 to begin with. I was hoping Diana would grow in this book, and we would see her learn more about her powers, never happened. I will read the third book but only out of curiousity. I finished the first book, sad that it had ended. Wanting to what Matthew and Diana were doing. I did not feel that way after the second.
Truly engaging, wonderful characters. If you like this you are probably a fan of diane gabaldon and her outlander series as I am. Better than the first book in the series even though the first was very good as well. Highly recommend!
I loved this book and thought it was better than the first book. I couldn't put the book down, to the annoyance of my husband : ) I can't wait for book three!
Well written! I was daunted with there being over 500 pages but once I dove into the first of the trilogy, I could not wait for the next. I am in awe of the historical and geographical data that was gathered in order to create these books. The imagination and knowledge of this author is wonderful. It is MUCH better than any supernatural or other vampire,witches and deamon movies or books hands down! Can not wait for the finale.
I don't really understand why I am enjoying these books. I like Diana but she is frustratingly naive and has a tendency to fall for the most obvious traps ever committed to the written word. Matthew slumps around like some teenage goth kid. You would think that after 1,500 years the vamp would have some self-confidence! I am reading these books for the fantastic secondary characters, Ysabeau & Phillipe, Sarah & Emily, Marcus and Gallowglass. I love the world Harkness has created even if her hero and heroine seem one-dimensional. Hopefully the last book will tie it all together and give the story some much-needed purpose.
I couldn't wait for the for this book to come out. I am very disappointed. Her first book was very enjoyable, this one not so much. I doubt if I read the 3rd. I'll probably just let my friends tell me about the next one. I can read a 600 page book in 3 to 4 days at the most. This one took me almost 3 weeks. Don't bother
I thought that Shadow of Night was a good second installment. I enjoy the themes of magic and time travel. I am hoping the third book will deal with my questions about the effect their actions during their prolonged stay in the past had on the present. A friend said she was "wading her way through it." There is an almost overwhelming amount of historical and geographical detail.
I loved the first novel by Harkness, and couldn't wait to read this one. I've been stalking it on Barnes and Noble until it was finally released. I thought the book was OKAY but felt that it was too long and the storyline was too loosely written. The first 100 pages are dedicated to a revolving door of characters from Matthew's past that left me dizzy and wondering just why he had to be personally involved with nearly every single person of historical significance from that era. To help with the character confusion, the guide in the back is required but I didn't discover it until I was nearly finished with the book. By that time, I was so over the whole idea of all of these people that I didn't care to look them up. The book does give the reader much more insight into Matthew and Diana's emerging magic was entertaining to read. Oh and the marriage is finally consummated and that part was nicely done, although the circumstances were awkward. Did Phillipe really need to be involved in demanding that? Ewww. The book is devoted to giving you a very detailed glimpse of what life might have been like during the Elizabethan era, and just the thought of wearing all of the layers poor Diana did made me really appreciate the simplicity of women's clothing today. And the ease with which we travel around...jump in a car and go. I felt at times like the external characters and loosey-goosey plot line kept the book from reaching it's true potential. Kept wondering if pages and sub stories were just to add to the page count. It didn't enhance the novel in my opinion and frustrated me as I read around in circles. Overall, I rate the book as okay. I enjoyed the magic, about half the historical detail, Dianna coming into her own finally, and all things Matthew. Just too much fluff and filler in between for my taste. Still a fan of Harkness and her originality. And I'll plunk down the big Nook bucks for the next one, I got your back Deborah.
Well it took me forever to get to page 250 of the 593 and i still get no story. A history lesson yes but i just cannot force myself to read anymore. I don't know what the other reviewers were Liking for there is really a very boing storyline so far. Maybe i got a copy of the book with pages missing.
ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL TRIP BACK IN TIME!! This book takes off right where the first one left off. Ms. Harkness weaves a wonderful tale. The research she must have done to write this book is baffling. I really love a book that pays attention to detail. I love that Diana and Matthew are really evolving as individuals and as a couple. Most of the negative reviews I have read all harp on the "unnecessary" length of the book and the attention to detail the author has. I find that wonderful and it really pulls me into the book. I could close my eyes and feel what was going on as if I were in the story. I love the way the author pullls real characters from the past and expertly weaves them into her tale. I will admit there were a lot of characters to follow, but there is a guide in the back of the book that is a wonderful aid (she thinks of everything)! Anyway, my only gripe is that I must wait an undetermined amount of time for the last installment -- ARRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! To end this review, may I say that if you love a really good story -- this is it.
I loved "Discovery of Witches" and this book lived up t it's predecessor. I can't wait until the final book of The All Souls Trilogy!