The adventures of A Discovery of Witches's Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont continue in Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2), and while our beloved couple is operating in a new time and under new names, this story is laced with the same heady mix of history, epic love, and supernatural danger that made the first book so irresistible.
When last seen, Diana and Matthew , witch and vampire, respectively, had fallen in love and run afoul of a group of powerful witches, daemons, and vampires. Not only was Diana’s untapped power a source of urgent curiosity, but the relationship between Diana and Matthew violated a centuries-old covenant. All that, and Diana had unwittingly unleashed a mad search for an ancient, mythical book, a tome that was rumored to contain everything from ancient witches’ spells to the truth about the creation of all non-human creatures.
Shadow of Night picks up immediately after the last line of A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1), and I do mean immediately: “We arrived in an undignified heap of witch and vampire.” The question to ask, of course, isn’t where they went, but when. As Matthew carefully planned, he and Diana have sought refuge in London – in 1590.
Quickly, our intrepid quasi-lovers find that a fire is as dangerous as a frying pan. Perhaps Matthew neglected to remember that England in the sixteenth century wasn’t the safest place for a witch. Not only are Diana and Matthew drawing attention merely by being together, but rumors and accusations about witchcraft can land a single, unknown, mysterious lady in trouble. Suddenly their reasoning for choosing this moment in time as a hiding place – to find a magician skilled in the old ways to teach Diana her magic - seems preposterously miscalculated.
Shadow of Night is riddled with danger. Diana can’t trust anybody, least of all the witches living in England, who are terrified of persecution and reluctant to put themselves in a position where they might be questioned about their abilities. And there are Mathew’s friends, who comprise the elusive, infamous School of Night. Among them are Walter Raleigh, whose fame and position makes him a rival to Matthew in the “most stubborn” category, and the playwright Christopher Marlowe, a man whose blatant misogyny and romantic feelings for his vampire friend fuse into a scornful, unpredictable distrust of Diana. And here our gentle Dr. Bishop had been hoping for a heartfelt discussion of Dr. Faustus!
But perhaps the biggest threat to Diana’s happiness is Matthew himself. As their twentieth-century friend Hamish Osborne warned Diana so ominously at the end of A Discovery of Witches, Matthew is not the same man here as he was then. Diana knows the scientist. In sixteenth-century Europe, there is more to Matthew than DNA searches and unwieldy family connections. There are government machinations. There are the intracacies of the School of Night. And pulling all the strings is Matthew’s father, Phillippe, a man whose very presence puts Matthew’s personality and obligations in an entirely new context for Diana.
It’s not all doom and gloom here. Diana comes of age as a magician while falling deeply, giddily in love with a man who has a lifetime of secrets. Their connection is a palpable and bewitching as ever, and if that’s not enough to keep you riveted,SHADOW OF NIGHT is peppered with expertly-described details, historical characters who are so vibrantly drawn it’s sad to think that they’re long dead, and seductive glimpses into the present-day world Diana and Matthew left behind. The biggest mystery is set to simmer with the very first page: how will Diana and Matthew’s adventures in time affect the world they left behind? You’ll have to wait until the third and final book for the complete answer, but in the meantime you can revel in the joys of this complex, rewarding installment of the All Souls trilogy.
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