After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.
With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.
“Weaving an extraordinarily rich story of magic and science, history and fiction, passion and power, secrets and truths, Harkness delivers an unforgettable and spellbinding finale that’s not to be missed.” —USA Today
“Juicy and action-packed . . . Even at 561 pages, this is one hardcover no one will mind lugging to the beach.”
“Pure escapist summer fun.”
—Jodi Picoult, Parade
“The epic and erudite vampire-witch romance comes to a thoroughly satisfying conclusion in the action-packed All Souls trilogy ender.”
“A stirring, poignant saga.”
“The charm in Deborah Harkness’s wildly successful All Souls trilogy lies not merely in the spells that its creature characters cast as they lurk pretty much in plain sight of humans, but in the adroit way Harkness has insinuated her world of demons, witches, and vampires into ours. . . . From the novel’s poignant opening, Harkness casts her own indelible spell of enchantment, heartbreak, and resilience. . . . She is terrific at bringing her magic world to life, maintaining a fast-paced, page-turning narrative.”
—The Boston Globe
“This trilogy is a superlative example in a subgenre you could call realistic fantasy—think Harry Potter but for grown-ups or Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Witches, vampires, and daemons exist, along with time travel. But this world also is recognizably ours, not a wholly made-up setting like George R.R. Martin’s Westeros. When done well, as it is here, this sort of fiction provides characters who are recognizably human in their desires and actions even if most of them are creatures with supernatural powers. Through them Harkness succeeds at the hardest part of writing fantasy: She makes this world so real that you believe it exists—or at the very least that you wish that it did.”
“Harkness has immersed and spellbound readers with her alternative universe. . . . Her ambitious melding of scientific and historical detail is inventive and brings surprising depth. . . . The Book of Life brims with sensuality, intrigue, violence and much-welcome humor.”
—Los Angeles Times
“There is no shortage of action in this sprawling sequel, and nearly every chapter brings a wrinkle to the tale. The storytelling is lively and energetic, and Diana remains an appealing heroine even as her life becomes ever more extraordinary. A delightful wrap-up to the trilogy.”
“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. By bridging the gaps between Harry Potter, Twilight, and Outlander fans, Harkness artfully appeals to a broad range of fantasy lovers.”
“The witch Diana’s and the vampire Matthew’s quests to discover their origins and confront the threats to their star-crossed union tie up as neatly as one of Diana’s magical weaver’s knots. . . . It’s still satisfying to travel with these characters toward their more-than-well-earned happy ending.”
“The adventure never lets up. . . . History, science, and the unpredictable actions of paranormal characters with hidden agendas all swirl together to create a not-to-be-missed finale to a stellar series.”
It’s a wonderful moment to bring the All Souls Trilogy to its finale with The Book of Life. It all began with A Discovery of Witches, and in the third volume you, too, will find out what the witches discovered all those centuries ago.
Many people ask me why a professor would turn to fiction. I’m not sure I can answer that question—it’s still a mysterious process for me!—but I can tell you that in many ways the All Souls Trilogy is an extension of the work I do in the classroom. I’m a scholar of magic and science between 1400 and 1700, so I’ve spent the best part of thirty years trying to figure out the relationship between the two and how a belief that witches were your next door neighbors could exist at the same time that Galileo was peering through his telescope and Newton was developing calculus.
Readers of the trilogy know that magic and science happily co-exist in the All Souls universe, just as they did in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Matthew Clairmont, my 1500-year-old vampire, is a prominent microbiologist and geneticist. Diana Bishop, though a witch, is fascinated by the Scientific Revolution because she thinks (perhaps incorrectly) that this is the moment when science made the magic go away. Alchemical texts and modern laboratories both provide important clues into the mystery of the missing Bodleian Library manuscript Ashmole 782.
But there are even deeper ways that science influenced magic in the books. When Diana and Matthew do a bit of magical “timewalking” in the second volume of the trilogy, Shadow of Night, they do so within the parameters of the multiverse theory of quantum mechanics. And Diana’s magical abilities as a weaver were shaped by my fascination with topology—a kind of mathematics of transmutation—and her unbreakable “weaver’s knots” bear a strong resemblance to the Möbius bands familiar to mathematics students.
As a historian I know that science and magic have always had a close relationship. I wanted my imaginary world to reflect that synergy. Hopefully readers will come away with a renewed sense of the magic still present in the world, as well as an interest in the ways that modern science is always stretching the limits of what is known and what is possible.
I hope you enjoy the final chapters in the All Souls Trilogy.