After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.
With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.
About the Author
Visit www.deborahharkness.com and follow “Deborah Harkness” on Facebook and @DebHarkness on Twitter.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Read an Excerpt
Sol in Cancer
The signe of the Crabbe pertains to houses, lands, treasures, and whatever is hidden. It is the fourth house of the Zodiak. It signifies death and the end of thinges.
—Anonymous English Commonplace Book, c. 1590,
Gonçalves MS 4890, f. 8r
Ghosts didn’t have much substance. All they were composed of was memories and heart. Atop one of Sept-Tours’ round towers, Emily Mather pressed a diaphanous hand against the spot in the center of her chest that even now was heavy with dread.
Does it ever get easier? Her voice, like the rest of her, was almost imperceptible. The watching? The waiting? The knowing?
Not that I’ve noticed, Philippe de Clermont replied shortly. He was perched nearby, studying his own transparent fingers. Of all the things Philippe disliked about being dead—the inability to touch his wife, Ysabeau; his lack of smell or taste; the fact that he had no muscles for a good sparring match—invisibility topped the list. It was a constant reminder of how inconsequential he had become.
Emily’s face fell, and Philippe silently cursed himself. Since she’d died, the witch had been his constant companion, cutting his loneliness in two. What was he thinking, barking at her as if she were a servant?
Perhaps it will be easier when they don’t need us anymore, Philippe said in a gentler tone. He might be the more experienced ghost, but it was Emily who understood the metaphysics of their situation. What the witch had told him went against everything Philippe believed about the afterworld. He thought the living saw the dead because they needed something from them: assistance, forgiveness, retribution. Emily insisted these were nothing more than human myths, and it was only when the living moved on and let go that the dead could appear to them.
This information made Ysabeau’s failure to notice him somewhat easier to bear, but not much.
“I can’t wait to see Em’s reaction. She’s going to be so surprised.” Diana’s warm alto floated up to the battlements.
Diana and Matthew, Emily and Philippe said in unison, peering down to the cobbled courtyard that surrounded the château.
There, Philippe said, pointing at the drive. Even dead, he had vampire sight that was sharper than any human’s. He was also still handsomer than any man had a right to be, with his broad shoulders and devilish grin. He turned the latter on Emily, who couldn’t help grinning back. They are a fine couple, are they not? Look how much my son has changed.
Vampires weren’t supposed to be altered by the passing of time, and therefore Emily expected to see the same black hair, so dark it glinted blue; the same mutable gray-green eyes, cool and remote as a winter sea; the same pale skin and wide mouth. There were a few subtle differences, though, as Philippe suggested. Matthew’s hair was shorter, and he had a beard that made him look even more dangerous, like a pirate. She gasped.
Is Matthew . . . bigger?
He is. I fattened him up when he and Diana were here in 1590. Books were making him soft. Matthew needed to fight more and read less. Philippe had always contended there was such a thing as too much education. Matthew was living proof of it.
Diana looks different, too. More like her mother, with that long, coppery hair, Em said, acknowledging the most obvious change in her niece.
Diana stumbled on a cobblestone, and Matthew’s hand shot out to steady her. Once, Emily had seen Matthew’s incessant hovering as a sign of vampire overprotectiveness. Now, with the perspicacity of a ghost, she realized that this tendency stemmed from his preternatural awareness of every change in Diana’s expression, every shift of mood, every sign of fatigue or hunger. Today, however, Matthew’s concern seemed even more focused and acute.
It’s not just Diana’s hair that has changed. Philippe’s face had a look of wonder. Diana is with child—Matthew’s child.
Emily examined her niece more carefully, using the enhanced grasp of truth that death afforded. Philippe was right—in part. You mean “with children.” Diana is having twins.
Twins, Philippe said in an awed voice. He looked away, distracted by the appearance of his wife. Look, here are Ysabeau and Sarah with Sophie and Margaret.
What will happen now, Philippe? Emily asked, her heart growing heavier with anticipation.
Endings. Beginnings, Philippe said with deliberate vagueness. Change.
Diana has never liked change, Emily said.
That is because Diana is afraid of what she must become, Philippe replied.
* * *
Marcus Whitmore had faced horrors aplenty since the night in 1781 when Matthew de Clermont made him a vampire. None had prepared him for today’s ordeal: telling Diana Bishop that her beloved aunt, Emily Mather, was dead.
Marcus had received the phone call from Ysabeau while he and Nathaniel Wilson were watching the television news in the family library. Sophie, Nathaniel’s wife, and their baby, Margaret, were dozing on a nearby sofa.
“The temple,” Ysabeau had said breathlessly, her tone frantic. “Come. At once.”
Marcus had obeyed his grandmother without question, only taking time to shout for his cousin, Gallowglass, and his Aunt Verin on his way out the door.
The summer half-light of evening had lightened further as he approached the clearing at the top of the mountain, brightened by the otherworldly power that Marcus glimpsed through the trees. His hair stood at attention at the magic in the air.
Then he scented the presence of a vampire, Gerbert of Aurillac. And someone else—a witch.
A light, purposeful step sounded down the stone corridor, drawing Marcus out of the past and back into the present. The heavy door opened, creaking as it always did.
“Hello, sweetheart.” Marcus turned from the view of the Auvergne countryside and drew a deep breath. Phoebe Taylor’s scent reminded him of the thicket of lilac bushes that had grown outside the red-painted door of his family’s farm. Delicate and resolute, the fragrance had symbolized the hope of spring after a long Massachusetts winter and conjured up his long-dead mother’s understanding smile. Now it only made Marcus think of the petite, iron-willed woman before him.
“Everything will be all right.” Phoebe reached up and straightened his collar, her olive eyes full of concern. Marcus had taken to wearing more formal clothes than concert T-shirts around the same time he’d started to sign his letters Marcus de Clermont instead of Marcus Whitmore—the name she’d first known him by, before he had told her about vampires, fifteen-hundred-year-old fathers, French castles full of forbidding relatives, and a witch named Diana Bishop. It was, in Marcus’s opinion, nothing short of miraculous that Phoebe had remained at his side.
“No. It won’t.” He caught one of her hands and planted a kiss on the palm. Phoebe didn’t know Matthew. “Stay here with Nathaniel and the rest of them. Please.”
“For the final time, Marcus Whitmore, I will be standing beside you when you greet your father and his wife. I don’t believe we need discuss it further.” Phoebe held out her hand. “Shall we?”
Marcus put his hand in Phoebe’s, but instead of following her out the door as she expected, he tugged her toward him. Phoebe came to rest against his chest, one hand clasped in his and the other pressed to his heart. She looked at him with surprise.
“Very well. But if you come down with me, Phoebe, there are conditions. First, you are with me or with Ysabeau at all times.”
Phoebe opened her mouth to protest, but Marcus’s serious look silenced her.
“Second, if I tell you to leave the room, you will do so. No delay. No questions. Go straight to Fernando. He’ll be in the chapel or the kitchen.” Marcus searched her face and saw a wary acceptance. “Third, do not, under any circumstances, get within arm’s reach of my father. Agreed?”
Phoebe nodded. Like any good diplomat, she was prepared to follow Marcus’s rules—for now. But if Marcus’s father was the monster some in the house seemed to think he was, Phoebe would do what she must.
What People are Saying About This
Praise for The Book of Life
“Weaving an extraordinarily rich story of magic and science, history and fiction, passion and power, secrets and truths, Harkness delivers an unforgettable and spellbinding finale that's not to be missed.”
“Juicy and action-packed.”
“Pure escapist summer fun.”
—Jodi Picoult, Parade
“The epic and erudite vampire-witch romance comes to a thoroughly satisfying conclusion in the action-packed All Souls trilogy ender.”
“A stirring, poignant saga.”
“The charm in Deborah Harkness’s wildly successful All Souls trilogy lies not merely in the spells that its creature characters cast as they lurk pretty much in plain sight of humans, but in the adroit way Harkness has insinuated her world of demons, witches, and vampires into ours. . . . From the novel’s poignant opening, Harkness casts her own indelible spell of enchantment, heartbreak, and resilience. . . . She is terrific at bringing her magic world to life, maintaining a fast-paced, page-turning narrative.” —The Boston Globe
“This trilogy is a superlative example in a subgenre you could call realistic fantasy—think Harry Potter but for grown-ups or Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Witches, vampires, and daemons exist, along with time travel. But this world also is recognizably ours, not a wholly made-up setting like George R.R. Martin’s Westeros. When done well, as it is here, this sort of fiction provides characters who are recognizably human in their desires and actions even if most of them are creatures with supernatural powers. Through them Harkness succeeds at the hardest part of writing fantasy: She makes this world so real that you believe it exists—or at the very least that you wish that it did.”
“Harkness has immersed and spellbound readers with her alternative universe. . . . Her ambitious melding of scientific and historical detail is inventive and brings surprising depth. . . . The Book of Life brims with sensuality, intrigue, violence and much-welcome humor.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Secrets and mysteries are finally revealed in the entertaining and satisfying conclusion. . . . The entire trilogy is a delightful plunge into the world of magic, witches and vampires, where love breaks all rules and happy endings are possible.”
“There is no shortage of action in this sprawling sequel, and nearly every chapter brings a wrinkle to the tale. The storytelling is lively and energetic, and Diana remains an appealing heroine even as her life becomes ever more extraordinary. A delightful wrap-up to the trilogy.”
“Harkness herself proves to be quite the alchemist as she combines elements of magic, history, romance, and science, transforming them into a compelling journey through time, space, and geography. By bridging the gaps between Harry Potter, Twilight, and Outlander fans, Harkness artfully appeals to a broad range of fantasy lovers.”
“The witch Diana’s and the vampire Matthew’s quests to discover their origins and confront the threats to their star-crossed union tie up as neatly as one of Diana’s magical weaver’s knots. . . . As in the previous two installments, there are healthy doses of action, colorful magic, angst-y romance and emotional epiphany, plus mansion-hopping across the globe, historical tidbits and name-dropping of famous artworks and manuscripts. . . . It’s still satisfying to travel with these characters toward their more-than-well-earned happy ending.”
“The adventure never lets up. . . . History, science, and the unpredictable actions of paranormal characters with hidden agendas all swirl together to create a not-to-be-missed finale to a stellar series.”
Reading Group Guide
1. Throughout The Book of Life, the ghosts of Philippe de Clermont and Emily Mather observe what their loved ones are doing in the world of the living. Have you ever felt the protective presence of friends or family who have passed on?
2. Although we don’t meet Matthew’s nephew Gallowglass until Shadow of the Night, we learn that—under orders from Philippe—he has been protecting Diana from afar since she was born. We also learn that Gallowglass has fallen deeply in love with Diana. How did this knowledge affect your opinion of him? Are there ways in which he might have made Diana a better mate than Matthew?
3. After they meet at Sotheby’s in Shadow of Night, Marcus and Phoebe fall in love. Phoebe agrees to become a vampire in order to become a near immortal like Marcus. Compare her decision to Diana’s decision to remain a warmblood. What are the pluses and minuses of each woman’s choice?
4. Advances in genetics have now made it possible for us to learn if we carry genes for a variety of heritable diseases. Would knowing that your romantic partner was a carrier for something as potentially dangerous as blood rage prevent you from marrying and/or having children with him or her?
5. Matthew’s centuries-old decision to let Benjamin live set in motion a chain of events that threatens Diana as well as their newborn twins. To what extent is Matthew responsible for the suffering that Benjamin has caused?
6. Several characters from earlier in the series return to play a part in the final volume, including Jack, Father Hubbard, and Timothy Weston—the daemon from the Bodleian. Whose reappearance astonished you the most? Whose absence did you find most painful?
7. After his violent confrontation with Matthew at the twins’ naming ceremony, Baldwin transforms from imperious bully to gracious brother. If you were Diana, would you be able to forgive him for his earlier behavior?
8. Matthew deliberately walks into Benjamin’s trap, initiating the Queen’s Gambit, a chess move that he habitually avoids in order to protect his queen. In this case, he puts his queen—Diana—into play against Benjamin. Were you surprised by Matthew’s decision? Would it have been possible to overcome Benjamin if Matthew hadn’t allowed Diana to risk her life?
9. The de Clermonts eventually discover that Gerbert—the vampire who led the congregation in denouncing Matthew and Diana’s relationships—had himself been consorting with witches and daemons for centuries. Unfortunately, the news is full of illegal and often hypocritical acts committed by people in positions of power. Do you think that it’s power that corrupts, or are the corrupt more inclined than most to seek power?
10. What do you think the future holds for Matthew and Diana? Which characters from the series would you like to have learned more about?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
*This review was a collaborative effort on behalf of Orchard Book Club* - Crystal McCabe Orchard Book Club was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of The Book of Life. Both of us devoured it in about a day. Fellow member Rachel will be adding her review after she reads it too so stay tuned for that. Before we start, we think it’s important that you know something about us (Tina & Crystal). See, we met because of this series. We were both on Twitter anxiously sending tweets to Deb Harkness over the release of Shadow of Night around two years ago and found each other. It was an All Souls Trilogy match made in heaven. Two super fans of the series who became instant online friends. That being said, you must understand that we are both utterly devoted to this book and the entire series. We seriously love it. Everything about it. The characters, Matthew, the writing, the plot, Matthew, the entire experience, and, most importantly, Matthew. (Matthew is Crystal’s absolute top book boyfriend ever. And she reads – a lot!) Now, onto the review. We pick up right where we left off with Matthew and Diana having arrived back from the past to Sept-Tours to see their combined family. It’s amazing how both families are so different but come together for the sake of Matthew and Diana and the greater overall picture of sacrifice and love. And there is a much greater picture being painted that will reveal itself at the end. There is great strength and solidarity shown by both families to be able to put aside their vast differences and beliefs in order to support Matthew and Diana and what they represent against not only the Congregation but also against all other enemies. There are very noticeable differences at Sept-Tours since they arrived back, but everyone must strive to move forward and continue on the journey at hand. There is not one soul, living or dead, that wants Matthew and Diana to give up on the journey that consumes them. Enemies and foes seem to be flying at the de Clermonts/Bishops at every turn in The Book of Life. This brings to the forefront the quest to find the missing page of Ashmole 782 in order to attempt to unlock its secrets. Everyone believes that if the book can be repaired by returning the three missing pages that it can explain, among other things like creature origins and blood rage in vampires, how Diana is able to carry Matthew’s children. After all, there is a paranormal romance going on in this series. And we love the moments Matthew and Diana are able to steal away with each other. Matthew’s pet names for Diana of mon coeur and ma lionne are particularly heartwarming to us. We just melt when he calls her mon coeur and fall a little more in love with him. The struggles Matthew faces with being mated to Diana and his intense need to protect her and be near her are a challenge for them both in this book. There even comes a time when they have to fight their battle separately on two different fronts in order to be able to meet in the middle in the end. This is particularly difficult for both of them. Matthew realizes what he must do in order to move forward and he struggles greatly with having to be apart from Diana. However, there is also much understanding to be had about the great strength that Diana possesses as well during this time. Without giving anything away, a lot of past characters are more prevalent in this book. Everyone has a purpose. Some you love, some you hate, some you come to finally understand, and some you just want to strangle. But we assure you that everyone has their purpose. Deb writes each character so well and so deeply that you have no choice but love them all in the end because each one plays an integral part in the overall story. We even get a better look into all things endearing and heart-rendering about Gallowglass (who was the favorite addition in Shadow of Night for both of us). Some characters we thought we left back in Shadow of Night resurface as well. Like we said, rest assured that EVERYONE has their purpose in this series. While the battle continues to rage, something beautiful happens. Babies. The scenes surrounding the twins were a particular favorite for us. The dialogue makes you feel like you are in the room. It’s that strong. With the addition of the two newest members of the Bishop-Clairmont clan we really feel how important it is to fight the Congregation and put the issues of the Covenant to rest once and for all. That is the most pressing issue. Finding out about Matthew’s blood rage and the possibilities of it being passed on are a pressing second but with the team they have working on the genetics of it, rest assured that the matter is in good hands. We feel confident that everyone will agree in the end that no one saw what was coming. We were both completely blind-sighted by some of the events that occur towards the end of the book. We finally get to see Diana come into her own and become stronger than anyone thought she ever could. We get to see Matthew take a few steps back and let her lead once in a while. When this happens you really get a sense of how strong the power of love truly is. It’s not just about a witch and a vampire anymore. It’s not just about the difference in worlds. It’s about love and family and the importance of doing whatever you must to protect it. Deb just has a way of sending you into this magical world full of so much love, heartbreak, happiness, suspense, hatred, heartbreak, and utter and complete wonderfulness that you will forever be changed by her story. We were! The Book of Life ties the All Souls Trilogy up neatly into one of Diana’s weaving knots. Everything has its place and we don’t think we could’ve imagined a better ending to the story. We are equal parts sad that it’s over and extremely happy about the journey. We became friends because of Deborah Harkness and her books so it seemed only fitting that we worked together on this review. We very anxiously awaiting this book knowing it would be the conclusion of our favorite characters. We will continue to reread the All Souls Trilogy whenever we are in need of a great book. Matthew will remain Crystal’s favorite book boyfriend (probably ever). In closing, we say “thank you” to Deborah Harkness for inviting us into her world of witches, vampires, and daemons. We are forever changed by your words and we sincerely hope that you will continue to write more books. To the readers, please trust us - you won’t be sorry!
A wonderful end to a wonderful series. Great characters and perfect pacing made this a standout novel.
It was an exceptional ending to a brilliant trilogy. I loved how many details were put into the series even though it is classified under the new-age pop culture crisis regarding other worldly phenomenon. It saddens me that the series came to a close, but because i am satisfied with how it was made, I will have to let it go.
I adored each of these books and feel like the characters are family. The 3rd/final book is perfectly done; there's heartache, joy, hope, pain. There is a new beginning and a thoughtful, satisfyjng end to the story. No spoilers here other than to say you will miss these characters when you finish the trilogy.
Was waiting patiently for this one to come out. Enjoyed the other two, In fact Shadow of Night was probably one of my all time favorites. While this was a good story and I'm not saying don't read it, this one has some problems. I've read it twice and feel comfortable with the following problems. Why introduce ghosts and not use them and where will they reside, France or the Bishop house. I felt the magick was more Hollywood than being true to fiction. How Diana gets her knowledge from the book and most of the magick after that (including Knox's spells) seemed to be more like direction for an action movie than a work of fiction. In my mind it cheapened the writing. In some places the writing seemed strange, starting in first person than shifting to third was difficult to follow. I also felt after everyone was saved it began to drift and the ending dragged, maybe the astrologic intros. should have been replaced with something else. While I liked them I felt you ran out of stuff to say in the end.
What an amazing, beautiful conclusion to the All Souls Trilogy. Sad it is over but all of your questions, worries and more are answered. I recommend reading the first two books in the trilogy before this though so you are current on what is going on and who is who.
Series overview: Diana Bishop always knew she was a witch but until she found an ancient, enchanted text in a university library and met a devastatingly handsome vampire she didn't know both would be her destiny. The Book of Life: Diana and Matthew have returned from their successful time-walking, name-dropping journey of the 16th century married and Diana improbably pregnant with twins only to find tragedy and turmoil waiting for them in the 21st. It seems their time away left more unanswered questions about the ancient text they went to the past to investigate. It’s now more important than ever to find The Book of Life and discover its secrets because it may be the only thing that will save their own family but it also may hold the secrets of all the earth’s creatures. The Book of Life is an amazing end to Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy. She continues to manipulate history and expertly mixes science and fantasy. Her mastery of words is again evident in her mellifluous narrative showing her skillful blend of prose and conversation and she doesn’t ignore the extreme importance of the minutia and the mundane. Her eclectic blend of fantastical, mythical and fanatical characters is supremely portrayed and will not be soon forgotten once the story ends. The trilogy is intricately interlaced and should be read in order. Deborah you’ve brought me along as a willing traveler on this incredible journey and I can’t wait to see where we travel to next.
I was highly anticipating this book, but I didn't feel this one lived up to the other two. I found this book to be less exciting and less intriguing, as compared to the previous books, which I loved. The first two books were riveting. This book lacked some of the emerging relationship dynamics and surprises found in the first two books. It felt like the series fizzled a bit at the end. I think this book would have benefited from another edit. It was a bit heavy on narrative description, when action or dialogue would have been more effective and interesting to read. I also felt that the author rather obviously and repeatedly stated the themes in the books...appreciate diversity, value family even when relationships are difficult, etc. There was too much narrative explicitly stating these themes, and frankly, this was done first in Charlaine Harris's books and True Blood, so it felt a bit "been there, done that...get on the popular bandwagon" as far as using vampires, witches, etc. as an allegory for equality and diversity. I was originally more intrigued by the relationships, the suspense, the science, and the history, but this last book just didn't deliver as the first did.
Loved it! Need a movie!!!!!
What a great conclusion. The right amount of everything and no breaking of my heart with the twists and turns. Although B & N did a horrible job with nook page formatting so many page skips and reading the last 10 pages was like piecing puzzle pages together. Horribly frustrating to the flow of reading and being able to stay in story world. Good job to the author one star rating to barnes and noble and nook.
The beginning of this book is terrible, it reads like it's written by a high school student. The dialog seems forced, and the characters seem shallow. However, if you can get through the first few chapters, the writing returns to more of the author's typical style. The last book in a series is always a difficult one, but I was expecting more. At first read I found this the most disappointing of the 3, with the first being my favorite.
I don't think this series could have ended on a better note. Wonderful wonderful end to an absolutely terrific series! Please, this is book 3 of a trilogy, so do not try to start with this as you will probably be completely lost. Ms. Harkness does do a good job of reminding us of things that were presented in the previous two books, but I still HIGHLY recommend you start with book 1 -- A Discovery of Witches. For those who have been waiting patiently for this (as I have) for the end, Harkness has answered every question, left no stone unturned, and left us with a definite "Happy Ending!" She starts exactly where book 2 left off and continued from there. I have loved every moment of this trilogy. It is a love story, an action story, a mystery and ohhhh so much more! I have noticed that the biggest complaint of anyone that did not like the story was that it was too long and drawn out. So my warning is this....... if flowery words and lots of background and descriptions are not for you -- if you only like for an author to get straight to the point, this is probably not the series for you. If, however, you are like me and love for an author to pull you into the story with her descriptiveness... if you love to shut your eyes and feel you are right in the middle of a story... well then this is just the story for you. I am in awe of the research that had to be done to get the history that was in this book. My goodness, this author can really tell a story. Thank you so much for your attention to detail Ms. Harkness. This was a fabulously written tale of love. I enjoyed EVERY minute of this series! I hope to see more from you in the future! -- SPeeD
Well done Ms. Harkness. Fans of the trilogy will find this a satisfying conclusion. I'm already reading it for the second time.
Diana Bishop, witch and historical scholar, is now wed to the vampire and scientist, Matthew Clairmont; together they are seeking to discover several scientific facts about their DNA. For Matthew seeks to understand the composition of his “blood rage,” Diana seeks to learn more about the “weaving” skills she possesses that seriously affect the magic she is learning to control in her magic; and finally they seek the missing pages of the magical alchemical book Ashmole 782, which is “The Book of Life.” These major characters are assisted by a covey of witches from New York, thwarted by Matthew’s evil son, Benjamin, and assisted by other scientists who are human, vampire, and members of the Congregation of Witches. This is normally a highly unlikely union as vampires and witches are usually highly suspicious of each other and are more enemies than colleagues. Add to the intense tension arising from Matthew and Diana’s reappearance from the 1500s to the present the fact that Diana is now pregnant with twins. Will they be vampire, witch or human? Will they possess the devastatingly destructive blood rage that Matthew has learned to control? How will the virulent enmity of Matthew’s son and the orders of the leader of Matthew’s family affect Matthew and Diana’s relationship? Ashmole 782 is the quest and the reader will be stunned by the gradually revealed truths about the composition of this book of magic and the reasons why many characters will do anything to find the missing pages and thus gain possession and power of the ancient tome! The Book of Life… is carefully plotted, with tender and endearing moments of passion and love between Matthew and Diana; beautiful descriptions of several pivotal places, scenes of fierce conflict in which the battles increase the closer the characters come to the answers to each mystery they seek to solve, and detailed scenes involving the skilled analysis of DNA common, yet unique, to the witches and vampires in this quest. While this may annoy some readers, it is actually quite necessary to provide credibility to the rest of the mystery of the main characters and the Book of Life. Deborah Harkness is a skilled writer who has crafted a very different trilogy of novels that educates the reader about witches and vampires, avoids the stereotypical treatment of this topic, and succeeds in presenting an intelligent, albeit fictional, treatment of some historical realities about witches and vampires. It’s quite an achievement and not for those who want a light read. The Book of Life is fiction about the paranormal, history, science, romance, the supernatural and more, a noteworthy and memorable read! This is highly recommended, fiction written by an author who knows how to develop and embellish a great story!
Deborah Harkness is a master storyteller working her own magic into the words that have become Book Three and the final installment of the All Souls Trilogy. Readers will find Diana and Matthew to be a befitting couple who will face unimaginable experiences together as one is a weaver witch and historian, the other a vampire who have just returned from Elizabethan England. The way which Diana weaves magic in such a descriptive manor practically has you motioning your own hands as you turn the pages and could easily be a book of its own as Harkness flows imagery around like birds in the wind leaving you bespelled and yearning for more. Matthew is that strong partner, the protector, with a heart of gold and would walk to the ends of Hell for his beloved, but don’t be fooled, he’s an assassin after all. The congregration may be small-minded, but they're not complete fools" Together they will stop at nothing to safely bring their twins into the world and to find the missing pages of the Book of Life that supposedly contains the key to the ancestries of every supernatural creature and being. With Matthews’s murderous son corners Diana and Phoebe, the safety of everyone’s future rests in Diana’s unhoned magic. "And before you ask, I can go outside during the day and my hair won't catch fire in the sunlight. I'm Catholic and have a crucifix. When I sleep, which is not often, I prefer a bed to a coffin. If you try to stake me, the wood will likely splinter before it enters my skin." The Book of Life is simply enchanting from the beautiful grimoire like cover and through every single chapter. Readers new to this series will find this to be a solid standalone book that will wet their appetite and leave them emotional with the turn of the last page. A thoroughly magical thrill ride ending to this masterful series.
I usually don't like the conclusions because they tend to feel rushed but Deborah did an amazing job! Especially when she wrote a little "twist" if you will, at the end. I am seriuosly wondering if she will write more. I won't give out any spoilers but seriously it was an epic ending to such an exquisite trilogy! Read the All Souls Trilogy you won't regret it :)
I almost slept through the first 300 pages. To relieve the boredom I started skipping pages. The saving grace of this book is the last 200 pages. What was missing from the book was the dynamic of Matthew and Diane working in tandem to save their family and achieve their goals. That trip to N.O. was a waste of space. There were too many location changes that did not serve the story line. What I did like was the development of Gallowgas, Diana's time in Venice and the resolution of the book of life (which took a ridiculously long time to find considering the search covered 3 books). The only reason I hung in there was that I absolutely loved the first 2 books. I would read another book in the series but if it dissapoints I'll be done.
WOW!!! I loved it!!! Pay no attention to those negative reviews that it was badly written and did not tie the stories together and was not cohesive. My only negative is that all 3 of these books have multiple characters and intricate plots, and reading them so far apart makes it difficult to keep up and remember who's who. Once I purchased THE BOOK OF LOIFE and started reading it I realized that I had forgotten a lot of the previous story lines and I was a little bit lost, so I went back and re-read 1 and 2 first. This is the way to really appreciate all of the plots and characters and keep everything straight. My only complaint is that I loved these books and I want #4!!!
I LOVED the first two books - and this one was still good - but not as awesome as I'd hoped it would be. Instead of continuing the ongoing story lines, they seemed to take a back seat to a new one that just wasn't necessary at all. In doing this, it kind of took the legitimacy out of the threat/storyline in the first two books, which is a shame. There were also a lot of unanswered questions and holes at the end, which seemed to be because of how much the storyline deviated. Still - a very talented author - but I do wish the final book in the trilogy had been better executed.
A beautiful conclusion
I'm giving it a three star ratting, it was a good read, but it wasn't great. The first two books left me wanting more, this book ended with so many unanswered questions, maybe I'm taking it out of context. Side note: I do wish Deborah Harkness will write a book involving Gallowglass. He was one of those character's that stuck with me and I think he deserves his own book.
This book was everything I've come to love about a Harkness novel. We get the drama surrounding Diana and Matthew, the intensity of an evil villain in their midst, questions about the origin of all the species, and finally some answers as well. There were moments so intense in this story that I simply HAD to put it down and walk away for awhile. Which, to me, is the sign of a VERY good book. I was also very happy with the way it ended up. There was closure, but still a bit of mystery surrounding what might happen next for the couple. A Discovery of Witches was selected for my Book Club to read and I'm so glad that I read it and continued with the series.
I have throughly enjoyed this series and could not wait for the third, and final, book to come out. I found myself waiting for 'the' big moment in the book but it never quite seemed to get there. The story line built so far and then just stayed there. Though the story did reach it's conclusion, it felt flat to me and I felt let down. Two great books anf this is what we get to end it?' I do like the author's style and will definitely will read more of her work when available. I just wish that the last book/end of the story would of had a HUGE finish.
I first have to say this is probably one of the best birthday gifts I could ever receive! But it was bittersweet too because I didn't want to let go of these characters yet. I feel like I could go back and start this series all over again and still find some new morsel that I might have missed the first time around. I love Deborah Harkness so much! I love her writing style because it can illicit different emotions from me at the same time! I am like a bundle of nerves and calm all the same time!! The many ways she includes the history and the facts about past is so soothing to me but the excitement and adventure that Diana goes on does cause my heartbeat to speed up. I have always enjoyed reading historical fiction and I believe there are many parts of The Book of Life that could make it in that genre. Every time I pick up something from Deborah Harkness it makes me want to travel to London and major in English and History right then and there. She gives it this romantic side that I have always felt but others might not have until now. I finally found someone like me!!! Besides the glorious writing style, the characters are something else that will absolutely sweep you off your feet. Matthew and Diana, our main protagonists, are amazing creatures who would do and say anything for each other and the people they love. It is sobering to see that devotion played out through the book's pages. But they are not afraid to stand up to each other for what they believe is right, no matter who they might upset. A perfect example is Diana dealing with Baldwin. Can I admit secretly that I really like Baldwin-even though he is a perfect ass. He reminds me of someone that is very rough around the edges but still has that good spot when it comes to his family. I am sure we all know someone like that. All of the characters interact with each other so well in the final book but it was a definite journey throughout for them to get where they needed to be. So we see a lot of character growth in the trilogy, especially where Diana is concerned. She learns to love herself and truly accept everything about herself. The plot lines in this huge and complicated but very interesting story is amazing in itself. Just as Diana is a weaver, so is Mrs. Harkness as she tells a story of love, magic, deceit and mystery to capture all of our senses and make us think through the major workings of science and history. We learn to combine the two, along with creativity as we delve deeper into The Book of Life. There were times some of the technical terms confused me and I had to rush off to grab a dictionary but I still understood the basic facts. And still enjoyed the story immensely. I loved this book more than I can really explain because there is so much that it brings and I feel like I am getting so much in just one story. I love historical fiction and I feel like it is hugely a part of that (minus the creature part), I love stories that can combine fantasy with science and check -we got that too. But it is a paranormal romance story too. There are just so many great aspects to the story I believe there is truly something for everyone. I have to give The Book of Life five stars and more if I could! I am sad to see it end but I am very happy with the ending and I feel like we definitely received the information we needed to feel okay to say goodbye. I would love to see some short novellas about the other characters that we love so much. Hopefully, down the road we might get some more insight to the others in the magical world of All Souls Trilogy.
Waiting for the movie