Perhaps I’m the last woman left in the country who doesn’t think it would be romantic to be in love with a tall, dark man who could suck my blood at any moment. In any case, although I first thought that Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy was refreshingly original, by the third book I was not as charmed by this complicated series.
In The Book of Life, Diana Bishop, a timewalker and special kind of witch called a weaver, and her vampire husband Matthew Clairmont have returned from the past where Diana was learning her skills. They have one of three missing pages from a manuscript called Ashmole 782, or The Book of Life, and they are trying to find the others to reunite them with the book. It was Diana’s accidental retrieval of this book from the Bodleian Library that started all the action. Diana is also pregnant with Matthew’s children.
Matthew and Diana are in violation of the Covenant, an old agreement among witches, vampires, and daemons that they will not associate with each other. They think the Book of Life may provide information about the origins of the three creature races and even help Matthew with his research into a deadly vampire disease called blood rage.
In addition, they are being pursued by Benjamin Clairmont, a crazed child of Matthew who wants Diana and her daughter.
Like the second book of the trilogy, The Book of Life seems rather scattered to me, with Diana and Matthew running here and there on their various quests. The spots in the plot that could be climactic can be a bit of a let-down, as, for example, we don’t even get to hear what Diana has to say to the Congregation when she finally presents the evidence she and Matthew have collected.
After reading the first two books, I wanted to see what happened, and I was fond of several of the characters. But I didn’t think the novel was romantic, nor do I have much use in general for the overprotective male partner.