I first came across the series when it showed up as a suggested title on Prime Video. I was looking for stories about vampires, so I very nearly skipped this one thinking it was all about witches. Then I saw someone in my twitter-feed who said it was like Twilight if Bella had a degree, and Edward actually was interesting…
A first google search told me the story was set in Oxford and that Diana Bishop, the main character, is studying old manuscripts at the Bodleian Library. That information, plus the presence of a vampire, was all I needed to know, really. I was fortunate enough to be granted a week at St John’s College, with full access to the Bod, back in the days when I was still useful. It really is one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever been to, and the thought of a story that takes off from there is intriguing. It’s like a “You got me at Bodleian” kinda thing, if you know what I mean.
So, what has Stage 1 of my flirt with this series taught me? Other than that it’ll take us to Oxford, that is? Well, like Twilight, this is a story that is set in our world. We’re not in America, which makes for a nice contrast, and any students we come across will be adults rather than teenagers. That feels like a nice twist too. Oh, and there’s time travel in this one.
Just like Twilight, A Discovery of Witches also deals with the concept of vampires living in our world. And not only vampires; as the title suggests, there are witches here too. And daemons. Three different types of creatures who, according to the intros I’ve read, are “hiding in plain sight. Fearful of discovery. Ill at ease, even with each other.”
The All Souls Trilogy consists of three (duh!) books:
– A Discovery of Witches (2011);
– Shadow of Night (2012); and
– The Book of Life (2014).
There are also two companion books:
– The All Souls Real-Time Reading Companion (2015); and
– The World of All Souls: A Complete Guide to A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and the Book of Life (2018).
In 2018, Deborah Harkness also released Time’s Convert, a stand-alone novel expanding on the story before and after the events in the trilogy.
The All Souls Trilogy is the story of Doctor Diana Bishop, a 34-year-old American historian specialising in Alchemy. She comes to Oxford as the year’s Visiting Research Fellow, planning to spend most of her time scrutinising old manuscripts and writing another book. But of course, after two weeks in the Bodleian, she meets a mysterious man who just happens to be the love of her life. His name is Matthew Clairmont, and he’s a geneticist at Oxford’s All Souls College. And a 1500-year-old vampire.
I’m not sure what kind of timespan this story covers, and I have no idea how – or where – it ends. Which is exactly the way it should be.
I’m about to go on a date with Diana Bishop.
CREDITS & COPYRIGHTS INFORMATION
Disclaimer: As We Write (AWW) is an independent, non-profit blog owned by Evalena Styf. AWW is not affiliated with Deborah Harkness, the All Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches (ADOW), Penguin Books, Bad Wolf, Sky UK, Sky Studios, Sky Vision, NBC Universal International Distribution or any other production or broadcast entities associated with All Souls or ADOW or any other titles mentioned.
Photo, Graphics, Audio and Video: Photos from All Souls, ADOW or any other titles discussed in this post are either screenshots or promotional pictures released by the distributor(s). All other pictures are from CanvaPro unless another source is mentioned. Any audio/video clips used in this post are strictly for commentary purposes. This usage falls under Fair Use according to US copyright law.