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Publisher's Summary

The number one New York Times best-selling sequel to A Discovery of Witches, book two of the All Souls Trilogy - “as enchanting, engrossing, and impossible to put down as its predecessor” (Miami Herald)

Look for the hit series A Discovery of Witches streaming on Sundance Now and Shudder and coming to television this April on AMC and BBC America. 

J. K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Anne Rice - only a few writers capture the imagination the way that Deborah Harkness has with her New York Times best-selling All Souls trilogy. A Discovery of Witches introduces reluctant witch Diana Bishop, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and the battle for a lost, enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782. 

Picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night takes Diana and Matthew on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different - and vastly more dangerous - journey.  

©2012 Deborah Harkness (P)2012 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"A captivating and romantic ripping yarn." (E. L. James, "Books of the Year 2012: Authors Choose Their Favourites," The Guardian)

"The joy that Harkness, herself a historian, takes in visiting the past is evident on every page.... A great spell, the one that can enchant a reader and make a 600-page book fly through her fingertips, is cast.... Its enduring rewards are plenty." (Entertainment Weekly)

"Fans of Harkness’s 2011 debut A Discovery of Witches will be delighted.... Harkness delivers enough romance and excitement to keep the pages turning. Readers will devour it." (People)

Featured Article: The Best Paranormal Book Series in Audio


For as long as humans have told stories, we have had a fascination with paranormal and supernatural forces. The folklore of just about every human culture is rife with stories that feature talking animals, shape-shifters, demons, witches, spirits, and more. Whether you're looking for a paranormal fantasy that will grip you with its action or romance with an otherworldly twist, these are some of our favorite paranormal audiobook series that you're sure to love.

What listeners say about Shadow of Night

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Recommended, however....

Any additional comments?

I have read and listened to “A Discovery of Witches” more than a dozen times over the past year. I waited for “Shadow of Night” like a child eagerly anticipates Christmas. In this new book, Deborah Harkness weaves a beautiful story as the main characters escape into the past. The new characters in the story are refreshing and endearing. Once again, Jennifer Ikeda does a marvelous performance of every character. Also, as a history major in college, I found the detailed information on the Elizabethan era of England interesting. With all of that said, I missed some the “magic” found in the first book. I felt the detailed historical information slowed the storyline. Matthew’s point of view is rarely provided. I missed the quick wit exchanges between characters, the faster pace to the storyline, and the peaks and valleys in the storyline of the first book. While I recommend the book and, once again, eagerly await the third volume, I am hoping that the full magic that Harkness has the ability to provide in her writing will be found in the next book.

138 people found this helpful

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they solve each argument with sex.

ugh, how many times can he "slip inside her"? yuck. This book romanticizes abusive, narcissistic relationships. The bones of the story are good, but their relationship dynamic is awful.

12 people found this helpful

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A.D.D.?

Writer/ author forgot what story she was telling, and as a reader, so did I.

10 people found this helpful

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Even better than A Discovery of Witches

This is a beautifully written series so far. Deborah Harkness takes you right into the 16th century. The plot is complex but not confusing, and the narration is excellent. The variety of accents Jennifer Ikeda conveyed was impressive without being overly theatrical. This is a vivid, enchanting story. The array of personalities was engaging, each character seemed well thought out and had a depth that was really refreshing. If you liked the first book you will certainly enjoy this one.

107 people found this helpful

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Harkness is an amazing story teller!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely, yes! The subject of magic occurs in more than just the plot, the author casts a wonderful spell in telling this tale of an intellectual professor who tries to deny her gifts and a mysterious research professor who convinces her to acknowledge them while they both plow through ages of adventure in search of a book...

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the way this story was spun the most, and that it's author appears to acknowledge that her readers really can deal with an intellectual heroine.

Which scene was your favorite?

Phillipe's visit to the grove with Diana...

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes!

Any additional comments?

I am reading this book in hard cover and will be listening to my audible version right after because I pick up things I hear in the audible version I missed in the written book and vice versa. The two together make for a fuller experience of the story.

18 people found this helpful

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Absence and Desire...for another year

Whew; I liked this, but it took perseverance to get to *liking.* I don't just mean because of the 600 pages (24.5 hrs), and I'm not alone with my endurance problem -- even some of the professional critics confessed to wanting to skip ahead, jump over some of the fettering details. They justified their confessions by, in the end, giving Shadow of the Night a shining review. For me, that was the trick to *liking*...sticking it out to the end. I almost unplugged half-way through, which would have been regrettable. So, before you get discouraged by: the mass of characters (so many that the text book includes a glossary of characters), or the tediousness of tea and wine (Harkness at one time wrote a blog about wine), or the seemingly pointless conversations, the contrived events, and other minutiae of Elizabethan England...Hang in there.

When they say this one picks up where A Discovery of Witches left off -- they aren't kidding. If you have not recently read (or reviewed) the first book (D of W) you will probably be lost in a torrent you can't get out of. Diana the "reluctant witch," and Matthew the "vampire-scholar," continue their urgent quest for the ancient alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, which is said to contain critical secrets about the inhabitants of this book: vampires, witches and demons/daemons (tomato/tomahto - I googled it). The as-of-yet-unwed couple time travels (by way of Diana's limited witching abilities) to 1591 -- a troublesome landing spot -- Matthew is a devout catholic in Protestant England, and next door in Scotland they are burning witches. Diana, in and out of a yards of petticoats, stealthily searches for a much needed witch-tutor (Goody Alsop was great), while Matthew attends to one of his many secret roles; their actions constantly watched by dangerous cabals and covetous eyes. There are 3 sections to this book: Matt and Di's actions in 16th century England, France, and Prague, with a brief (and sudden) jump back to the 21st century at the end of their hunt in each location, to explain the impact of their actions (in the *past*) on the present. This little section also updates the present-time reactions of the Conventicle and the Congregation to either defend or thwart the couple's progress in finding Ashmole782.

The title refers to an actual 16th century poem by George Chapman that referrences the heretical The School of Night, and several prominent historical figures, William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh, even Queen Elizabeth I (does Harkness hint at a royal relationship years earlier with Matthew?). Harkness, a professor of history at USC, uses her knowledge and writing skills to embellish the story with copious details and some clever alterations of some of the significant historical figures. Obviously a great amount of research and attention went into this book. Still, even appreciating the authentic rich scenes and the new presentation of history, the overreliance on details becomes very weighty, and some good editting would have easily helped keep the middle from dragging without cutting any of the story. As for plot...aside from some pretty hot vampire on witch action between shopping, lessons, and secret missions--there isn't much, which is understandable if you look at this book as setting the stage for the final installment (boy, it had better be phenomenal!). I especially enjoyed Matthew's father, Phillipe, and hope to read more about him, as well as SOME of the interesting characters introduced in this book.

They find Ashmole, (not a plot spoiler) no fanfare, still missing 3 pages. Some questions are answered, some vexing new ones presented. Matthew's personality is a little lost in the past, but Diana's is expanded; the couple becomes more joined. The tension between the witches and vampires builds. All in all a great set-up. Jennifer Ikeda does a noteworthy job of reading so many accents and characters. She was clearly familiar with the characters and story, and gave an enjoyable, sophisticated performance. If you have read that this is "Harry Potter for adults," or a "grown-up version of Twilight," toss those epithets aside; there is much more here than comparisons. On it's own, Shadow of the Night is intelligently written adult fare. In an interview, author Deborah Harkness stated, "There are a lot of adults reading YA books, and for good reason...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." If you liked Discovery of Witches, if you can appreciate carefully setting up the final act--you'll like this. In hind-sight, after the final book is released and so many details justified or explained, I'll probably like it even more, but since I can't time travel back and change my rating, I'll stick with a glowing 3* for now and hope for 5* with a fantastic conclusion of the All Souls Trilogy.

124 people found this helpful

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This Book Isn't For Everyone

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene when Matthew and Diana are talking about how vampires are depicted in modern day romance novels. Hysterical! It's like she put that scene in just to stick it to all the readers whom complained about the lack of sex in the first book.

Any additional comments?

I can see why some people do not like this story. It's really not that suspenseful, there are no hot and heavy sex scenes every other chapter, and it's slooooooow.

Having said that, I still loved this book. These books are not nail biting page turners, and they are not vampire erotica hidden behind a plot. This story is a long, slow stroll down a road filled with beautiful scenery. Harness does a fantastic job of putting the reader in 16th century England, I found myself looking up many of her characters on Wikipedia just to get more background on them.

If you want a roller coaster experience, you will not like this book. Personally I loved the slow, lazy tide of the story.

The narrator was fantastic!

30 people found this helpful

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Sophomore Slump

The second book got a little lost, "meandering through time" if you will. I loved the additional characters from history but they were not put to the best of use within the story. More forced backdrop than substance. I will be finishing the trilogy so here is hoping the story picks back up with book 3.

6 people found this helpful

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Beautiful book!

What made the experience of listening to Shadow of Night the most enjoyable?

I absolutely loved the scenes of unexpected meetings with family members. I was so happy Diana had the opportunity to meet Phillippe. I also loved meeting the various famous people from the 16th century such as Kit Marlowe and Queen Elizabeth. Deborah Harkness did a fabulous job bringing them to life!

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character is Diana (no surprise there). I love the way she always wins over Matthew's family & friends despite their prejudices. She inspires fierce loyalty in the people she brings into her circle.

Any additional comments?

I highly recommend this series. Diana and Matthew's story is one of the most unique I've read in a long time. If you love Diana Gabaldon you will love this series as well.

26 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Doing Time Travel Badly

Would you try another book from Deborah Harkness and/or Jennifer Ikeda?

I really liked Ms. Ikeda's narration.

Would you ever listen to anything by Deborah Harkness again?

Probably because I am compulsive and I hate myself.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Sadness and disappointment

Any additional comments?

First of all, the narrator does a fabulous job with this hot-buttered garbage heap of a book. She provides a distinct voice for many of the characters and does a great job of trying to bring those wooden puppets to life.

As with A Discovery of Witches the main issue us Deborah Harkness's inability to weave a compelling plot. A lot could be forgiven if her books flew along upon wings of adventure, or dragged the reader forward on tenterhooks of terror; instead the plot instead the plot is stretched across a meandering series of vignettes that tend to repeat the same character beats again and again (Matthew is broody and secretive, Diana will get him to open up through the magic of love).
Matthew and Diana seem to forget there was a plot as much as the author does, spending endless pages faffing about with costume drama rather than accomplishing any of their goals. When they do get close to doing something, Harkness hands Matthew the idiot ball to derail it and force a change of scenery so the process can start again. If course none of these villains or circumstances ever truly feel threatening or as if they have any weight to the reader as they are often forgotten in the next chapter.

The plodding, repetitive plot is helped little by the author's uncanny ability to choose the least interesting path whenever there is a glimmer of a good idea. For example, in a running B-plot the characters in modern times must cover up the strange ripples in time caused by Matthew and Diana. Rather than spin this as a nerdy thriller where the b-squad has to match wits with the Congregation, it j st turns into n to Harkness deciding an artifact has shown up and Matthew's family throwing their seemingly limitless vampire wealth at it. Even when the congregation does find something it has seemingly no impact and builds zero tension so I was left wondering why anyone cared?

Maybe the plot could be forgiven if there were engaging characters? Unfortunately we have no such luck.

As noted above, Matthew and Diana are dull, flat characters. Matthew is a broody vampire with a mysterious past (yawn) and Diana could probably be replaced with a lamp. On paper they are Mary Sues of the first rank (he is a super rich immortal secret agent that knows everyone from history and she is a young, really pretty tenured Yale professor with magic hair, special eyes and is also the best witch ever). On paper they are both idiots: instead of being cool and rational as Harkness says, Matthew is impulsive. possessive and emotionally abusive with zero self-awareness. Diana Smith s supposed to be a strong, independent woman (with a photographic memory) but Harkness writes her as a dewy-eyed milksop, a teenaged heroine from a particularly bad YA romance.

Other characters are simple sketches that seem to lack an inner life that does not revolve around Matthew and Diana, which is odd because the couple spends most of the time being dreary homebodies (the Tudor equivalent of the couple that sits around the couch in sweatpants watching Netflix) to the point where even the author gets so bored with them that she has another character force them to go for a night in the town.

I suppose Marlowe has some depth, though unrequited sexual jealousy really is not a profound character motivation. his continued presence in their inner circle after an early betrayal is especially glaring (did I mention how dumb Matthew is s?), and he is yet another historical name drop.

Harkness tries to make up for a lack of quality with quantity. It does not work. Historic characters seem to be there mostly for their names and do little to explore any themes, personality or story.

and the quality if writing is serviceable - it neither enlivens nor greatly offends. Harkness still suffers from the same bad habits she had in the first book, telling us rather than showing. She also does little to conjure the world of the sixteenth century for the reader beyond a numerous tedious descriptions of furniture and clothing She also carries on her quirk of assigning characters seemingly random combinations of scents, apparently taking at least one piece if advice for new writers to heart (in the most ham-handed way).

Apart from these looming structural problems, there are divers little things to make your eyes roll into your skull so much that they could power a small city.

* Diana and Matthew adopt a quirky young urchin who serves no real purpose other than being an annoying kid sidekick.

* Our heroes track down their mystery book, but because of contrived reasons they learn little from it (rendering half of their purpose pointless).

* Diana gets a dragon (sorry, fire drake) as a pet because she is a super special witch.

* Also, she learns about magic but barely does anything if interest with it, because she is terminally dull.

* There was time travel, but it is just an arbitrary narrative contrivance for Harkness to write bad historical fiction

* Matthew and Diana finally bone, but it is not sexy. And for all Matthew's petulant winging about how he is dangerous and could hurt her, it only makes their relationship stronger and more special (until Harkness gets bored about that and starts Matthew brooding again)

* There is a pointless coda with Shakespeare. it does not really relate to the rest of the book in any way.

* Weaver magic (Diana's special magic) consists of girl scout knot tying and shitty rhyming.

* Why does Matthew continue to put up with Christopher Marlowe’s presence, he’s a shitty friend and tried to get his special waifu tossed onto the pyre as a witch pretty early on in the book.

***SPOILERS***

* Diana miscarries her first ubermensch child, but Harkness mostly breezes over that (apart from Matthew not wanting to fuck her for a chapter or two). She has s pregnant again by the end of the book (with twins) so the whole episode could have been excised with the book the better for it.

* Diana's aunt Emily, who seemed really nice, was arbitrarily killed off screen to inject some angst. This is not explored or explained.

* Matthew reveals he has some kind of vampire disease called "blood rage." His eyes turn all black and he becomes more of an asshole. As always he claims this will make him hurt Diana if she gets too close, but it dies not because she is his special waifu and these books are awful.

And now I will say something nice…

It really seemed like the author was making up a lot less about her world as she went along this time (at least on big things). Still there were no good set ups or call backs that came naturally, but Harkness did seem to lay groundwork for a future conflict!

Overall this is another did spoiled by the author's lackluster characters and poor story instincts. It doesn’t even rise to the level of camp or so bad it’s good.

5 people found this helpful