All Souls Trilogy - by Deborah Harkness

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Prof. Tarma Amelia Black
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All Souls Trilogy - by Deborah Harkness

Postby Prof. Tarma Amelia Black » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:59 am

I have just finished A Discovery of Witches - A Novel by Deborah Harkness

Since it is book 1 of a trilogy, and I'm planning on reading all three of them, I thought to make up just one topic for them. Each book, though, will receive its own write-up.

Title of the book: A Discovery of Witches - A Novel
Author: Deborah Harkness
Series: YES! All Souls Trilogy
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Fantasy/Paranormal, Mystery
Short summary of the story: Doctor Diana Bishop, tenured at Oxford, enjoys the old books she encounters in Oxford's Bodleian Library. She's needing to get her material together for a lecture which she presents in November, so requests many books on varied subjects. However, one book she requests (and receives for a brief time) leads to delving into her families past, her life right now and her inheritance as a witch in a family of witches which goes back centuries.

Well, there are vampires, and witches and daemons in this story, but they have a history and a 'how it all works' which is different from any I've ever encountered. I'm really not wanting to write anything in the way of spoilers for this so don't want to go into the backstory.

However, I can say that the author herself is a scholar. This is the 'About the Author' in the back of the book.
Deborah Harkness is a scholar and writer specializing in the history of science and medicine. She has received numerous awards, including Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships. Currently a professor of history at the University of Southern California, her most recent academic publication is The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution. This is her first novel.

Reading this book was very reminiscent of reading the novels of Dorothy L. Sayers. The Lord Peter Wimsey stories are a wonderful voyage of stories about people who are into the world of scholarship for the sake of scholarship, with memorable and well rounded characters (and excellently written mysteries). Ms. Harkness succeeds in writing about people who are 'real' in a world into which I wish I could step -- and linger.
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"You have the inborn natural right to remain silent. Don't think about it, don't talk about it, shuush ....... STILL." ~ Xaris

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Prof. Tarma Amelia Black
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Posts: 4672
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Re: All Souls Trilogy - by Deborah Harkness

Postby Prof. Tarma Amelia Black » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:23 am

Title of book: Shadow of Night
Author: Deborah Harkness

In book 1 of the series, A Discovery of Witches, we meet Doctor Diana Bishop, her aunts Emily and Sarah, geneticist Matthew Clairmont and a host of different people of different kinds. Shadow of Night takes us into a whole different world - almost literally- as they travel in time back to Elizabethean England. Being a historian isn't really much aid in helping Diana figure out how to fit in -- how to talk, walk, dress and, generally, blend in with the society in which she finds herself. Matthew, of course, has no difficulty with blending in, because he lived there, himself, in that time! Yes, though, it's true -- he has to avoid meeting himself.

Diana finds out who she is and what she is and learns how to use her innate powers. In the meantime, though, in addition to learning how to use her powers, they are continuing to look for the book, Ashmole 782.


Ms. Harkness has used her own knowledge of history to write a very convincing portrayal of life in the England of that time.

This book, for me, was not quite as enjoyable as the first one, but it still is part of a whole story which is very very good. I feel that the writer herself has a good story to tell; it's just that the time period of which she wrote is not a time I'd want to visit!
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"You have the inborn natural right to remain silent. Don't think about it, don't talk about it, shuush ....... STILL." ~ Xaris


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