Shadow of Night is the second installment of the All Souls Trilogy written by Deborah Harkness. It was published in July of 2012 by Penguin Books and was on the New York Times bestseller list.
Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont timewalk to Elizabethan London, on a mission to find Ashmole 782 as well as a witch to teach Diana how to control her magic. There, they are immersed in a world of fear, secrets, and deceit. While Diana tries to get a grasp on the magic within her, Matthew struggles with his past surrounding him and the secrets of a 1,500 year old vampire. Going back into the past is not as simple as these two thought it would be.
SPOILER ALERT: Click the 'show' button on the right to read a more detailed description of A Discovery of Witches.
The second book in the series opens with vampire Matthew Clairmont and witch Diana Bishop timewalking to 1590 England. The first person they meet is the famous poet (and daemon), Christopher Marlowe, whose nickname is Kit. Diana quickly realizes that Kit is in love with Matthew and that Kit neither likes nor trusts her.
After Diana meets Matthew's other friends, including Thomas Harriot, Henry Percy, George Chapman and Walter Raleigh, she deduces that Matthew must be, in this era, a member of the infamous School of Night, a group of late 16th century philosophers, poets, and explorers. Matthew goes by the name of Matthew Roydon.
Diana, despite her background as a historian, is conspicuous in 1590. She is unusually tall, her accent sounds odd, and she is more assertive than most women of that time. Most of the members of the School of Night realize that she is a witch and that she and Matthew have traveled back in time from the future.
While Diana focuses on figuring out details of daily life at Matthew's house, the Old Lodge, such as her clothing, writing, and accent, Matthew enjoys the opportunity to again spend time with his friends from long ago.
Since one of their goals in timewalking to 1590 is for Diana to learn more about her magical abilities from a witch of the time, Matthew summons a likely witch, Widow Beaton, to the Old Lodge, despite Diana's concerns about possibly being accused of witchcraft and devilry by the nearby villagers. Widow Beaton feels threatened by the attention being drawn to Diana and to her by her visit. Witch hunts have begun in Scotland and also will develop elsewhere.
Before long, vampires Gallowglass and Hancock arrive with the news that Widow Beaton has publicly accused Diana of making her ill, and that three men are on their way to the Old Lodge to question Diana. Matthew argues with the men and sends them away. During the conversation that follows, he admits to Diana that he is a spy for the British government, which role helps protect him but also puts him in danger. Diana also figures out that Matthew is working for his father, vampire Philippe de Clermont, and the Knights of Lazarus, an organization whose purpose is to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Matthew discovers that his daemon friend, Kit, has been stirring up the village against Diana. Then, mail arrives from Matthew's father, commanding him to immediately travel to Philippe at Sept-Tours in France to prove that Matthew isn't dead. Matthew and Diana start out promptly.
Rima Jaen, who works in a library in Seville, Spain containing the Goncalve family collection, examines a small book, which we discover is Diana's daily journal from 1590, with the identifying information removed. Rima has shown the book to Javier Lopez, the library director. She also remembers that she felt uncomfortable with the Frenchman, Gerbert Cantal, who had visited and asked her to let him know if anything interesting turned up.
During Matthew and Diana's trip to Sept-Tours, they arrive at the island of Mont Saint-Michel. When Matthew meets with Cardinal Joyeuse there, Diana realizes that Matthew's role is now more like a Renaissance prince than the scientist he was in the present when they first met. Finally, they arrive to Sept-Tours and see Philippe. At first, it's very difficult for Matthew, because his most recent memory of his father from the present is his father's death. Since Diana is a witch, and vampires and witches are forbidden to marry, Philippe refuses to acknowledge Matthew as being mated to Diana. He realizes that Matthew and Diana have time-traveled to 1590 from a different time. Diana tells Philippe the truth about the events that led them there. Finally, Philippe sees that Diana is wearing the anniversary ring that he earlier gave to his vampire wife, Ysabeau. He realizes that Ysabeau approves of Diana. This also makes him realize that he is no longer alive in Matthew and Diana's present and thus they could not go to him for protection in that time period.
The next day, Philippe gives the castle keys to Diana since she is the top-ranking woman there, so she can manage the household. Matthew privately explains to Diana that he hasn't consummated his relationship with her yet because once he does that, he will become entirely focused on her. He isn't sure she is ready for that degree of possessiveness. While Diana learns about managing the household and more about Matthew in the process, Matthew goes horseback riding and becomes more comfortable being with his father again. When they return, Philippe sees and appreciates that Diana has made an effort to learn about the household and especially Matthew's needs and preferences. The next day, Diana discovers Matthew at the church where his deceased wife and son are buried. She learns of his grief and guilt about them. She also learns that as a vampire, Matthew drank his father's blood until his father was dead, because his father begged him to relieve him of his suffering after the Nazis drove him insane with pain and deprivation. Diana reassures Matthew that it was an act of mercy. Matthew tells her that when Philippe died, Matthew inherited his role as leader of the Knights of Lazarus. Suddenly, a white dove comes into the church, leaving one white feather, a sign of hope.
Diana returns to the castle, where Philippe tells her that a witch from Lyon will arrive to help her. Philippe commands Matthew to meet him in the hay barn, where they practice dueling with swords and other weapons. Suddenly, Matthew is distracted when he sees Diana, and Philippe is able to trap him with both of their swords, preventing Matthew from going to Diana. Matthew starts to lose his self-control and go into a blood rage. Philippe helps him recover by insisting that he is forgiven, assuming that Matthew killed Philippe in a blood rage that he couldn't control. Philippe urges Matthew to let go of his guilt. Philippe then makes Diana his blood-sworn daughter, an offer of protection and close relationship greater even than Matthew expected.
The witch from Lyon arrives to examine Diana's magical powers but Diana kills him when he threatens to take her memories. Philippe decides that she can be trusted with the family's secrets, and that she is steadfast. He believes that Matthew and Diana are worthy mates for each other. Philippe then insists on a lavish wedding for Matthew and Diana, after which Matthew finally consummates his relationship with Diana. Matthew and Diana agree not to try to prevent pregnancy, even though it's unlikely a vampire could father a child with a warmblood like Diana. "Let me love you forever," Matthew murmurs to Diana. "I will," she promises.
Matthew and Diana spend their honeymoon enjoying each other's company in the castle, practicing archery in an attempt to bring out Diana's magic, and attending holiday feasts. Diana sees that Philippe leaves notes about his daily life for his wife Ysabeau in the pages of books, so that she can discover them later when she returns from her travels elsewhere.
Eventually, messages arrive that cause Matthew and Diana to have to leave Sept-Tours and return to England. One of the messages is that a Scottish witch has been tortured into confessing that she practices witchcraft. Matthew must return to England to gather information about the situation.
Back in the present, Ysabeau is in the library at Sept-Tours with Diana's aunts, Sarah Bishop and Emily Mather, who are witches and a couple. They agree that they need to notice any historical anomalies that may crop up in the present as a result of Matthew and Diana's actions in the past. They also discuss the possibility of mixed species children, such as a vampire born of a witch.
In London at the Blackfriars, Matthew and Diana move into a house and are greeted by Matthew's friend, Henry Percy, who is Earl of Northumberland, as well as Gallowglass. News arrives of a Scottish wizard being sentenced to death. Diana discovers a roomful of secret and historical information that enables the Knights of Lazarus to help protect those in its care, such as possible reasons why the humans are persecuting witches. Matthew finds out that Diana is pregnant with his child, even though that seemed impossible. Diana feels that she needs to find a witch to help her with her magic, in part, so she can better understand who she is, but Matthew wants to return to the present for safety. Diana also reminds Matthew that one of their goals in timewalking to 1590 is to find the possible book of origins, Ashmole 782.
At Henry Percy's suggestion, Diana becomes friends with Matthew's friend, the alchemist and Countess of Pembroke, Mary Sidney. Henry and Mary give gifts to Matthew and Diana of exquisite miniature portraits of each other.
Matthew and Diana are summoned by vampire Father Andrew Hubbard, who rules over vampires, witches and daemons in London to some extent, except members of Matthew's family, the de Clermonts. However, it is being Philippe's blood-sworn daughter that saves Diana from Hubbard's claim of obedience to his wishes. Diana asks Hubbard to recommend a witch teacher, and Hubbard sends a fourteen-year-old witch named Annie Undercroft, who will also live in her house. Annie facilitates Diana meeting a powerful witch, Goody Alsop, who can create new magical spells, called a weaver. Goody says that Diana is a weaver too. Goody warns Matthew and Diana that witches fear weavers' power, and that weavers are kept secret for their own protection.
Chapter 20: Back in the present, Miss Phoebe Taylor is working late at Sotheby's auction house in London when Dr. Marcus Whitmore of the de Clermont family shows up for his appointment to examine two miniature portraits that we discover are those of Matthew and Diana from the past. Marcus purchases the miniatures to keep them out of the news, and invites Phoebe to a meal.
In 1590, when Matthew catches a homeless orphan, Jack, trying to pickpocket from Diana, Diana compassionately arranges for Jack to live in their house and help with household duties.
Goody Alsop arranges witch teachers for Diana, and facilitates Diana weaving her forspell to find out her magical talents and reveal her familiar. Diana's familiar turns out to be a firedrake, who protects her by helping her hide from others that she is a magically talented weaver. Goody says that only a witch who is a weaver could become pregnant from a vampire. Unfortunately, Diana has a miscarriage, and both Matthew and she deeply mourn the loss.
While weaving her forspell with the support of the other witches, Diana finds herself talking with the goddess, who tells her that in return for saving Matthew's life (see the first book of the series), the goddess will make use of Diana's life. When Diana finds herself back with the other witches, one of the witches gives her a piece of the magical rowan tree that Diana had called forth. Later, Matthew and Diana discuss that they both have power over life and death, which is a big responsibility. Diana continues to learn from the witches, and starts to weave spells using colored threads. She realizes that the practices of magic and history both require formulating better questions.
Finally, George Chapman obtains information about the possible location of Ashmole 782. Diana and Matthew go to visit Queen Elizabeth's astrologer, alchemist Dr. John Dee. It turns out that when Dr. Dee was in Prague, his book that might be Ashmole 782 was taken and the Voynich manuscript was substituted. Matthew offers to switch them back for him and Dr. Dee agrees. Lord Burghley shows up at Blackfriars and warns Diana to leave London because Queen Elizabeth is unhappy that her spy and favorite, Matthew, married without her permission. Matthew and Diana are summoned to court by Queen Elizabeth. The Queen wants to send Matthew to Prague to get back the alchemist and daemon, Edward Kelley, from Rudolf II, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. With Mary Sidney's help, the Queen allows Diana to go with Matthew.
In the present, Verin de Clermont, a vampire daughter of Philippe's, and her non-vampire husband, Ernst Neumann, travel to Sept-Tours when Verin hears the news of historical anomalies starting to appear. Gallowglass also goes to Sept-Tours, as his grandfather, Philippe, had earlier asked him to do when the signs appeared.
In Prague in the past, Matthew and Diana are invited by Rudolf to bring the book they carried from Dr. Dee, the Voynich manuscript. Matthew asks to see the book that Edward Kelley got from Dr. Dee, which they believe is Ashmole 782. Having been told that Matthew and Diana are married only to protect Diana from charges of witchcraft, Rudolf takes a lascivious interest in Diana and starts sending her inappropriate gifts. Matthew and Diana catch Edward Kelley at home one night, telling him that Queen Elizabeth wants him to return to England. Matthew intimidates him into revealing that he has Dr. Dee's illustrated alchemical book but that he cannot read it.
Matthew and Diana visit Rabbi Judah Loew. Then, Diana meets vampire Herr Fuchs and a weaver, Abraham ben Elijah, who created the golem. Abraham advises her to ask for Ashmole 782 when the opportunity arises.
When Diana returns home, Matthew possessively makes love to her, wanting her reassurance that despite the scents of other men on her from her day, he is the only one she loves. They next spend the day with Rudolf and his courtiers, hunting grouse. One courtier suggests putting on a play, and Rudolf allows Diana to arrange for it. Back at their house, Matthew finally admits to Diana that he wants to possess Diana as vampire mates do, by drinking some of the blood from a vein near her heart, in order to know that she isn't hiding anything from him. After he does that, Diana kisses Matthew's forehead with a witch's kiss to know his thoughts too. By doing so, she realizes that the vampire who was introduced to her as Herr Fuchs is actually Matthew's vampire son, Benjamin, who suffers from blood rage like Matthew. The day arrives for the play, which is such a success that Rudolf offers to Diana whatever reward she wishes. Thinking of Abraham's advice, she asks to see Ashmole 782. After a number of days, Rudolf invites Diana and Matthew to view his curiosities, and they finally get to see Ashmole 782. Diana sees the illustrations on the three pages that are missing from the present-day copy of the alchemical book. Matthew detects that the book is made up of organic material containing DNA from many vampires, witches and daemons. It's the lost Book of Life. Together with Gallowglass, Matthew steals the book from Rudolf's palace that evening, but now it is damaged by the loss of the three illustrated pages. Matthew and Diana travel back to England with Annie, Jack and Gallowglass. While on the way, Matthew discovers that Diana is pregnant again with his child. Matthew tells Diana that the book contains so much information, it could be used to destroy all the vampires, witches and daemons. However, he also says that he realizes he might not need the book to know the meaning of his existence as much as he thought. He is a husband, father and vampire, and exists to make a difference.
In the present, witch Peter Knox visits a monastery library in Prague. He discovers Rabbi Loew's 1609 letter, telling Benjamin that Edward Kelley had given one of the three illustrated pages to him, which he gave to Abraham. Edward Kelley said that he gave the other two to the "angel of death" and "angel of life." Rabbi Loew urges Benjamin to make up his rift with Benjamin's vampire father Matthew. Peter Knox discusses the letter with vampire Gerbert of Aurillac (see chapter 7). They are both members of the Congregation, which helps enforce the covenant that vampires, witches and daemons are not allowed to intermix. Gerbert tells him that another vampire son of Matthew's, Marcus, who is the leader of the Knights of Lazarus in Matthew's absence, has demanded that the covenant be repealed.
Back in 1590s England, Queen Elizabeth is angry that Matthew did not bring Edward Kelley back from Prague as she had demanded. She questions Matthew about the stolen book, which is Ashmole 782, and which Diana sent away with Gallowglass to Blackfriars when the queen's barge diverted Matthew and Diana to meet with the queen. Finally, the queen detains Matthew to receive his report and allows Diana to go to their room at the castle. Unfortunately, Kit persuades Diana to go to Greenwich tiltyard with him. Matthew's deranged vampire sister, Louisa de Clermont, is there. She and Kit attack Diana, whose firedrake familiar helps protect her and the baby she carries. Once Matthew and others arrive to rescue Diana, Louisa tells him that Diana is the witch in a prophecy that says that her child will destroy them all. It's Meridiana's prophecy that Gerbert had told Ysabeau. Diana becomes afraid that she will be the source of a dangerous and deadly force.
Thereafter, Father Hubbard tells Diana that Matthew has imprisoned Louisa and Kit at Bedlam. They go there and Diana helps Matthew free himself from his blood rage, entrusting Kit to Hubbard and Louisa to Gallowglass.
On a later day, Diana and Matthew are strolling around St. Paul's and find that Diana's father is there. Her father, Dr. Stephen Proctor, is a timewalking weaver too. Diana and her father are very glad to spend time together, including a visit with Goody Alsop and the other witches during which Diana's father urges Diana to set aside her fear of the unknown, and to relax and enjoy the reality of her magical abilities. Her father gets a chance to look at Ashmole 782. He advises Diana and Matthew to return to their own time and that they cannot bring the book with them.
On Midsummer Eve, Diana's father advises Diana and Matthew to go out and enjoy a date together. They climb up to the top of a medieval church, kiss and enjoy the view of London. In the morning, they discover that Diana's father has gone back to his present, leaving her a thoughtful note.
When Diana visits Goody Alsop one last time before preparing to return with Matthew to their present, Goody teaches her how to make a tenth knot in her magical cords, in case she needs to use magic as a weapon. Diana also goes to see Father Hubbard, who demands a drop of her blood in exchange for his promise not to harm the 1590s Matthew who will return once the timewalking Matthew has left, nor Jack who has been living with Diana and Matthew as a foster child. Hubbard will also find Annie a new home in which to work. By tasting the drop of Diana's blood, Hubbard discovers her true birth name is Diana Bishop. Diana brings Kit home to Matthew so they can patch up their relationship as much as they can. She sends Jack with Henry Percy and Thomas Harriot so they can look after him. Gallowglass agrees to take care of the white feather, Diana's bit of the rowan tree, her father's note, and a pebble in Diana's spell box.
In the present, Ysabeau realizes that Matthew and Diana are coming back from the past when she sees more historical anomalies. She acknowledges to Marcus that he loves the human, Phoebe (see chapter 20), whom he has brought to Sept-Tours. Many others are staying at Sept-Tours as well. Meanwhile, the Congregation has been demanding Ashmole 782 as well as daemons Sophie and Nathaniel's witch daughter, Margaret.
Diana and Matthew finally are able to timewalk back to their present, but only to the Bishop house in Madison, New York. They receive the missing Ashmole 782 page they had left there and travel to Sept-Tours to meet up with everyone there. Sophie, Margaret, Ysabeau and Sarah are waiting in the road for them near Sept-Tours. Ysabeau detects two heartbeats, and Diana confirms that Matthew discovered that Diana is carrying twins, Matthew's children.