The Book of Life

All Souls Trilogy, #3

One is tempted to believe that the author must have witch blood in her due to her remarkable ability to gather disparate threads and keep them from tangling while weaving such an intricate tapestry that spans three volumes and still leaves one satiated yet curious about what happens next. The intense and gut-wrenching crucibles that these characters undergo distill them into remarkable figures even as one marvels at the lasting footprints they have already established by their actions in previous times as detailed in the previous story.

I admit that I was a little frustrated by the second book in the series, “Shadow of Night”, while I read it, yet impressed by the author’s facility for blending supposition and fact and giving it the twist of events resulting from the machinations of vampires who definitely take the long view. One of my biggest irritants was addressed as this story opens, with tissue-requiring poignancy. The reader should be forewarned that “The Book of Life”, just like the previous volume, is filled with whiplash shifts between luxurious hedonistic and romantic experiences and horrific and tear-inspiring occurrences which will either break or strengthen those experiencing it. This story continues to evoke the vivid images that I have come to delight in from this author and I will share one of my favorites to describe an ultrasonogram: “...faces, crumpled in concentration as they did the hard work of becoming.” which also describes perfectly the journey of those who are outside of the womb. This is not a book for those who are squeamish or unwilling to take the time to enjoy the atmosphere evoked, nor for those who have other demands on their time, as it requires time and concentration to appreciate, especially since this is not a stand-alone story and would be best appreciated if all three volumes are read together due to the sheer number of characters who have roles to play. This is another outstanding tale from an erudite enchantress and I can only hope that there will be further tales set in this remarkable world.

“The Book of Life” by Deborah Harkness is a sweeping and mesmerizing conclusion to a bewitching fantasy trilogy that explores the relationships between witches, vampires, daemons and humans. The search for the hotly contested tome known as Ashmole 782 intensifies as Diana combines her discoveries from her trip to Medieval Europe with the results of research from her blended families. There are still plenty of pitfalls attached to the secrets that have been well-guarded over the centuries and plenty of horrific tests to overcome as Matthew and Diana attempt to juggle their obligations to themselves, their family...both blood and emotional, their races, and the world. The increase in their obligations is both embraced and feared but the ultimate question will be whether love can indeed conquer all.

Book Blurb for The Book of Life

The highly anticipated finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Discovery of Witches

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.

Originally released in hardback. Trade Paperback on 5/26/15.

Night Owl Reviews Jul, 2014 5.00