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Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night (2012)

by Deborah Harkness

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: All Souls (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,4161882,570 (3.93)129
  1. 101
    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (virtualval2001)
    virtualval2001: 1st installment of All Souls Trilogy
  2. 102
    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (becksdakex)
    becksdakex: Time travel, Romance, Historical....

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Shadow of Night
4 Stars

The adventures of Matthew Clairmont, a centuries old vampire, and Diana Bishop, a powerful witch with unruly powers, continue as the two travel back in time to the 16th century to locate the mysterious Medieval manuscript, Ashmole 782, and find themselves enmeshed in the political and personal intrigues of the time.

Series note: Shadow of Night begins immediately where A Discovery of Witches left off, and as such the trilogy must be read in order otherwise important points will be missed.

Despite its length and the need for some intense editing (the historical detail is quite excessive at times), Shadow of Night is an incredible mix of history, science and romance that, together with the elaborate description, fantastic imagery and fascinating symbolism, make for a compelling sequel.

As in the first book, the world building is immersive as Diana and Matthew arrive in Elizabethan London and must cope not only with the realties of life at a time when witches and other creatures were feared and persecuted, but also with the difficulties posed by Diana’s unstable powers and the ghosts of Matthew’s past, which threaten their fragile romance.

As the tale progresses, however, Diana and Matthew’s relationship goes from strength to strength as the two learn more about each other. The true nature of Diana’s powers are ultimately revealed and she grows more confident with her abilities while Matthew comes to realize that his fearless and stubborn spouse is a force to be reckoned with. The secrets of Matthew’s past lives are also revealed and he must lay his ghosts to rest if he and Diana are to return to the present and face the travails there together.

The secondary cast is a who’s who list of historical figures whose personalities are an amazing amalgam of fact and fiction adding another layer of realism and authenticity to the supernatural storyline (many thanks to the Wikipedia for providing essential background reading). There are also glimpses at the effects of Diana and Matthew’s excursion on the present and I look forward to seeing whether there will be any significant consequences in the third and final installment.

In terms of the time travel component, the paradoxes inherent to this genre can be exceedingly problematic and often ruin a story, but Harkness handles it all with a deft hand and everything comes together cohesively by the end.

All in all, The All Souls trilogy is shaping into an original and unique reading experience that is well worth the effort for fans of both historical fiction, urban fantasy and paranormal romance. ( )
  Lauren2013 | Nov 19, 2016 |
Witches! Vampires! Demons! This story has it all. At times it seems *too pat - is there anyone in Elizabeth's England that Matthew doesn't know? But the writing and historical details rescue it, andmake it compelling. Alchemy and intrigue. And oh yeah, Kit Marlowe. ( )
  cookierooks | Nov 16, 2016 |
I want to say, I pity anyone that read this book prior to the 3rd book being out. Even though I was up until 2am finishing this one, I had to force myself to go to sleep and not start the 3rd book. I think this one was even better than the first. ( )
  mamaove | Nov 13, 2016 |
In a trilogy, I tend not to like the second book - it always seems a bit dull compared to the first and the third. In contrast, I found this book to be excellent - just as good as the first book. Lots of drama, enough action, and the author's ability to have me completely lost in the story is something I just love. Once again, I felt like I was watching the story in my head as I was reading it on the page.

Shadow of Night takes place primarily in 1591, but the author doesn't get bogged down in too much historical detail - or at least, the historical detail is woven seamlessly into the story itself. Most of the detail is in passing observations made by Diana, so it's easy for non-history lovers to take in. I loved the Libri Personæ at the back of the book, detailing the characters, and noting which ones were known to actually exist at the time. I think it makes the fiction that much more fun to read when notable figures in history are interwoven into the story.

There are a couple of plot lines that run through the book, and there were a few times it felt like one or the other might be getting a bit lost. Most of the questions raised in the book are answered by the end, with one or two hanging out there to be answered in the third book. But what I really appreciated was this book felt like it ended - no gigantic cliff-hangers. There are upcoming events and confrontations that you know will appear in the third book; major events that need to be explained, but Shadow of Night, I think, has enough of an ending that early readers like myself won't get too irritated with having to wait another year/18 months for the final book. I was able to close the book at the end with a sense of satisfaction, not frustration.

NB: I loved the last chapter - it made me smile. ( )
  murderbydeath | Oct 26, 2016 |
Fun follow up to Discovery of Witches. I particularly liked that Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlow, Willie Shakespeare, and other real characters of 1591 were contemporary characters in this travel back in time story. The complexity and historic accuracy of Harkness' story are amazing. ( )
  asawyer | Sep 9, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Deborah Harknessprimary authorall editionscalculated
Belanger, FrancescaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goretsky, TalCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ikeda, JenniferNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Important events
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The past cannot be cured.
~ Elizazbeth I
Queen of England
To Lacey Baldwin Smith,
master storyteller and historian,
who suggested some time ago that I should think about writing a novel.
First words
We arrived in an undignified heap of witch and vampire.
You're impossible. Stop worrying what other women do. Be your own extraordinary self.
All that Children have need of is love, a grown-up to take responsibility for them, & a soft place to land.
~ Matthew Roydon
It was as Matthew said, Chidren needed love, a reliable source of comfort and an adult willing to take responsiblity for them.
~ Diana Roydon
One should find wholeness in marriage, but it should not be a prison for either party.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
"Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown."

A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy, introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.

Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches' cliff-hanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew's old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.

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A follow-up to the best-selling A Discovery of Witches finds Oxford scholar and reluctant witch Diana and vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont in Elizabethan London, where Diana seeks a magical tutor and Matthew confronts elements from his past at the same time the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.… (more)

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