Friday, April 12, 2013

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness Review


Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened.

Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.

Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers...

Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew once more in this stunning, richly imagined, epic tale.

Shadow of Night starts at exactly the same point the A Discovery of Witches ended. With Diana Bishop and Matthew De Clarimont successfully time walking to Elizabethan England. Where things haven’t gone exactly to plan. Time-walking with Matthew has meant that his former self has disappeared, and so Matthew and Diana, must reenact his former life, as Elizabethan spy, member of the Shadow of Night and his commitments to his vampire family, otherwise who knows what world they would return too. As the reader already learns how their trip is affecting the lives of their family and important historical documents.

And lets not forget the original reason for such a journey, Diana needs to learn how to use her powers, and use them well, which will take her on a journey of self discovery, and then there is the need to find Ashmole 782.

There is a lot happening in this novel, and yet the story and plot is not overwhelming. It’s a long read, don’t get me wrong, but Harkness consistently presents the reader with a new development, a new twist, which just like A Discovery of Witches makes it very difficult to put down. Honestly, until you try to explain what is going on in the novel, you don’t actually realize how much is going on. Which may sound like a negative, but to me that’s one of the greatest things about this book, because that just proves that this world, is unquestionable, and the characters superb because you follow their journey through loyalty and genuine concern.

The characters too, will draw you in. Including such prolific historical characters, and giving them supernatural characters, was a brave step. But its flawless, you do actually believe that Christopher Marlow is a daemon, and you don’t question otherwise.

The only issue, which genuinely annoys me is the end…it leaves you begging for more, and while Deborah Harkness completes the story herself, I wait, impatiently…increasingly impatiently. To find out how the journey ends. But I guess that’s just another sign that this is a truly wonderful book.

You can purchase Shadow of Night at the following Retailers:


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