Deborah Harkness is a history scholar who took it upon herself to write a book of popular fiction. The result was the first book in the All Souls trilogy, A Discovery of Witches. The heroine, Diana Bishop, is an academic like the author but comes from a family of witches, a heritage that she tries to deny. However, when she discovers an ancient manuscript in Oxford's Bodleian library, she is besieged by witches, vampires and daemons. The alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, which has been hidden for so long, might explain many things in the past and the future and everyone wants to get their hands on it, including vampire Matthew Clairmont with whom Diana ends up having a forbidden romance.
In book two of the series, Shadow of Night, Harkness once again thrills us with her knowledge of the past. She takes the two main characters back to Elizabethan times where they meet many important personages including playwright Christopher Marlowe and the queen's right hand man, Sir Walter Raleigh. Eventually, they even bump into Shakespeare who is depicted as a scrounger running after Marlowe looking for ideas to write about.
By going back into the past, Diana seeks to find someone who will help her control and use her powers as a witch. She and Matthew are also looking for the complete manuscript of Ashmole 782 in hopes that it may explain why vampires have become a dying species. But before they set about on their quest, they must first get used to being thrust into a different century. Diana can't help noting the difference between her and other women at the time. She speaks with an out of place American accent and is thinner than women in the late 16th century. With Matthew, the problem arises because, being a vampire, he has lived through this time period at a younger age and is constantly tempted to change the things he has done without altering the course of history altogether. Finally, Diana discovers what differentiates her from other witches—the fact that she can create spells instead of just casting them. Diana and Matthew also travel to the Holy Roman Emperor's court in Prague where Ashmole 782 is hidden.
Harkness has done a great job mixing the supernatural element with historical facts and it's amusing to see her take on historically great people. Although her books have been compared to the Twilight series and the Harry Potter books, Harkness says that she was not influenced by any of these. Instead, her depictions of the supernatural owe a great deal to Anne Rice whose fiction she devoured in the 80's.
Deborah Harkness grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia but went on to live in various parts of the U.S., finally settling in southern California. She also spent time abroad, in Oxford and London, which gave her the background she needed for the setting of her novels. She studied history at Mount Holyoke, Northwestern University and the University of California at Davis. She now teaches European History and the History of Science at the University of Southern California. She is also a wine connoisseur whose blog, Good Wine Under $20, has been favorably reviewed by Saveur.com and various wine and food magazines. Additionally her novels have both made it onto the New York Times bestseller list.
Download Shadow of Night from The Audio Bookstore for the perfect blend of historical accuracy and fantasy. This an audio book that has something for everyone—the history aficionado, the romantic, the fantasy geek and the adventure seeker.
“Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown.”
Here is the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Discovery of Witches.
Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, book one of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel 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’ cliffhanger 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.
Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries.
Download and start listening now!