Tuesday 20 November 2012

Shadow of Night

Finished November 19
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

This is the second book in the series that began with A Discovery of Witches.
It takes up where that one left off. Diana and Matthew are now in 16th century England, landing in Matthew's home in Woodstock. They have travelled to have the time for Diana to develop her abilities and learn more about herself, away from the immediate threats to the couple in the 21st century. But there are threats to them in this time as well. Another purpose of their trip is to find Ashmole 782, the book Diana was able to call up once in the Bodleian but that has eluded them since. Their travels here take them back to Sept-Tours, to London, and to Prague. Diana is in danger from other creatures, and from powerful humans, and Matthew and his relations must work diligently to keep her safe.
Diana encounters more members of Matthew's family, and begins to make friends of her own. Some of these friends are those Matthew introduces her to, and some are ones she meets herself. Part of the purpose here is to learn more about her skills, and that means meeting witches who can help her and teach her. This is accomplished, and Diana learns the true nature of her witch abilities, the reason she has trouble learning spells, and the way to direct her skills to best effect. Most of the witches she meets are of the time, but she does encounter another time-walking witch that she spends time with.
The couple also find the trail to Ashmole 782, and learn more about this mysterious work, the cause of the missing pages, and some of its nature.
But their presence creates changes in history and Matthew's relatives in the present try to contain these effects as much as they can.
Using many real historical figures, Harkness brings history to life while also furthering the personal adventures of the couple. Meeting kings and queens, writers and thinkers, the two move in interesting circles.
This book will leave you eager for the next installment.

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