In Harkness’s rich but meandering new novel, the first in a new series set in the world of her All Souls trilogy, vampire Marcus Whitmore, son of Matthew de Clermont, is set to marry 23-year-old human Phoebe Taylor, who will be made a vampire herself. Marcus’s required 90-day separation from Phoebe during the process inspires him to seek comfort at the home that his father shares with his wife, the witch Diana Bishop. Diana, through her magic, senses that Marcus hasn’t come to terms with his past as a field doctor during the Revolutionary War and the events leading up to his rebirth as a vampire in 1781, and attempts to draw him out. Meanwhile, Diana and Matthew’s delightful brightborn (half-vampire, half-witch) twins Philip and Becca are already manifesting an alarming aptitude for magic, and Philip has summoned a new familiar, a griffin named Apollo. Harkness’s busy, meticulously researched narrative moves back and forth between present-day Paris and the days of the Revolutionary War, and her easy familiarity with her fully realized characters will make readers feel at home. Phoebe’s transition from warmblood to vampire is particularly fascinating, as is the fraught history of vampires and witches. The large cast can be daunting, and those not already familiar with the All Souls trilogy may be lost, but returning readers will find this a delightful excursion. (Sept.)
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“Harkness brings her keen historian’s eye to the American and French revolutions, drawing parallels between the two periods through not only the vampire witnesses to history but the appearances of historical figures: the Marquis de Lafayette, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine.”
—Los Angeles Times
“In Time’s Convert, Deborah Harkness, the author of A Discovery Of Witches, spins a tale of life-ever-after, romance, and family drama, and it is gloriously entertaining.”
“This vampire book is set during the American Revolution, when a young man named Marcus MacNeil is offered a chance to escape his puritan upbringing (boring!) and become immortal (fun!). From the bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches.”
—New York Post
“Ever wonder what it really takes to be a vampire? Let Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches, give you a taste in her latest novel . . . a passionate love story.”
“Effortlessly sweeping across time and continents . . . Harkness replaces the captivating Matthew and Diana dynamic with a passionate new love story.”
This follow-up to the "All-Souls" trilogy begins with Phoebe Taylor preparing to be turned into a vampire to join her mate, Marcus de Clermont. The novel follows three characters—Phoebe, Diana Bishop (who is a witch), and Marcus. "Baby vampire" Phoebe is learning about the wonders and agony of being supernatural. As Phoebe moves through her transformation, Marcus begins to slowly confront the demons of his past—his childhood in colonial Massachusetts and his service in George Washington's army, where he met Matthew de Clermont, which led to his life as a vampire. His sections are rich in history and detail. Diana and Matthew are raising their toddler vampire-witch twins, who are already biting vampire relatives and using magic. Their marriage and the twins' birth have consequences in the supernatural world, and they are dealing with the political fallout. This engaging and fascinating book will appeal to supernatural and history buffs, but keeping track of all the vampire family members and politics might be daunting for those unfamiliar with the previous series installments. VERDICT A great purchase where the trilogy has a following.—Tamara Saarinen, Pierce County Library, WA
In this adjunct to the All Souls trilogy, Phoebe Taylor adjusts to existence as a vampire while her vampire fiance, Marcus, contemplates his troubled past.
Ritual and necessity demand that these two lovers remain apart for three months as Phoebe learns to control her new aptitudes and hungers. The separation inspires Marcus to recall his coming-of-age during the Revolutionary War, his troubled relationship with his abusive birth father, and the vampiric rebirth that links him to a new and powerful family. His story is coaxed out of him by the witch Diana, who also has her hands full with her half-witch, half-vampire twin toddlers, who are beginning to come into their own considerable powers. Readers of the previous three books (A Discovery of Witches, 2011; Shadow of Night, 2012; The Book of Life, 2014) will undoubtedly be thrilled to catch up with Diana, her temperamental vampire husband, Matthew, and all their connections. However, those unfamiliar with the series should not jump in here, as it is assumed we already know the backstory. Phoebe's vampiric education is interesting but also somewhat reminiscent of how Anne Rice handled the same topic in her novels (a point underscored by a cameo of Louis, the protagonist of Rice's Interview with the Vampire). The book rambles from storyline to storyline at a leisurely pace until coming to a fairly abrupt halt with some rapid epiphanies that don't feel entirely supported by what came before. Initially, it is strongly suggested that the book's pivot will involve Marcus' confessing a shocking secret, but it's actually revealed fairly early on, and another potentially climactic event, the massacre of Marcus' vampire children in New Orleans, is almost perfunctory (possibly because it was also extensively covered in Book 3).
A moderately involving gift for fans, offering Harkness' usual loving attention both to historical detail and romantic/familial angst, but perhaps the author will apply her talents to fresh fictional territory in the future.
Skillfully weaving vampire Marcus MacNeil's past in colonial America with action in contemporary London and Paris, this latest novel from best-selling author Harkness tells the story of Marcus and his human lady love Phoebe Taylor. Readers learn a great deal about the process of converting a human to a vampire as Phoebe walks this path on her way to an ever-after joining with Marcus. As she struggles through rebirth, Marcus suffers tumultuous memories of his own vampire beginnings in Revolutionary-era America. Readers familiar with Harkness's "All Souls Trilogy" (A Discovery of Witches; Shadow of Night; The Book of Life) will be delighted to catch up with Matthew Clairmont, the vampire who turned Marcus; Diana Bishop, scholar and witch, and their precocious twins. While this captivating book can stand alone, it can also serve as an excellent introduction to the All Souls universe featuring the Bishops and de Clermonts. VERDICT Harkness's worldbuilding skills are top notch, and this latest addition is destined to join her other works as a best seller. Not to be missed by historical fantasy fans. [See Prepub Alert, 3/12/18.]—Crystal Renfro, Kennesaw State Univ., Marietta, GA