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If you’re looking for an immersive, engaging audiobook series to sink your teeth into, look no further than Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy. The second book in the series, “Shadow of Night,” picks up where “A Discovery of Witches” left off, following witch Diana Bishop and vampire Matthew Clairmont as they time-travel to Elizabethan-era England in search of a mysterious manuscript.

As with the first book, “Shadow of Night” offers a blend of historical fiction, romance, and fantasy elements. Harkness’s well-researched and vividly described historical setting serves as the perfect backdrop for the ongoing supernatural drama and character development. And with narrator Jennifer Ikeda’s stellar performance, listeners are in for a captivating listening experience.

Key Takeaways

  • “Shadow of Night” is the second book in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
  • The audiobook features a blend of historical fiction, romance, and fantasy elements
  • Narrator Jennifer Ikeda delivers a stellar performance, creating an immersive listening experience
  • “Shadow of Night” offers rich character development and an intricate plot
  • Overall, this audiobook is highly recommended for fans of the series and newcomers alike

Overview of the All Souls Trilogy

The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness is a bestselling series in the fantasy and historical fiction genres. Combining elements of magic, romance, and historical events, Harkness weaves a complex story that captivates her readers.

The first installment, “A Discovery of Witches,” introduces us to Diana Bishop, a historian and witch who uncovers a manuscript that draws her into a dangerous world of vampires, witches, and daemons. Alongside vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, Diana navigates prejudice and danger as they attempt to uncover the manuscript’s secrets.

“Shadow of Night,” the second book in the series, follows Diana and Matthew as they time-travel to Elizabethan England in search of the magical book known as the Ashmole 782.

The final book in the trilogy, “The Book of Life,” sees Matthew and Diana continue their search for the secrets hidden within the Ashmole 782, while also dealing with the repercussions of their actions in the past and present.

Book Title Genre Premise
A Discovery of Witches Fantasy, Historical Fiction A historian and witch uncovers a dangerous manuscript that leads her into the world of vampires, witches, and daemons
Shadow of Night Fantasy, Historical Fiction Diana and Matthew time-travel to Elizabethan England in search of a magical book
The Book of Life Fantasy, Historical Fiction Matthew and Diana continue their search for the secrets hidden within a magical book while dealing with the repercussions of their time-traveling actions

Overall, the All Souls Trilogy offers a unique and compelling story filled with rich historical detail and magical elements. Harkness’s writing style and character development create a truly immersive experience for readers.

Plot Summary of “Shadow of Night”

The audiobook “Shadow of Night” follows the story of Diana Bishop, a historian and witch, and Matthew Clairmont, a vampire and scientist, as they time-travel to the past in search of the mystical tome known as Ashmole 782.

Set in 1590 Elizabethan London, the couple encounters a diverse cast of characters, including Matthew’s friends and enemies from his past, as they work to unravel the book’s secrets and prevent a looming supernatural war. Along the way, they confront challenges and threats to their relationship and safety, and their mission becomes more perilous than they could have ever imagined.

The plot is filled with twists and turns, from unexpected betrayals to shocking revelations, keeping listeners on the edge of their seats. As the audiobook unfolds, Diana and Matthew’s characters undergo significant development, and their relationship becomes increasingly complex and fraught with tension.

Setting and World-Building in “Shadow of Night”

Deborah Harkness’s “Shadow of Night,” the second book in the All Souls Trilogy, boasts a masterful setting and world-building that immerses readers in a vivid historical fantasy world. The audiobook showcases the intricate tapestry of 1590s England, France, and Prague, transporting listeners to a bygone era brimming with culture, politics, and religious upheaval.

The historical elements in “Shadow of Night” are richly detailed and extensively researched, offering listeners a glimpse into the challenges and nuances of life during the era. From the witch hunts of England to the political turmoil in France, the audiobook paints a compelling and compellingly realistic picture of the past.

In addition to the historical elements, “Shadow of Night” also features a wide array of magical aspects that further add depth and intrigue to the setting. Vampires, witches, and demons are just a few of the supernatural elements that bring the world of the All Souls Trilogy to life.

“Deborah Harkness’s meticulous research and attention to detail create a richly immersive world in “Shadow of Night,” transporting readers to a fascinating era of history with a vibrant cast of supernatural characters.”

Main Characters in “Shadow of Night”

“Shadow of Night” is a richly layered audiobook filled with compelling characters shaped by the All Souls Trilogy’s multi-layered narrative. Deborah Harkness has created an expansive and cohesive world that allows her characters to grow and change throughout the series.

The sequel picks up where the first book left off, with the unlikely heroine Diana Bishop and her vampire soulmate Matthew Clairmont traveling through time to Elizabethan London in search of a powerful witch teacher to help Diana hone her magical abilities. Along the way, they encounter a host of new characters, some friendly and some decidedly not, who test their relationships and loyalty.

Matthew and Diana remain at the heart of the story, and their relationship continues to evolve in “Shadow of Night,” with a newfound understanding of one another’s strengths and flaws. Matthew, in particular, is given more depth and dimension, revealing a darker side to his personality that he tries to keep hidden from others.

The other characters in “Shadow of Night” are equally intriguing, from the mysterious and scheming vampire queen Elizabeth to the enigmatic and wise witch Goody Alsop. There are also appearances by historical figures such as Christopher Marlowe and Queen Elizabeth I, who add an additional layer of realism and depth to the story.

The main characters in “Shadow of Night” are complex, flawed, and fully realized, driving the narrative forward with their actions and choices. Their individual character arcs are intertwined with the overarching plot, creating a satisfying and engaging listening experience for fans of the All Souls Trilogy.

Writing Style and Narrative in “Shadow of Night”

In “Shadow of Night,” Deborah Harkness proves herself to be a master of the written word. Her writing style is a harmonious blend of history, magic, and romance that captivates readers from beginning to end.

The narrative is richly layered and intricately woven, with a masterful use of pacing and storytelling choices that keep readers engaged and invested in the characters and their journey.

Harkness’s prose is elegant and evocative, bringing the settings and characters vividly to life. She seamlessly weaves together historical details with her own unique twist on the world of magic, creating a captivating and immersive reading experience.

“Harkness’s writing is a marvel. She effortlessly blends fact and fiction, bringing the past to life through her characters and their experiences.” – The New York Times

Themes and Symbolism in “Shadow of Night”

Deborah Harkness’ “Shadow of Night” explores various themes and incorporates symbolism to deepen the audiobook’s meaning. The audiobook’s underlying themes revolve around love, power, and loyalty. Love is a predominant theme, and it takes center stage in the life of the main character, Diana, and her vampire lover, Matthew.

Furthermore, “Shadow of Night” uses symbolism to great effect, with the most prominent symbol being Ashmole 782, the book that Diana and Matthew seek in the audiobook. This book is not just a magical grimoire but also symbolizes knowledge and the power it holds. The book was imagined by Deborah Harkness to hold every magical secret ever uncovered, thus its significance throughout the series.

The rose is also a recurring symbol in the audiobook and series. It symbolizes Matthew, the rose’s thorns representing his brutal and dangerous nature and the rose itself representing his beauty and love for Diana.

The All Souls Trilogy as a whole also incorporates significant symbolism from science, history, and mythology. For instance, the number three and the Trinity is a recurring motif throughout the series, with three books, three species, and three stages in the life of creatures. The number seven and alchemy also feature prominently in the audiobook and the series, with seven being a number associated with magic, alchemy, and creation.

Deborah Harkness’ use of themes and symbolism in “Shadow of Night” and the All Souls Trilogy adds depth and intrigue to the audiobook, engaging the listener to think critically about the underlying messages and meanings.

Audiobook Narration and Experience

One crucial aspect of the audiobook experience of “Shadow of Night” is the narrator’s performance. The audiobook, narrated by Jennifer Ikeda, has been widely praised for her exceptional narration skills. According to AudioFile Magazine, Ikeda delivers a “tour de force” performance, bringing the characters and the story to life with her versatile voice and captivating energy.

Ikeda’s delivery of the dialogue, in particular, has been highlighted as being exceptional, with each character’s voice being distinct and memorable. This can be especially beneficial in an audiobook, as it helps listeners to differentiate between characters and follow the story with ease. Moreover, Ikeda’s emphasis on the emotional nuances of certain scenes allowed listeners to feel more connected to the characters, enhancing their overall engagement with the story.

The overall listening experience of “Shadow of Night” is also noteworthy. The audiobook’s production values are high, and the sound quality is excellent, as expected from the Penguin Random House Audio production. The audiobook is around 20 hours long, allowing listeners to fully immerse themselves in the world of the All Souls Trilogy. Plus, listening to the audiobook gives individuals the chance to enjoy the story hands-free, making it possible to multitask while listening, like some prefer.

In conclusion, Jennifer Ikeda’s exceptional narration skills combined with the high-quality production values of the audiobook make for an excellent listening experience of “Shadow of Night,” which is a must-listen for fans of the All Souls Trilogy audiobook series.

Critical Reception and Popularity

The release of “Shadow of Night” in 2012 was met with significant anticipation among fans of the All Souls Trilogy. Upon its publication, the audiobook received generally positive reviews from critics and readers alike, with many praising Deborah Harkness’s intricate world-building and engrossing storytelling.

According to Goodreads, “Shadow of Night” has an average rating of 4.11 out of 5 stars, based on over 234,000 ratings. Reviews of the audiobook on the site praise the narrator’s performance, as well as the book’s pacing and character development.

As the second book in the All Souls Trilogy, “Shadow of Night” helped to solidify the series’ popularity and cement its place as a beloved work of fantasy fiction. Its critical reception and widespread appeal have undoubtedly contributed to the success of subsequent installments in the series.

Comparisons to the First Book in the Trilogy

As the second installment in the All Souls Trilogy, “Shadow of Night” builds upon the foundation that was established in the first book, “A Discovery of Witches.” While many of the characters and themes carry over from the first book, “Shadow of Night” expands the world of the series to include new historical and geographical settings.

One of the key differences between the two books is the emphasis on historical detail. Whereas “A Discovery of Witches” took place mainly in the present day, “Shadow of Night” transports its characters back to Elizabethan England, where they encounter historical figures such as Christopher Marlowe and Queen Elizabeth I. This shift in setting allows for a deeper exploration of historical events and attitudes, and the stakes feel much higher as a result.

Additionally, “Shadow of Night” spends less time establishing its characters and world, instead diving headfirst into the action and intrigue that drives the plot forward. This makes for a more intense and fast-paced read, and fans of the series will likely appreciate the forward momentum and increased stakes.

Similarities Differences
Characters Many of the same characters from the first book appear in “Shadow of Night,” including protagonist Diana Bishop and her vampire partner Matthew Clairmont. New characters are introduced in “Shadow of Night,” including historical figures and other members of the supernatural community.
Themes “Shadow of Night” continues to explore themes of love, power, and destiny that were present in the first book. The focus on historical detail in “Shadow of Night” adds a new layer of complexity to these themes.
Tone The romantic and atmospheric tone of the first book is carried over to “Shadow of Night.” The increased stakes and historical setting of the second book create a darker and more intense atmosphere at times.

In summary, “Shadow of Night” builds upon the strengths of the first book in the All Souls Trilogy while also taking the series in exciting new directions. Fans of the first book will find much to love in its sequel, and the combination of historical detail, intense action, and supernatural romance make for a compelling read.

Impact and Influence of “Shadow of Night”

Since its publication, “Shadow of Night” has had a significant impact on the All Souls Trilogy series and its readers. The audiobook’s compelling narrative, complex characters, and rich world-building have captivated and enthralled fans, propelling it to become a bestseller.

The influence of “Shadow of Night” can be seen in the continued success of the All Souls Trilogy, as well as its adaptations, like the television series “A Discovery of Witches.” The audiobook has also garnered critical acclaim, receiving praise for its historical accuracy, compelling storyline, and genre-defying nature.

Impact of “Shadow of Night” Influence of “Shadow of Night”
Increased readership and popularity of the All Souls Trilogy series Inspiration for other works of fiction and media
Elevated critical acclaim and recognition for author Deborah Harkness Exploration of complex themes and issues in contemporary culture
Greater appreciation for history and historical elements in fiction Development of new sub-genres and forms of storytelling

The impact and influence of “Shadow of Night” have been far-reaching, extending beyond the realm of fiction and entertainment. The audiobook has become a cultural phenomenon, reflecting and commenting on society’s values, beliefs, and aspirations.

“‘Shadow of Night’ is a true masterpiece, showing the impact and influence that well-crafted stories can have on our lives and the world around us.”

Discussion on Historical Accuracy and Research

Historical accuracy and extensive research are two of the hallmarks of Deborah Harkness’s writing. In “Shadow of Night,” the second installment of the All Souls Trilogy, Harkness once again showcases her attention to detail and commitment to historical authenticity.

The audiobook takes place in Elizabethan England, and Harkness brings the setting to life with vivid descriptions of the era’s customs, fashion, and political landscape. She seamlessly weaves the supernatural elements of the story into the historical framework, creating a unique and captivating atmosphere for listeners.

Furthermore, Harkness’s dedication to research is evident in every aspect of the audiobook, from the dialogue to the setting and even the spells used by the characters. The author not only consulted primary sources but also visited the real-life locations mentioned in the story, immersing herself in the world of her characters.

“Shadow of Night is not a historical novel, but it is historically accurate fiction – and that means that its supernatural elements are grounded in the real world of Renaissance Europe.”

As Harkness herself stated on her website, “Shadow of Night is not a historical novel, but it is historically accurate fiction – and that means that its supernatural elements are grounded in the real world of Renaissance Europe.” This emphasis on authenticity and detail separates Harkness’s work from other books in the genre and adds depth and richness to her storytelling.

Comparison of Historical Fiction and “Shadow of Night”
Historical Fiction “Shadow of Night”
Accuracy Usually historical fiction takes significant liberties with historical reality for the sake of storytelling. “Shadow of Night” is historically accurate fiction, grounded in the real world of Renaissance Europe.
Research Some historical fiction authors do extensive research, but it is not always reflected in the text. Deborah Harkness conducted in-depth research and visited the real-life locations mentioned in the audiobook.
Supernatural Elements May include supernatural elements but often at the expense of historical accuracy. “Shadow of Night” seamlessly weaves the supernatural elements of the story into the historical framework.

Overall, the historical accuracy and meticulous research in “Shadow of Night” elevate the audiobook to a higher level of quality and add to its appeal for both history buffs and fans of fantasy fiction.

Analysis of Character Development

In “Shadow of Night,” Deborah Harkness continues to expand on the characters introduced in the first book of the All Souls Trilogy, exploring their pasts, motivations, and growth. One of the most notable examples of character development in the audiobook is Diana Bishop’s transformation from a reluctant witch to a confident and powerful one.

Throughout “Shadow of Night,” Diana learns to harness her unique magical abilities and embrace her heritage, ultimately becoming a leader within the supernatural community. This growth is also mirrored in her relationship with Matthew Clairmont, as the two characters navigate the complexities of their roles in a world that fears and misunderstands them.

Matthew’s own character development in “Shadow of Night” is equally well-crafted, as he grapples with his past actions and works to overcome his fears and prejudices. The audiobook also showcases the evolution of secondary characters such as Ysabeau and Philippe de Clermont, delving into their backstories and relationships.

Overall, “Shadow of Night” excels in its nuanced and layered depictions of character development, providing a compelling narrative that is sure to resonate with fans of the All Souls Trilogy.

Exploring Magical Elements

Deborah Harkness’s “Shadow of Night” is a masterful blend of historical fiction, romance, and fantasy. One of the most captivating aspects of the audiobook is the intricate use of magical elements. From the opening chapter, listeners are introduced to a world where witches, vampires, and daemons exist alongside humans.

The use of magical elements in “Shadow of Night” is seamlessly integrated into the narrative, creating a sense of wonder and mystery. Witches, in particular, play a significant role in the story, with protagonist Diana Bishop coming into her own as a powerful spellcaster.

Vampires are also vital to the audiobook’s plot, with Matthew Clairmont serving as both a romantic interest for Diana and a mentor in the supernatural world. Harkness’s depiction of vampires is a refreshing departure from the typical portrayal in popular culture. Instead of mindless bloodsuckers, Matthew and his kind are complex and nuanced characters with their own set of rules and societal norms.

The blending of historical and magical elements in “Shadow of Night” is a testament to Harkness’s skillful world-building. The audiobook takes place in Elizabethan England, a time rife with political intrigue and religious tension. Still, Harkness adds her own fantastical twist, effortlessly incorporating magical creatures and spells into the existing historical backdrop.

Overall, the use of magical elements in “Shadow of Night” is a key component of the audiobook’s unique appeal. Harkness’s ability to seamlessly blur the lines between reality and fantasy is masterful, creating a rich, immersive world that listeners will find difficult to leave.

Overall Impression and Recommendation

After an in-depth review of “Shadow of Night,” the second installment of the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, it is apparent that the audiobook is a captivating and engaging listen for fans of the series. The world-building and attention to historical detail are impeccable, providing a rich and immersive experience for listeners.

The character development throughout the audiobook is exceptional, and listeners will find themselves invested in the lives and struggles of the main characters, Diana and Matthew. The use of magic and supernatural elements is seamlessly integrated into the story, adding excitement and intrigue to the plot.

The audiobook narration by Jennifer Ikeda is outstanding, bringing the characters to life with her nuanced and compelling performance. Overall, “Shadow of Night” is a must-listen for fans of the All Souls Trilogy, and it comes highly recommended for those looking for a rich and immersive audiobook experience.

Shadow of Night Audiobook

“The attention to detail in both the historical and fantastical elements of the story is impressive, and the characters are so well-developed and relatable. The audiobook narration by Jennifer Ikeda only adds to the experience, breathing life into the characters and their world.”


Overall, “Shadow of Night” delivers a captivating listening experience full of rich world-building, complex characters, and exciting plot developments. Deborah Harkness’s writing style and attention to historical detail make for an immersive and entertaining audiobook that is sure to leave an impression on listeners.

With its exploration of themes like love, loyalty, and the consequences of power, “Shadow of Night” stands out as a thoughtful and thought-provoking addition to the All Souls Trilogy. Whether you’re a fan of supernatural romance, historical fiction, or simply enjoy a good story, this audiobook is definitely worth checking out.

Overall, “Shadow of Night” comes highly recommended for audiobook listeners looking for a well-written and engaging story that will keep them hooked until the very end.


How many books are there in the All Souls Trilogy?

The All Souls Trilogy consists of three books.

What is the title of the second book in the All Souls Trilogy?

The second book in the All Souls Trilogy is called “Shadow of Night.”

Who is the author of the All Souls Trilogy?

The All Souls Trilogy is written by Deborah Harkness.

What is the genre of the All Souls Trilogy?

The All Souls Trilogy is a blend of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance.

Do I need to read the first book before reading "Shadow of Night"?

It is recommended to read the first book, “A Discovery of Witches,” before diving into “Shadow of Night” to fully understand the story and characters.

Can "Shadow of Night" be read as a standalone book?

“Shadow of Night” is a continuation of the All Souls Trilogy and is best enjoyed when read in sequence.

What is the setting of "Shadow of Night"?

“Shadow of Night” is primarily set in Elizabethan England, with various other historical locations throughout the audiobook.

Are there supernatural elements in "Shadow of Night"?

Yes, “Shadow of Night” features witches, vampires, and other supernatural beings.

Who are the main characters in "Shadow of Night"?

The main characters in “Shadow of Night” include Diana Bishop, Matthew Clairmont, and various historical figures.

How is the audiobook narration of "Shadow of Night"?

The audiobook narration of “Shadow of Night” is praised for its engaging and immersive performance.

What are the major themes explored in "Shadow of Night"?

“Shadow of Night” delves into themes such as love, power, prejudice, and the consequences of time travel.

How is the critical reception of "Shadow of Night"?

“Shadow of Night” has generally received positive reviews from both critics and readers.

Can "Shadow of Night" be compared to the first book in the trilogy?

“Shadow of Night” expands on the world and characters introduced in the first book, showcasing their growth and development.

Does "Shadow of Night" have an impact on the overall series?

“Shadow of Night” plays a significant role in advancing the overarching narrative of the All Souls Trilogy.

How did the author incorporate historical accuracy into "Shadow of Night"?

Deborah Harkness extensively researched historical details to ensure accuracy, immersing readers in the rich historical setting of “Shadow of Night.”

How does the character development in "Shadow of Night" evolve?

The characters in “Shadow of Night” undergo significant growth and transformation as they navigate the challenges they face.

What magical elements are present in "Shadow of Night"?

“Shadow of Night” explores various magical elements, including witchcraft, alchemy, and mystical creatures.

What is the overall impression of "Shadow of Night" and would you recommend it?

Overall, “Shadow of Night” is a captivating audiobook recommended for fans of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance.

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