Deborah Harkness, author of the All Souls Trilogy that includes A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and now The Book of Life, certainly knows how to bring to a close this wholly satisfying series. Readers re-engage with pagan witch and accomplished time traveler Diana Bishop and her dangerous husband, vampire Matthew Clairmont. To start the tension, we find out that Diana is pregnant with her husband’s children, an event that is expressly forbidden by the Congregation, a political body made up of vampires, witches and daemons that oversee the actions and behaviors of the supernatural citizens of the world. Harkness continues to increase the conflict through the 564 pages of this well written and exciting novel, until the reader is left gasping for breath at the numerous ways in which closure is brought to the story.
It’s the sign of a great writer when they’re able to end a story in a way that leaves us thinking, That makes sense. That is the only way this could have ended. No leftover, dangling plotlines, no wishing for greater retribution for the numerous antagonists….just satisfaction.
Here’s the summary:
Dedicated scholar, reluctant witch, and seasoned time traveler Diana Bishop returns to wrap up the wildly popular All Souls trilogy. After a supernatural “meet-cute” in A Discovery of Witches, and a time-traveling adventure in Shadow of Night, Diana and vampire/scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present, continuing their pursuit of magical alchemical manuscript Ashmole 782, aka The Book of Life; but before the secrets contained within the manuscript are revealed, Diana and Matthew must navigate the peculiarities of their essentially forbidden union. As the stakes grow increasingly higher, they prepare for a showdown in the demon world that could have direct—and possibly dire—consequences for their own families. 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.
In having been dissatisfied with the most recent Anne Rice offering, Prince Lestat, I was looking for a good, meaty supernatural story to dive into. The Book of Life was well worth every page. The trilogy depends deeply on the previous books, so if this sounds like something you’d enjoy, start at the beginning. A Discovery of Witches, book one, has already been optioned for the big screen.