In the second novel of Harkness’ All Souls trilogy, we find Diana and Matthew have travelled all the way back to 1591. During the time of Elizabeth Tudor, Diana meets the likes of playwright Kit Marlow, Henry Percy, and Queen Elizabeth herself. As Diana and Matthew search for a witch to help train Diana, they find themselves drawn back to France where Matthew must see his father, Philipe, whom he watched day back in his present day life.
Throughout the novel, Diana and Matthew officially marry with the approval of Philipe and have to find a way to trust each other as they both realize the other isn’t being fully honest. As this is going on, witches are being hunted and killed all over Europe which makes it a dangerous time for Diana to find a coven willing to help her find what her true powers are. When she does, she befriends a group of women who help her hone her craft as well as become close friends.
Matthew and Diana find a lead to Ashmole 72, the book that set the whole trilogy in motion, and it leads them to Prague. Their mission is dangerous, and nearly gets them killed but they are able to find the book and view its secrets before heading back to England.
It isn’t until Diana meets her own father, who also is a time walker, in 1591 England that she and Matthew realize that it is time to head home.
I found this second novel in this trilogy to be an entertaining read, even if it is a little long winded. It is chuck full of historical detail, which isn’t surprising since Deborah Harkness is a historian herself. Familiar names pepper the foreground and background of the story, often weaving in and out before you realize they sound familiar.
If you are looking for a story about witches, vampires, and magic that isn’t Harry Potter or Twilight, Harkness blends all three together seamlessly with writing steeped in history and a love for her characters as they struggle to save vampires, witches, and daemons from extinction. I give this trilogy my highest recommendation and I’m not even to the end of it yet.