- About the Book
The #1 New York Times bestselling series finale and sequel to A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night. Look for the hit TV series “A Discovery of Witches” airing Sundays on AMC and BBC America, and streaming on Sundance Now and Shudder. 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. With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.
Harkness's overly complicated plot scuppers some of the suspense in The Book of Life, which suffers from the narrative fatigue that plagues so many massive, multi-volume supernatural family sagas (cf. Anne Rice). And can we please have a moratorium on vampire-non-vampire romances?... Where Harkness excels is with her charmingly offbeat details of witches and witchcraft, especially whenever Diana and her Aunt Sarah take center stage. At their best, these scenes can stand beside J.K Rowling's depictions of life at Hogwarts.... Some readers may miss the marvelously evoked 16th-century setting of Shadow of Night, but The Book of Life picks up its pace in the last hundred or so pages, when the eponymous manuscript finally makes its appearance in unexpected ways.... While this volume may mark the end of the All Souls trilogy, its immortal characters seem disposed to live on and on as well.
The third book's the charm for Deborah Harkness' witchy All Souls Trilogy.... Thankfully, Harkness tells a compelling, imaginative tale that wraps up the major plot elements of the series in a believable but surprising ending.... This is not a perfect book. I would have liked to see a bit more resolution for some of the minor characters, who just seem to drift off at the end of the story. I also find the narration a bit jarring at times... But these are minor quibbles. The Book of Life delivers action, romance and an imaginative take on an alternative world. Harkness builds her story on strong universal and modern themes.
—Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram
—Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram
Told in 12 parts anchored by astrological quotations from a commonplace book Diana kept while an Elizabethan housewife in "Shadow of Night," "The Book of Life" brims with sensuality, intrigue, violence and much-welcome humor... Sure, characters occasionally fail to acknowledge each other despite interactions in previous novels, and the date of an infamous attempt to steal the British crown jewels is off by a few hundred years. Devoted fans will scarcely notice, absorbed by Diana's and Matthew's battles to win freedom for their unconventional family and Harkness' skillful mingling of fictional and historical figures... "The Book of Life," like its predecessors, is ultimately grounded in the abiding love of two creatures the world tries to keep apart, as blacks were segregated from whites or Jews from Christians in world history...
—Los Angeles Times
—Los Angeles Times
The Book of Life provides a satisfying finish to the series, answering questions about the significance of that mysterious manuscript and whether Diana and Matthew can be together.... When done well, as it is here, this sort of fiction provides characters who are recognizably human in their desires and actions even if most of them are creatures with supernatural powers. Through them Harkness succeeds at the hardest part of writing fantasy: She makes this world so real that you believe it exists � or at the very least that you wish that it did.
With THE BOOK OF LIFE, we come to know Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont even better and get the chance to watch their relationship evolve in the face of every danger possible. While I'm happy that the story has come to a satisfying end, I'm also a bit sad because I've enjoyed it so much.... I'm a character person, so give me fascinating people with problems --- the weirder the better, and the happier I am as a reader. In THE BOOK OF LIFE, there are some very good characters to keep you entertained.... Start at the beginning with A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, move on to SHADOW OF NIGHT, and find a comfortable place to sit because you'll most likely be there a while before you hit this concluding volume. Don't worry, though. There's a lot to enjoy.