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.
In the final installment of the All Souls Trilogy, time weaver witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return from the past to find the missing pages of Ashmole 782 once and for all. The book has been out of reach since Diana first discovered it in A Discovery of Witches. The book is not only the key to finding the cure for the blood rage that affects Matthew and his kin, but also the origins of the daemons, witches, and vampires.
Diana has learned much more about her abilities thanks to some historical figures from the past. She's become more comfortable in her own skin, as it were, after years of denying her powers and abilities, and being spellbound by her parents. She's come back from the past not only married and pregnant, but having been blood vowed by Philippe de Clermont, the patriarch of the Clermont family. This makes Diana a force to be reckoned with. Diana even brought back her own familiar in Cora, the fire drake, as well as some interesting new tattoos on her back and fingers.
Unfortunately, not everything is smooth as water on a calm day. One of their own falls, and if you didn't know already that Diana and Matthew have many enemies, this drives the point home in an emotional way. One of Matthew's mistakes comes back to haunt the couple, Peter Knox just won't stop haunting Diana and her family, and it begins a slow burn rush to find and destroy their enemies before anyone else dies. This is the book that wraps up everything, albeit in a slow, and methodical pace. There are a whole lot of issues that remain on the table, and each one needs to be addressed before anyone can have a happy future.
Will the Congregation (governing board that oversees daemon, vampire and witch activities and relationships) stop Diana and Matthews rush to find Ashmole? Will Matthew and Diana be sanctioned because of their relationship which was supposedly banned by the covenant? Will Diana's nemesis Peter Knox finally pay the price for his previous actions against her and her family? With Diana pregnant, what will be the future for children, as well as her longevity in a house filled with daemons, vampires, and witches? What makes Diana and Matthew different from other witches and vampires? Finally, who will end up with the Book of Life and what will it mean for that persons future?
The Book of Life travels to several different places across Europe and the United States. From Matthew’s ancestral home of Sept-Tours in France, to Madison, New York, to Yale University in Connecticut, to London, England, as well as Venice, Italy the home to the Congregation, and Poland. There is a significant cast of characters in this series, and it grows even larger in the The Book of Life with the revelation of who is on the Congregation, and the appearance of the witches coven of London who help Diana find the missing pages of Ashmole.
I would say that if you haven't read the first books in a while, to go back and refresh your memories. I say this because not knowing who is whom, takes away from the enjoyment of the series itself. I would also say that unless you are a speed reader who can remember everything they've read, to set aside time to read this book. At nearly 600 pages, there is a whole lot of information to take in.
My favorite secondary characters in The Book of Life were Diana's best friend, Christopher Roberts (a researcher and professor at Yale), Marcus (Matthew's "son" who leads the Knights of Lazarus), Phoebe Taylor, Marcus's fiance who grew on me like moss on a rolling stone with her plethora of information she has at her hands. Miriam (Matthew's vampire co-worker) who is just the right kind of snark and awesome. Then there is Gallowglass (Matthew's vampire nephew) who had his heart broken by Diana's affections towards Matthew.
The All Souls Trilogy has been about power and who controls it, family and responsibilities to it, past deeds and their present consequences, love and how far a person would go to protect the one they love. Diana and Matthew use ancient knowledge and modern science to slowly reveal the secrets that readers have been hoping for since first reading A Discovery of Witches.
Author - Deborah Harkness
Title - The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy # 3)
Published by Penguin/Viking Adult
Released - July 15, 2014
Genre -Historical, Paranormal, Romance
Format - Ebook 576 pages