Tuesday, September 04, 2012

I finally finished reading a book...

I finally finished reading a book.

This was a big problem, apparently, in August. Didn't finish reading one book all month. Started a few. Rejected a few. A couple had to go back to the library, even though I wanted to finish them. I had other things to do. It was kind of a weird month.

But...then came Shadow of Night (2012, Viking; 584 pages), by Deborah Harkness.

I'd been waiting for this book to come out for awhile...ever since I read the first book in the trilogy, A Discovery of Witches. It was one of those books that I powered through because it was so good. Then, I got to the end and...cliffhanger. It didn't take me very long to find out when the sequel was scheduled to be published. Fortunately, it was only a few months. Because, you know, I wanted to know what happened next to Diana and Matthew. When we left them at the end of the first book, they had just dropped from the present day into Elizabethan London.

Shadow of Night picks up right where A Discovery of Witches leaves off, and follows Diana, a reluctant witch, and Matthew, a vampire, who have fallen in love and married, as they return to his ancestral home in France, go back to England, visit Prague and the lecherous Rudolf II, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, who wants to possess Diana, and then back to London, all in search of the alchemical text that Diana discovered in the Bodleian Library at Oxford before it disappeared back into the stacks, and which it seems the whole world of creatures - witches, vampires, and daemons - want to get their hands on. Danger and intrigue seem to follow the couple wherever they go.

I really don't want to say any more about what happens as the plot unfolds; suffice it to say that a lot happens, and if you read it you will laugh, you will cry, and you will not want the story to end. Or, anyway, those were my reactions as I read. And I will warn you - there is no word yet on when the third book in the trilogy will be forthcoming. But if you are a fan of historical fiction, or of historical romance, don't put off reading the first two books in the trilogy. They really are a treat, romance for those who don't usually read romance novels (that would be me), with history that has been researched by an expert - Ms. Harkness is a professor of history at the University of Southern California.

Really. Go read Shadow of Night and, if you haven't already, A Discovery of Witches. The writing is wonderful, the story involving, and the cast of characters - a few of which you will recognize from history - fascinating.

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