Tag Archives: sequel to A Discovery of Witches

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness Propels through Elizabethan Intrigue~Review and Giveaway!

If you didn’t read the best-selling A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness last summer, then you’ve missed out on one of the best adult books of this decade. I suggest you stop reading this for a minute and GO buy it immediately, then continue reading my blog for news of its sequel , Shadow of Night! Don’t forget to enter for a copy of this marvelous book featured below after the review.

Okay, so you’ve already read or quickly purchased A Discovery of Witches? Huzzah!  Because this week (July 10), its sequel Shadow of Night was released with much to-do in the press due to Harkness’ fast and furious fame last year.  Quite honestly, it’s fame this history professor turned author has earned. In a short time she’s made her mark on a literary world teeming with novels for young people (YA) that have full-fledged adults also running to every storefront and online bookstore and chatting up their friends.  

Harkness’ novels work for those of us who are mature adults by bring the same elements to us that YA novels illicit (magic, imagination, paranormal, excitement), but in..for lack of a better phrase…a more grown-up fashion. Her witch, vampire, and daemon characters are all extremely intellectual and thought-provoking and deal with real-life issues, whether it’s their budding romance or their centuries old enemies.  The romance is real-life, lasting marriage material, not just the usual teenage triangles.  The character development is exponentially deeper and more meaningful.  The stakes are even higher.

While A Discovery of Witches brought suspense, action and the dance of budding off-limits romance, Shadow of Night transports Diana (point-of-view character, witch and time walker) and Matthew (her boyfriend, vampire) literally through time to 1590 Elizabethan England on their continued quest to find the lost mysterious manuscript of Ashmole 782. They believe this ancient book holds the secrets to the origin of all their species.

As a reader, I was propelled to a time where alchemy experiments were a secret pleasure as new discoveries were being made by scientists all over 18th century England, while the Church of England regarded it as witchcraft and heresy creating a sense of fear for many. Harkness introduced at the beginning of the book, possibly in a tad slower fashion that some might not have liked depending on their tastes, each major intellectual and creative spirit of the day and weaved their contributions to society into her tale (I most certainly could tell she was a history professor that favored this time period of history as it was very well-done). Having a love for history myself, and an affinity for this time period, I enjoyed learning about each person of history through his fictional friendship with Matthew. I really enjoyed how she also fit Matthew into this circle of men and allowed us to view him as a potential contributor to history. 

The best part of the book for me was when they transported to Matthew’s home during the time when his father was still alive. As in Discovery of Witches when we grew to love his mother’s character, in Shadow of Night we meet his father and other family members.  I found myself having a more emotional attachment to Matthew as we listen along with Diana as she learns of the magnitude of Matthew’s true loss he had during his lifetime and how it haunts him.  Further questions from A Discovery of Witches were answered for me and the story line moved along as if I was on the journey with them. Harkness brings out her best fictional writing in this section as we are so emotionally invested in the book, wanting without ceasing to see through the quest that Diana and Matthew are embarking upon for truth.  Their struggles with each other, as well as family, are blanketed by both of their love for family and friends. I found myself falling in love with their characters even further.

The historical element in Shadow of Night is absolutely amazing, bringing into detail all the advancements in science and medicine of the time, as well as the struggle of alchemists and witches within society. It wasn’t as fast paced as A Discovery of Witches due to the amount of detail and readers should be prepared for the ride to slow down just a little.

The superb writing of Harkness intertwined with her knowledge base and character development, sold me on the book. I am already anxiously awaiting the next book in the All Souls Trilogy and recommend both A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night to anyone who loves history mixed with the supernatural. In fact, anyone who loves great fiction should read this series as it encompasses a little of it all~romance, suspense, supernatural, mystery, and history.

About Shadow of Night~From www.deborahharkness.com

A Discovery of Witches introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782. Drawn to one another despite longstanding taboos, and in pursuit of Diana’s spellbound powers, the two embark upon a time-walking journey.

Book Two of the All Souls Trilogy, called Shadow of Night, plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies and subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night. The mission is to locate a witch to tutor Diana and to find traces of Ashmole 782, but as the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them they embark on a very different journey, one that takes them into heart of the 1,500 year old vampire’s shadowed history and secrets. For Matthew Clairmont, time travel is no simple matter; nor is Diana’s search for the key to understanding her legacy.

Shadow of Night brings us a rich and splendid tapestry of alchemy, magic, and history, taking us through the loop of time to deliver a deepening love story, a tale of blood, passion, and the knotted strands of the past.

For an interview with author Deborah Harkness, click on my earlier blog HERE.

DRUM ROLL~GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FREE HARDBACK of Shadow of Night!!!!!!!

That’s right, Viking/Penguin is graciously giving away on my blog a gorgeous hardback of Shadow of Night , which you know retails for $28.95! Everyone interested in reading this book should enter and get a copy for their home library! You’ll also get a cool Ashmole 782 tattoo and six (6) sweet buttons with awesome period-related art.

All you have to do for one (1) entry is LEAVE A COMMENT below answering the question:

What interests you most about reading the All Souls Trilogy?

For an additional entries:

+1 for following my blog
+1 for following Deborah Harkness of Facebook

All entries will be assigned a number and one (1) will be randomly chosen. Entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on  07/22/12 and winner chosen on 07/23/12.

Author Deborah Harkness, Bio~From her Website, In her Words

I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and have lived in western Massachusetts, the Chicago area, Northern California, upstate New York, and Southern California. In other words, I’ve lived in three out of five time zones in the US! I’ve also lived in the United Kingdom in the cities of Oxford and London.

For the past twenty-eight years I’ve been a student and scholar of history, and received degrees from Mount Holyoke College, Northwestern University, and the University of California at Davis. During that time I researched the history of magic and science in Europe, especially during the period from 1500 to 1700. The libraries I’ve worked in include Oxford’s Bodleian Library, the All Souls College Library at Oxford, the British Library, London’s Guildhall Library, the Henry E. Huntington Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Newberry Library—proving that I know my way around a card catalogue or the computerized equivalent. These experiences have given me a deep and abiding love of libraries and a deep respect for librarians. Currently, I teach European history and the history of science at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

My previous books include two works of non-fiction: John Dee’s Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 1999) and The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution (Yale University Press, 2007).

My career in fiction began in September 2008 when I began to wonder “if there really are vampires, what do they do for a living?” A Discovery of Witches is the unexpected answer to that question. The book debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, and was also a bestseller in the UK, France, and Germany. Thirty-eight foreign editions and translations will be published.


I was sent a copy of Shadow of Night by Viking/Penguin in return for an honest review, which I provided. Thanks!


Filed under Book Reviews, Q and A with Authors

Interview with Shadow of Night Author Deborah Harkness~And This Week’s Giveaway!

I think the entire world is waiting *not very patiently* for the release of a certain book this week!! It’s all over the media. Without me even needing to type it I know YOU know it as Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, author of bestselling A Discovery of Witches (which is one of my fave books of all time!!).

I myself have been waiting *not very patiently* to review it as I read it a couple months ago, but was advised to hold my blog review until publishing date, which is tomorrow (Tues., July 10). My review will come later this week and I’ll have a copy of the BOOK to GIVEAWAY as well as a cool Ashmole 782 tattoo AND six awesome pins (buttons) with art from the book (see photos below).

AND, for anyone in Ohio wishing to see her in person, she’ll be at the Cuyahoga County Public Library/Berea Branch (http://www.cuyahogalibrary.org/EventDetail.aspx?EventInstanceID=70185) for a talk, Q &A, and book signing!! I believe this is her only Ohio stop, so be sure to mark your calendars. Bring your book for her to sign, I know I’m going to try! She has lots of other stops nationwide as well and she posts her events calendar every week on her Facebook page.

Book Jacket Promo~

The thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Discovery of Witches…

Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.

Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, 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.


While you’re waiting on my review, which is FAVORABLE since it held so much historical content from the Elizabethan Age (YES, I enjoyed the wealth of info in the book as well as the story line!!), here is the info on Shadow of Night and an interview with Deborah, put together by her publisher.


Q: A Discovery of Witches debuted at # 2 on the New York Times bestseller list with publications following in 37 countries.  What has been your reaction to the outpouring of love for A Discovery of Witches? Was it surprising how taken fans were with Diana and Matthew’s story?


A. It has been amazing—and a bit overwhelming. I was surprised by how quickly readers embraced two central characters who challenge our typical notion of what a heroine or hero should be. And I continue to be amazed whenever a new reader pops up, whether one in the US or somewhere like Finland or Japan—to tell me how much they enjoyed being caught up in Diana’s world.


Q:  Last summer, Warner Brothers acquired screen rights to the trilogy, and David Auburn, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer of Proof, has been tapped to pen the screenplay. Are you looking forward to your novels being portrayed on the big screen?  What are your favorite casting ideas that you’ve heard from friends and readers?


A. I was thrilled when Warner Brothers wanted to translate the All Souls trilogy from book to screen. At first I was reluctant about the whole idea of a movie, and it actually took me nearly two years to agree to let someone try. The team at Warner Brothers impressed me with their seriousness about the project and their commitment to the characters and story I was trying to tell. Their decision to go with David Auburn confirmed that my faith in them was not misplaced. As for the casting, I deliberately don’t say anything about that! I would hate for any actor or actress to be cast in one of these roles and feel that they didn’t have my total support. I will say, however, that many of my readers’ ideas involve actors who have already played a vampire and I would be very surprised if one of them were asked to be Matthew!


Q: SHADOW OF NIGHT opens on a scene in 1590s Elizabethan England featuring the famous School of Night, a group of historical figures believed to be friends, including Sir Walter Raleigh and playwright Christopher Marlowe.  Why did you choose to feature these individuals, and can we expect Diana and Matthew to meet other famous figures from the past?  


A. I wrote my master’s thesis on the imagery surrounding Elizabeth I during the last two decades of her reign. One of my main sources was the poem The Shadow of Night by George Chapman—a member of this circle of fascinating men—and that work is dedicated to a mysterious poet named Matthew Roydon about whom we know very little. When I was first thinking about how vampires moved in the world (and this was way back in the autumn of 2008 when I was just beginning A Discovery of Witches) I remembered Roydon and thought “that is the kind of identity a vampire would have, surrounded by interesting people but not the center of the action.” From that moment on I knew the second part of Diana and Matthew’s story would take place among theSchool ofNight. And from a character standpoint, Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlowe, George Chapman, and the other men associated with the group are irresistible. They were such significant, colorful presences in Elizabethan England.


Q: In SHADOW OF NIGHT, we learn more about the alchemical bonds between Diana and Matthew.   In your day job, you are a professor of history and science at the University of Southern California and have focused on alchemy in your research.  What aspects of this intersection between science and magic do you hope readers will pick up on while reading SHADOW OF NIGHT?


A. Whereas A Discovery of Witches focused on the literature and symbolism of alchemy, in Shadow of Night I’m able to explore some of the hands-on aspects of this ancient tradition. There is still plenty of symbolism for Diana to think about, but in this volume we go from abstractions and ideals to real transformation and change—which was always my intention with the series. Just as we get to know more about how Elizabethan men and women undertook alchemical experiments, we also get to see Matthew and Diana’s relationship undergo the metamorphosis from new love to something more.


Q: SHADOW OF NIGHT spans the globe, with London, France, and Prague as some of the locales. Did you travel to these destinations for your research? 


A. I did. My historical research has been based in London for some time now, so I’ve spent long stretches of time living in the City of London—the oldest part of the metropolis—but I had never been to the Auvergne or Prague. I visited both places while writing the book, and in both cases it was a bit like traveling in time to walk village lanes, old pilgrim roads, and twisting city streets while imagining Diana and Matthew at my side.


Q: Did you have an idea or an outline for SHADOW OF NIGHT when you were writing A Discovery of Witches?  Did the direction change once you sat down to write it?


A. I didn’t outline either book in the traditional sense. In both cases I knew what some of the high points were and how the plot moved towards the conclusion, but there were some significant changes during the revision process. This was especially true for SHADOW OF NIGHT, although most of those changes involved moving specific pieces of the plot forward or back to improve the momentum and flow.


Q: A Discovery of Witches begins with Diana Bishop stumbling across a lost, enchanted manuscript called Ashmole 782 in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, whose secrets Diana and Matthew are still trying to uncover in SHADOW OF NIGHT. You had a similar experience while you were completing your dissertation.  What was the story behind your discovery?  And how did it inspire the creation of these novels?


A. I did discover a manuscript—not an enchanted one, alas—in the Bodleian Library. It was a manuscript owned by Queen Elizabeth’s astrologer, the mathematician and alchemist John Dee. In the 1570s and 1580s he became interested in using a crystal ball to talk to angels. The angels gave him all kinds of instructions on how to manage his life at home, his work—they even told him to pack up his family and belongings and go to far-away Poland and Prague. In the conversations,Deeasked the angels about a mysterious book in his library called “the Book of Soyga” or “Aldaraia.” No one had ever been able to find it, even though many ofDee’s other books survive in libraries throughout the world. In the summer of 1994 I was spending time inOxfordbetween finishing my doctorate and starting my first job. It was a wonderfully creative time, since I had no deadlines to worry about and my dissertation onDee’s angel conversations was complete. As with most discoveries, this discovery of a “lost” manuscript was entirely accidental. I was looking for something else in the Bodleian’s catalogue and in the upper corner of the page was a reference to a book called “Aldaraia.” I knew it couldn’t beDee’s book, but I called it up anyway. And it turned out it WAS the book (or at least a copy of it). With the help of the Bodleian’s Keeper of Rare Books, I located another copy in the British Library.


Q: Are there other lost books like this in the world?


A. Absolutely! Entire books have been written about famous lost volumes—including works by Plato, Aristotle, and Shakespeare to name just a few. Libraries are full of such treasures, some of them unrecognized and others simply misfiled or mislabeled. And we find lost books outside of libraries, too. In January 2006, a completely unknown manuscript belonging to one of the 17th century’s most prominent scientists, Robert Hooke, was discovered when someone was having the contents of their house valued for auction. The manuscript included minutes of early Royal Society meetings that we presumed were lost forever.


Q: Unlike Twilight’s Bella and Edward—hormonal teenagers who meet in the halls of a high school—your leading characters Matthew and Diana are established academics who meet in the library of one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world.  This is a world where vampires and witches drink wine together, practice yoga and discuss philosophy.   Are these characters based on something you found missing in the fantasy genre?


A. There are a lot of adults reading young adult books, and for good reason. Authors who specialize in the young adult market are writing original, compelling stories that can make even the most cynical grownups believe in magic. In writing A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, I wanted to give adult readers a world no less magical, no less surprising and delightful, but one that included grown-up concerns and activities. These are not your children’s vampires and witches.

Thank you Deborah for your writing and being so personable with your fans.

Readers:  STOP BACK BY MY BLOG THIS WEEK FOR THE REVIEW AND CHANCE TO WIN THE BOOK AND LOOT!!  You really don’t want to miss out on this one!!


Filed under Q and A with Authors