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Shadow of Night: All Souls Trilogy    by Deborah Harkness Amazon.com order for
Shadow of Night
by Deborah Harkness
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Many middle books in a trilogy suffer a lag in storyline as the exciting first installment is over but the thrilling conclusion is not yet reached. This is by no means the case with Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness's All Souls trilogy, which picks up immediately where A Discovery of Witches left off.

On the hunt for the mysterious Ashmole 782 and the alchemical secrets it contains concerning the origins of creatures, the newly married Diana Bishop and Matthew de Cleremont travel back in time to the late sixteenth century where Matthew was a member of the elusive and exclusive School of Night. Diana might have escaped the creatures who were hunting her in the twenty-first century, but the Elizabethan period is rife with witch hunts. And it does not help that another School of Night member, Kit Marlowe (who is also a daemon) wants nothing to do with a witch like Diana. But luckily, the other members are more than willing.

However, before they can start their search, Matthew is requested to bring his new bride to Sept-Tours, his ancestral home, to meet his father. Diana passes Philippe's tests, but there are bigger obstacles in store namely learning how to control and focus her magic in order to get herself and Matthew back to their own time ... if they ever find Ashmole 782.

From the first paragraph, the story is off and running. As we know the characters from the first book, and history is also well-known, Harkness is able to focus her writing entirely on plot, and not once does the story lag. Harkness is really in her element in the 1590s and easily transports modern readers back in time while keeping everything appropriate for the period. This historical aspect gives Shadow of Night an extra layer that A Discovery of Witches did not possess, helping to make the second book even better than the first.

If you have not already read A Discovery of Witches, you must do so before reading Shadow of Night as it is a strict continuation. With this second book in the All Souls trilogy, Deborah Harkness is coming into her powers just as surely as Diana is.

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