Shadow of Night

Deborah Harkness. Viking, $28.95 (592p) ISBN 978-0-670-02348-6
Propelled by her successful fiction debut, A Discovery of Witches, historian Harkness concocts an energetic if chaotic sequel filled with witches, daemons, vampires, wearhs, weavers, and warm-bloods (aka humans) racing to retrieve a lost manuscript that details the origins of supernatural species, which, in the wrong hands, could hasten their extinction. The first novel culminated in the mixed marriage of vampire/scientist Matthew de Clermont to historian/untrained witch Diana Bishop. This novel opens with the newlyweds time-traveling to Elizabethan England so Diana can study witchcraft; never mind they’re burning witches in Scotland or that in London an educated American woman doesn’t exactly blend in. There, they hope to retrieve magical manuscript Ashmole 782, last seen in Oxford’s 21st-century Bodleian library. Diana gets in touch with her inner firedrake, Matthew with his father, but they can’t find a tutor for ages, and they can’t rescue the manuscript without a trip to Prague. Supporting Diana and Matthew in their quest is a secret society that includes dashing Walter Raleigh and dangerous daemon Christopher Marlowe. Harkness delights in lining up the living dead and modern academic history, as in her explanation of how a forger named Shakespeare, with supernatural prompting, takes up playwriting. This tale of a feminist Yankee in Queen Elizabeth’s court charms amid the tumult, as the gifted heroine and her groom fight for generations and another sequel to come in order to protect the magical world that’s all around us. Agent: Sam Stoloff. (July 10)
Reviewed on: 05/21/2012
Release date: 07/10/2012
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Hardcover - 978-0-7553-8473-0
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