The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness is the third and final book in the All Souls Trilogy, following the earlier two books in the series - A Discovery of Witches: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy) and Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, Bk 2). After two years of impatient but excited wait for readers, witch Diana Bishop, also a historian, and vampire Matthew Clairmont, who is also her husband and a scientist, return from the past to the present to continue their all-important search for the crucial but long-missing pages of Ashmole 782, an enchanted alchemical manuscript, commonly known as the Book of Life. This is no ordinary book as it holds the key to the origin of all supernatural beings. Its massive importance is widely known and a lot of evil forces are also searching for it.
Set in Matthew's Sept-Tours chateau, the duo had to deal with teething troubles brewing among the vampire family. Benjamin Fuchs, the vampire son of Matthew, is stalking them with intent to cause them grievous harm. In order to protect everyone, Diana needs to sharpen her skills as weaver, which is one of the rarest but most effective witch powers. Added to this is the advancing pregnancy of Diana with twins which upset the Congregation of vampires, witches and daemons. It is a ticklish situation because relationship between vampires and witches is considered unacceptable and against the covenant. Dark forces are at work seeking to destroy or separate them. Diana and Matthew must handle the delicate situation with wisdom and astuteness, and at the same time meet troubles head-on to survive.
The Book of Life takes the reader on an enthralling ride with a sense of urgency as Diana and Matthew's past returned to haunt them, throwing hurdles at every possible corner. Deborah Harkness skillfully steered the two main protagonists through dark and dangerous worlds, bringing to the fore the political intrigues of the stunning world she created in the book. It is not just about magic and fantasy, Deborah Harkness evocatively laces the story with unchanging truths which will resonate well with many readers. It deals with issues of ignorance and past deeds in a subtle way without being too obvious, yet clearly understandable, and how these can have implications in the now and future.
The suspense is endless, there is no dearth of romance and the action sequences as sparkling as noon-day's sun. The prose is as beautiful as ever, and the narrative as clear as crystal. The characters have taken a giant leap from their previous roles but ever endearing, dynamic, and full of life. More than the character of Matthew, Diana's assumes much more significance, ever lovely and appealing, even as her life takes a turn for better or worse.
In this sweeping and magnificent conclusion to the All Souls Trilogy, the action and adventure is fast and furious, without ever letting up, and there are a slew of surprises bringing to an end the mystery surrounding the enchanted manuscript and what it means for Diana and Matthew. History, science, romance, action, intrigue, mystery, paranormal, suspense, magic - name it and it's there in this stunning book. After a long wait of two years what else can we expect but an exceptional story that is a fitting conclusion to a stellar series the likes of which we do not come across too often!
#This review is from uncorrected e-proof advance reader's copy which I received in exchange for honest review.