When Deborah Harkness came in to sign The
Book of Life, talking with her inspired me to re-read the first two, to
read the completed trilogy as a whole. So I started with Discovery of
Witches, continued with Shadow of Night and finished up the trilogy four days after I started the whole
Man, are these good books!
For those who are already in love with the
“All Souls” books, Ms. Harkness fulfills the promise of the first two
books. Her resolutions to the various problems, including what Ashmole
782 really is and can do, and how it relates to Diana, is beautifully
complex, and is completely satisfying. She’s left herself openings to
continue in this world if she wants to, but if she doesn’t, that’s fine
too, although I hope she does come back to it, because I really love
For those who are unfamiliar with the
trilogy, Diana Bishop is a professor of history focusing on alchemy.
She’s also a witch, one who hates to use her magic and keeps track of
any infractions she indulges in. When she “calls” a dusty old book to
her for her research, Ashmole 782, Diana sets into motion events that
will change more than just her life.
You see, Ashmole 782 may very well be the
history of the origins – and possibly the ways to destroy – all the
witches, vampires and daemons roaming the earth. Each species wants it,
and will do anything to keep the others from finding it. However, Diana
teams up with Matthew, a vampire with a secret. She and Matthew
challenge the established order of things, and in doing so, find each
Deborah Harkness is herself a professor of
history, so her take on the creation of Ashmole 782 and the impact a
single book can have on whole populations. What happened to witches in
the past, and various historical events that highlighted the vampires’
lives is brilliantly depicted and elegantly woven. You know you can
trust the facts as well as her interpretation and spin on what happened.
Her writing is rich and lush, and she has built a world that is
completely believable and real.
But it’s her people who are at the heart of
the trilogy. All the beautiful background in the world wouldn’t matter
if you didn’t care about the people, and in the pages of these books.
You meet some amazing, troubled, determined, and memorable characters.
Even her secondary and tertiary characters are fully developed; they
I enjoyed re-reading the first two, and I
know without a doubt that I’ll re-read these time and time again. This
is, without a doubt, one of the best trilogies I’ve ever read.