Monday, January 28, 2013

(5) Shadow of Night

Title: Shadow of Night: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Viking Adult
592 pages
Genre: fiction

Synopsis:  The second book in the All Souls Trilogy - 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.

Review: A trip through the past.  When Diana and Matthew go back in time to try to locate Ashmole 782 they get more than they bargained for.  Its hard not to change the future when you spend too much time in the past, but they are doing their best to not cause too many disturbances and ripples.  Luckily you don't have to wait until book 3 to find out what some of those ripples are.  Throughout the book there are short chapters that show snippets about how Diana and Matthew's action are changing the future.

Not only do their actions change the present but entering the past is hard enough but when you travel back to a time when witches are being imprisoned and burned, and you are a witch without control of your powers life can be difficult.  Trying to locate a witch to help you tame those powers is even harder when everyone is suspicious. Matthew has his own demons to fight, when he comes face to face with his dead father who death haunts him in the present.

Despite these trials their main goal is to try to find the book Ashmole 782.  Through a long and winding path through history the courts of London and Amsterdam, they finally locate the book. While I loved the history lesson I think the path to the main goal was a little too long and winding.  The historical descriptions were breathtaking but I could have used a little less of the dressing lessons or how to run a 16th century household and a little more magic, weaving and discovery.

The discovery of the book opens many more questions than it answers and I'm assuming that the 3rd book will address them but in the meantime you are left with more questions.  Are the missing pages still missing? Do they know who has them in the present? Can they solve the mystery of the book before the Covenant finds them?

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