The Daemon Guide to 'The Book of Life'

 

Presenting “The Daemon Guide to The Book of Life", Book 3 of the All Souls Trilogy."

This guide assumes you have read ‘A Discovery of Witches’ and 'Shadow of Night'.  If you haven’t, you can go back to our Daemon Guide to ‘A Discovery of Witches’ or the Daemon Guide to 'Shadow of Night' and pick it up from there.  This guide will be long because of the length of the recap for Shadow of Night; the recap is not very detailed, and we suggest you read Shadow of Night prior to proceeding with The Book of Life.  This guide will conclude this series of Daemon Guides to the All Souls Trilogy--we may have supplements to add later as downloadable items!  Currently, we only have the Bishop-Clairmont family tree info-graphics in our downloads library available.  We will be adding more as time goes on.  We hope you've enjoyed the books so far!

To help you follow along, you may want to look at the Pinterest Boards covering The Book of Life.  Start with "Sol in Cancer".

Sol in Cancer

1. 'Shadow of Night' Recap

Speke Hall - The inspiration for the Old Lodge
Woodstock - The Old Lodge
Diana and Matthew made it!  They successfully traveled from 2009 to 1590!  What's more, they landed exactly where they intended!  Good, right?  Well, there are...issues.  Diana is really out of place and out of step with the 16th century, and there are obstacles in the way of her and Matthew spending some nice quiet time by the fire!

Issue #1.  Kit Marlowe.  His first words of Diana to Matthew:  “I had no idea there was a brothel in Woodstock that specialized in overtall women. Most of your whores are more delicate and appealing, Matthew. This one is a positive Amazon,” Kit sniffed, looking over his shoulder at the disordered drifts of paper that littered the surface of the table. “According to the Old Fox’s latest, it was business rather than lust that took you to the north. Wherever did you find the time to secure her services?” And that was him being polite!  Things hardly improved after that either.  We all remember from ADOW that Kit had a bit of a crush on Matthew (to put it mildly).  Do they prove to be a problem?  In SON, absolutely!

Issue #2.  Diana didn't blend into the time period well.  She was too big for Louisa's old clothing, her accent was all wrong, and she had no idea how to act like an Elizabethan woman.  In her efforts to concentrate on that, she drew conflict from Matthew who was intent on getting her a teacher so they can return back to the present time armed with Diana's magic to ward off the Congregation and discover the secrets of Ashmole 782.  Matthew's friends (The School of Night) tried to help by coming up with elaborate stories to explain away her differences.  The servant Françoise tried to come to Diana's aide by calling for some gloves and shoes to be made.  Matthew summoned the Widow Beaton to the house as a witch teacher for Diana.  Matthew, his friends, and even Diana with all of their good intentions really messed up with this one.  With word out that "the devil was in Woodstock" the town clergy gathered to close in on Diana.

Issue #3 Matthew's past. Enter Matthew's boisterous, large nephew by Hugh de Clermont, Gallowglass.  Gallowglass brings news of impending interrogations from the townspeople.  In this conversation it comes out that Matthew is a spy for the Queen and a member of the very congregation that hunts them in the present.  Since Gallowglass had lost Matthew of the past, he notified Philippe de Clermont--Head of the de Clermont family, Ysabeau's late-husband, and Matthew's father.  We know Philippe to be dead, in the present, but in 1590, he was very much alive.  Matthew is summoned to return to Sept-Tours.

Château Dauphin - Sept Tours inspiration
Sept-Tours and the Village of Saint-Lucien
Gallowglass accompanied Diana and Matthew as far as Mont Saint-Michel.  Gallowglass refused to go further due to the death of Hugh by the hands of the French.  When Matthew is greeted by the Cardinal Joyeuse in the manner of royalty, it really gives Diana an idea of the esteem and power the de Clermonts yielded in France.  She added that knowledge to the many titles Matthew had held in the past.  "Scientist. Vampire. Warrior. Spy.  The bells paused before the final knell.  Prince."   It put her in the proper frame of mind when they traveled by horseback over a hundred miles in the course of two days the rest of the way to Sept-Tours.  She knew she was getting ready to meet the king.

Philippe de Clermont did not seem very pleased to meet his daughter-in-law.  The reception was rather tense.  Philippe proved to be extremely observant—he had figured out that Diana and Matthew had come from the 'future'.  He spotted Ysabeau's ring on Diana's finger (giving him indication that Ysabeau approved).  He also learned that he wouldn't be around during Diana and Matthew's present to help them out then.  Reluctantly, he gave shelter to Diana in a room next to his because it turned out Matthew and Diana weren't fully mated, and Philippe being a bit old-fashioned would not allow Diana share a room with Matthew!  Wow, Matthew had some explaining to do.  Their stay was riddled with a bunch of 'tests' by Philippe.  Diana was charged with running the household because she was the highest ranking woman in the castle at the time.  After enlisting Alain and Pierre as her assistants, she managed to navigate that.  Diana found out about Matthew's blood rage.  It explained so much about Matthew's behavior in ADOW.  The scene read as if Philippe brought it out in Matthew purposely to test Diana's love and resolve.  She passed. Philippe took Diana through a ritual making her his blood-sworn daughter.  The fatherly advice he had for Diana was "Think--and stay alive."  During this time she learned that Matthew had another son named Benjamin.  He had passed the blood rage on to him.

The final test was the witch brought in from Lyon, André Champier.  Champier attempted to extract Diana's memories in order to learn more about her; she proceeded to kill him without thought or hesitation.  Philippe seemed to think this was a good enough show of loyalty to the family and ordered that Matthew and Diana be married in the church.  Diana and Matthew went through a three day event.  A feast one day, the ceremony the next and a day of receiving gifts from the villagers on the last.  They spend the next week or so "fully mating", and then they proceed to prepare for Saturnalia.  Shortly afterwards, news comes that Matthew is being summoned by the Queen, and Champier's friends are looking for him because he's been missing for a while. Time for them to go!  Before Diana and Matthew leave, Diana promises Philippe that he will never be alone in the darkness, and that she will hold his hand when he needs it most (paraphrased).  Philippe arranged their transport back to England immediately.  It would be the last time Diana or Matthew will see him alive.

London: The Blackfriers
Diana and Matthew make it back to England.  Matthew's old crew is there awaiting his arrival.  Many events occur during this period:  Matthew and Diana find out she is pregnant.  Diana makes friends with Mary Sidney who in turn allows Diana to assist in her lab.  Father Hubbard (the vampire king of London) learns of her existence during Diana's botched attempt to find a witch teacher.  After meeting and reaching a fragile detente, Hubbard sends one of his 'children' to help her out—a teen witch named Annie.  Soon after, Matthew and Diana take in a small homeless boy named Jack.  Eventually she finds a witch teacher in Goody Alsop; she's also taken in by a small coven to help her with her powers.  She finds out she's a weaver.  She meets the yet to be named 'Corra'.  She miscarries.  Thanks to George Chapman, they get a possible lead on Ashmole 782.  They visit John Dee's library and find that the book in question is likely in Edward Kelley's hands in Prague.  Matthew and Diana are summoned to court to see Queen Elizabeth I.  Matthew is then ordered to Prague by the Queen to retrieve Edward Kelley—she seeks the philosopher's stone in order to get money for the kingdom, and the perhaps the added benefit of the elixir of life.  She believes Kelley possesses it.   She doesn't want it in Hapsburg hands.  Diana is allowed to accompany because the Queen owes Mary Sidney a favor.  Off to Prague they go!
 
The Great Hall at Prague Castle


The Empire: Prague
Diana and Matthew make it to Prague with Gallowglass in tow.  Jack, Annie and Pierre later join them.  Matthew attempts to seek an audience with the Emperor Rudolf for a dual purpose - finding Edward Kelley and getting Ashmole 782 in it's full state.  Well, this trip goes a bit loopy!  After finally getting the attention of the Emperor, Matthew is summoned to see him.  He is instructed to bring "the witch"--Rudolf has a fascination with occult arts...and women.  After meeting Diana, he is enthralled.  He continually adds insult to injury by sending her elaborate gifts,  instructing his court to pamper her, provide dancing lessons and have her portrait painted.  Matthew doesn't appreciate any of this, but he plays along for the end game.  His temper seems to break when Rudolf sends over the exotic beast,  Lobero.  After some investigation on Diana's part (via gossip at the market), they find Edward Kelley.  The confrontation ends with Matthew hanging him out the window by his ankle.  Kelley reveals that the Rabbi Loew has examined the book and confirmed that it was not written in Hebrew.

Matthew and Diana go to visit Rabbi Loew to see if he knows more of the lost Ashmole 782.  The Rabbi says he has seen the book, and also asks Diana what she needs of it.  Diana knows at this point another witch has told the Rabbi about her.  She goes on to explain that she seeks to book to find out about creatures like her and Matthew.  She asks to meet the witch who she suspects is a weaver like she is.  Diana is then escorted to meet the other witch, Abraham.  She is fascinated and thrilled to meet another weaver.  It's during this visit she learns weavers are hunted and killed for what they are.  Abraham laments that he longs for the day that children born with these gifts are allowed to live.  He also said that the congregation did nothing to stop the killings, and perhaps even encouraged it.  After Diana's firedrake meets Abraham's golem, they discuss their different methods of weaving.  Abraham instructs Diana to ask for what she seeks, and she'll receive it.  They are interrupted by a vampire.  Herr Fuchs.  Diana is escorted out of there and Matthew meets with them to return their home in Prague.

Once at home, Diana notices Matthew is very upset.  Matthew reveals that he cannot stand having all of these unknown people around her, and his sense of her gets lost with the people she's been with throughout the day.  A really heated argument occurs however, after Diana and Matthew are asked to go hunting with Rudolf and his court where Diana is told to plan a play for Rudolf.  Matthew finally revealed that vampire mates take blood from the heart vein in order to get a secure sense of each other and to ensure no secrets are being kept.  Diana insists Matthew takes her blood.  After fighting it, Matthew finally does.  Diana devises a spell that would do something similar so she could get a sense of Matthew.  Many things are revealed...including that Herr Fuchs is Matthew's son, Benjamin.  We figure this is the final step in what Philippe meant when he said "fully mated."  From this point on Matthew and Diana are a true team.

After putting on a successful play, Rudolf is so pleased with Diana he offers her a chance to ask for anything she pleases.  She asks to see Dr. Dee's book.  Rudolf grants her wish.  They are invited to dinner with Rudolf.  One of his guests is a witch and knows that Diana is not who she says she is.  She indicates to Gallowglass to be on guard.  When she finally gets to look at Ashmole 782 in it's unbroken state, she realized it had much more power than she initially thought.  Gallowglass and Matthew sense that the book is made of creature skin and put together with hair and blood.  Edward Kelley then lost control and revealed that he hears the book speak to him.   He rips three pages out of the book and is in clear distress.  Gallowglass gets Matthew and Diana out of there (after maiming and perhaps killing a few guards).  When they return home, Jack revealed that he had the key to the throne room (he was an able pick-pocket and thief, after all!)  Matthew and Gallowglass go back to retrieve the book.  Diana is instructed to pack the children and get ready for their escape back to England.

When they are on their journey back to England with Ashmole782 in hand, Matthew senses that Diana is pregnant again.


Harkness' inspiration for
Matthew and Diana's house in London
London: The Blackfriers
The Queen was not very happy that Matthew was unable to bring Edward Kelley to her.  Diana and Matthew eventually manage to mollify her.  Matthew stays to attend to the Queen and his court, while Diana goes to rest in his rooms in the castle.  Kit Marlowe is waiting in Matthew's rooms and somehow convinces her come out to see the tilt yard.  Diana thought it was his attempt to be friendly.  It winds up instead being a trap set by him and Louisa de Clermont.  Kit wanted Diana dead, so he imagined the was the best way to accomplish it was to tell Louisa that Diana cast a spell on Matthew.  Diana remembers Philippe's advice "Think—and stay alive", and is able to fly away from the two of them and trap them in turn.  Matthew is alerted that Louisa and Kit have done this and comes out to rescue Diana.  She didn't need it.  Matthew took Kit and Louisa to Bedlam to be held.  Eventually Diana convinces Matthew to release Kit into Father Hubbard's care and to send Louisa to Philippe to be dealt with.

As a final twist in this story, Diana runs into Stephen (her father) who time-walked to the same time and place in 1591.  Diana suspects he's looking for Ashmole 782 as well.  He looks at the book and it's revealed that Peter Knox had known Stephen and Rebecca, and he had always been fascinated with the dark aspects of the craft.  After catching up with each other for a few days, Stephen accompanies Diana to Goody Alsop.  He shows her not to fear her magic, and have fun with it occasionally.  This is when Diana realizes she's ready to head back.  Stephen leaves, and Matthew and Diana make their preparations to head back to the present time.  Gallowglass is left with many instructions from Matthew to ensure things will be in tact upon their return to the present.  Ashmole 782 is returned to John Dee with the assumption that it will eventually make it's way back to the Bodleian, where she initially found it.

New World, Old World.
Matthew and Diana time-walk back to the present.  They arrive in Madison at the Bishop house, pack their bags and go to Sept-Tours to be greeted by Ysabeau, Sarah, Sophie and her new baby Margaret.  Diana reveals that she is pregnant with twins.  They head back to the house to be greeted by the creatures who gathered to meet them there.

"In every ending there is a new beginning."

This brings us to The Book of Life.  At Sept-Tours is where Diana learns of Emily's death.  Hamish, Fernando, Sarah, Verin, Marcus, Phoebe, Ysabeau, Nathaniel, Sophie, Alain, Marthe and last but not least Gallowglass are there to help plan their next move.  Baldwin joins later. . .

Gallowglass has a hard time getting Corra to restrain herself from destroying Ysabeau's precious items...

2. The Characters 

 Let's review the following character concepts before proceeding to our character biographies:

Creatures

Daemons - According to Diana:  “…creative, artistic creatures who walk a tightrope between madness and genius. ‘Rock stars and serial killers’ was how my aunt described these strange, perplexing beings.”  To explain further, daemons can be creative, brilliant but often misunderstood.

Witches -  Witches in this series are depicted pretty much the same in lore as most.  Some are talented at spell casting/potion making for healing, removing negative energy, and many other tasks from the mundane to the fantastic.  Others are gifted with elemental powers, can fly and do not need spell books to perform their magic.

Vampires - beautiful, predatory, and mysterious.  In the AST universe, vampires do not have fangs, have a heartbeat (albeit a slow one), come out during the day, are long-lived, and don’t age from the time they were changed.  They can eat *some* solid food, and liquor and wine are favorites.  

The creatures consist of 10 percent of the population (1 in 10 people in this universe will be a creature).  

The Creature institutions

The Congregation - We’ll cite Ysabeau’s quote for a quick summary of what the Congregation is, and the reason it was established: “A council of nine—three from each order of daemons, witches, and vampires. It was established during the Crusades to keep us from being exposed to the humans. We were careless and became too involved in their politics and other forms of insanity.”    When creatures break the covenant, it’s the Congregation’s responsibility to right the wrong.

The Knights of Lazarus -  The Knights of Lazarus is an organization originally built to protect and help creatures when they are in need.  Marcus currently holds the title of Grand Master.

Main Characters

Diana Bishop - TBOL is written mainly from her POV.  She’s a professor, a historian, a scholar and a witch.  She's gone back in time, discovered her powers and is ready to use them (as demonstrated several times in the first few chapters at Sept-Tours. )  She's pregnant with twins who are Matthew's.  She's still hiding from a congregation that wants "The Lost Book" or "The Book of Life."  She's got a husband who is over-protective because of his blood rage.  And it turns out this 'blood rage' is a big deal.  The congregation kills creatures like Matthew.  Diana is on a mission to find The Book of Life in order to know about creatures and their histories.  Mainly, she needs to know the secrets it holds so she'll know about their future.  This is a daunting task, but she's determined to make this work for the safety of her family.

Matthew Clairmont - Matthew Clairmont comes back from 1590-91 a somewhat changed man.  Since he's mated with Diana (in all respects), he has a hard time leaving her side.  His son wants him to form a new branch of the de Clermont family so they can get from underneath Baldwin's thumb. This will mean finding all of his children and grandchildren with the intent of getting them to agree be in a family with Matthew as it's head.  His "bad seed" son Benjamin is on the loose and has found out about Diana being pregnant (via a spy network led by Gerbert).  He worries for his wife and children's safety in this new era he's helping to usher in.  He realizes it's going to take more creatures to get involved (including humans) to solve these problems.  For the elusive, reclusive Matthew Clairmont, this is a hard journey to take.

Character notes on these two: Diana and Matthew's final volume is full of adventure and discovery.  From Diana revealing that she is a weaver to Sarah and members of the Madison coven, to Matthew agreeing to study creature genetics in a lab with daemons, vampires and humans.   They have a period of separation where they learn more about themselves and what they can handle with the help of family.  In the end, Matthew allows his queen to make her move without stifling her, and Diana learns what she must do to protect her family, including her king.  In many ways they've come full circle.  In A Discovery of Witches, we find Matthew rescuing Diana, with Baldwin's help, and in the end it was Diana that came to Matthew's rescue...with Baldwin's help.  It's a growth and learning experience for them both, and a satisfying ending to a great story.

Secondary Characters: (in order of appearance)

Marcus Whitmore - Vampire. Matthew's son.  Head of The Knights of Lazarus.
Phoebe Taylor - Human.  Marcus's mate/fiancée.  Curator for a major auction house in London.
Fernando Gonçalves - Vampire.  Matthew's brother-in-law via Hugh de Clermont.  Gallowglass' step-father.
Gallowglass de Clermont - Vampire.  Matthew's nephew via Hugh. Charged by Philippe to watch over Diana.
Marthe - Vampire.  Sept-Tours housekeeper and cook.  Ysabeau's servant.
Sarah Bishop - Witch.  Diana's aunt.
Hamish Osborne - Daemon.  Matthew's best friend and closest confident in present day.  He serves as the de Clermont lawyer.
Ysabeau de Clermont - Vampire. Matthew's mother by re-birth, and matriarch of the de Clermont family.
Baldwin de Clermont - Vampire.  Head of the de Clermont family, and Matthew's step-brother.  Ysabeaus's stepson. Diana's blood brother as the result of Philippe's blood vow.
Verin de Clermont - Vampire.  One of Philippe's full blood daughters.  Matthew's step-sister.  Ysabeau's stepdaughter.  Diana's blood sister as the result of Philippe's blood vow.
Benjamin Fuchs/Fox Vampire.  Matthew's son.
Miriam Shephard - Vampire.  Matthew's lab assistant, resides in Oxford.  Charged by Philippe to watch over Matthew.
Vivian Harrison - Witch.  Head of the Madison coven to which Sarah belongs.
Christopher Roberts - Human.  Diana's colleague at Yale University and best friend.  A Scientist.
Jack Blackfriers - Vampire.  For all intents and purposes, Matthew and Diana's adopted son.
Father Hubbard - Vampire.  Matthew's grandson, Benjamin's son, Jack's sire/maker.
Leonard Shoreditch - Vampire.  One of Father Hubbards flock; as a result a member of Matthew and Diana's family.
Linda Crosby - Witch.  Head of the London Coven.
Amira - Witch.  Matthew's friend who stays at The Old Lodge.
Timothy Weston - Daemon.  The "latte loving daemon" from Discovery of Witches.  Holds the key to unlock the secrets of The Book of Life.
Ransome Fayrweather - Vampire.  Marcus's son.  Matthew's grandson.  Head of the faction of Marcus's family in New Orleans
Gerbert of Aurillac - Vampire.  Head of the Vampire family in the Cantal.  Member of the Congregation
Domenico Michele - Vampire.  You'll remember him from A Discovery of Witches.  Stationed in Venice.  Member of the Congregation.
Janet Gowdie - Witch (?), kind of...! Member of the congregation.  Related to Matthew, via Benjamin.
Satu Järvinen - Witch.  You'll remember her as Diana's torturer in A Discovery of Witches.  Member of the Congregation.
Peter Knox - Wizard.  Ousted from the congregation due to his actions in Shadow of Night.

The other players

•  At Sept-Tours
Alain Le Merle - Vampire. Philippe's former squire, and part of the household staff at Sept-Tours
Victoire Le Merle - Vampire.  Alain's wife and part of the household staff at Sept-Tours
Ernst Nueman - Human.  Verin's husband

•  In Madison
Smitty - Human.  Hardware store owner
Abby and Caleb Pratt - Witch/Wizard.  Part of the Madison coven
John and Grace Pratt - Wizard/Witch. (we assume) The Pratt's children

•  At Yale/New Haven
Lucy Meriweather - Human.  A Beinecke Librarian.
Chris's lab assistants/students - by the nicknames he bestowed upon them:
Beaker
Bones
HazMat
ShotGun
Scully
Mulder

•  The London Coven
Cassandra, Tamsin - Witches.

•  At the Bodleian Library 
Sean - Human.

•  At the Baptism
Rebecca and Philip Bishop-Clairmont - Matthew and Diana's Twins
Sophie Norman - Daemon.  Wife of Nathaniel Wilson,  mother of Margaret Wilson.
Nathaniel Wilson - Daemon.  Husband of Sophie Norman, son of Agatha Wilson, father of Margaret Wilson.  A Knight of Lazarus.
Agatha Wilson - Daemon.  Mother of Nathaniel Wilson, father of Margaret Wilson.  A member of the Congregation.
Margaret Wilson - Witch.  Sophie and Nathaniel's daughter.
Giles - Vampire.  A Knight of Lazarus
Russell - Vampire.  A Knight of Lazarus
Oliver - Vampire.  A Knight of Lazarus

• The Congregation
Rima Jaén - Human.  Congregation Librarian
Osamu Watanabe - Daemon. Member
Tatiana Alkaev - Daemon. Member
Sidonie von Borcke - Witch. Member

• Ghosts
Philippe de Clermont - Vampire.  Ysabeau's late husband, former sire of the de Clermonts
Emily Mather - Witch.  Sarah's former life-partner.  Diana's step-aunt
Rebecca Bishop - Witch.  Diana's late mother.  Sarah's sister.
Stephen Proctor - Wizard.  Diana's late father.  Rebecca's husband.

• Characters in their own right.
The House - The Bishop House.
Corra - Diana's firedrake and familiar.
Tabitha - Sarah's cat.
The Goddess - Self explanatory.

3. Literature within Literature

In The Book of Life, there is no shortage of authors, poets and writers.  From “Abelard, Marlowe and Darwin to Thoreau, Wyatt and Shelley (perhaps both of them!), there is an abundance of literature within the literature.  There are even a few literature Easter Eggs in places you’d least expect them.  And even some of the All Souls Trilogy’s own beloved have inspired some of the greats…

One of the opening pages of The Book of Life


4. Places

The itinerary in Book of Life is fast paced and varied. We revisit familiar places and travel to some exciting new ones. In addition to Sept Tours, Madison, New York, London and Oxford, we add New Haven, New Orleans, Venice and Poland to our AST bucket list.
The Beinecke Rare Books Library - the "ice-cube tray"
 New Haven and Yale University give us a glimpse into Diana's life BMC - Before Matthew Clairmont.  It was the life of a solitary scholar with a base of operations rather than a home. Surprisingly, she learns she has been surrounded by family for years. University landmarks dominate our time here as intellectual investigation dominates Matthew and Diana's life here.
http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/Mayor/History_New_Haven.asp

And how can you have a story populated with dashing, French vampires without spending some time in New Orleans? What a perfect de Clermont family outpost in the new world. We get a glimpse into the French roots of New Orleans and the modern face of old New Orleans royalty through the rogue of the de Clermonts.
http://www.storyvilledistrictnola.com/

Aerial view of Poveglia near Venice
Venice is the ideal setting for the home base of the Congregation. We visit this moody, atmospheric place in the dead of winter. It embodies the history of creatures and creates an indelible picture in the reader's mind.  Throw an enchanted island modeled on Poveglia into the mix, and you have one of the daemons' favorite settings.  If a city has a personality. Venice's is "mad, bad and dangerous to know".
http://mentalfloss.com/article/24658/strange-geographies-happy-haunted-island-poveglia
http://www.localhistories.org/venice.html

Sadly, our time in Polish country side revisits its dark history under the thumb of the Nazis in WWII. Chelm has strong links to Jewish history (and the history woven through AST).
http://www.timesofisrael.com/the-serious-history-of-a-comical-town/
http://www.ushmm.org/learn/holocaust-encyclopedia  

5. Themes

Just as in the first two books of the trilogy, the themes such as self-acceptance, family, friendship and love continue and deepen in The Book of Life.  However, the biggest star of the theme show is empathy (“the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this”*)

There is a lesson in empathy at every turn.  It ebbs and flows through the literal and figurative character and story evolution.  It goes beyond tolerance, however. 

“Empathy does not necessarily require common feelings or similar experience. True empathy does not make the other into an object. It does not have narcissistic tendencies and it cannot be faked. It is to acknowledge the other as a true other, but to have an understanding (although perhaps not a complete understanding) of the experience the person is going through.

This in comparison with tolerance is much more beneficial.  For people to be able to have true differences is important, and in fact real.  However, people can still have differences and empathize with one another. We can go even further than just tolerating another."*


Food for thought:  Where did we see examples of empathy in The Book of Life?  We often may think of characters empathizing (or not) with each other, but as readers, did you empathize with characters?  For those with whom you did not readily identify, did you empathize with him or her?  If not, can you now look back and do so?

Deb has her students stand in the shoes of  Henry VIII and look at his actions from that viewpoint.  For example, try a similar exercise with Baldwin.  Forget what you learn as a reader from the point in time when Baldwin, Matthew, and Diana part ways in New York in ADOW.  Read chapter 4 of TBOL from Baldwin's perspective – imagine you are inside Baldwin's head.  You have no idea what's going on with the rest of your own family – when you put yourself in his shoes, you will see the controversy and danger swirling around Matthew and Diana and how it could potentially affect and possibly destroy the family you are charged with protecting.  How would you approach the situation if you were him? Would you be pleasant?  Being a member of the congregation and knowing how that institution reacts to situations that may cause a disturbance in the creature world, would you be calm?

Another empathy lesson is Father Hubbard.  In SON, we see him from Diana's perspective.  Creepy.  Eerie. You can even get the impression that he has narcissistic tendencies.  He is one who takes every scrap of information and uses it to his advantage.  After reading TBOL, How do you see him?  He's someone who does the best he can to watch over his flock.  Back then and still in the present, he made sure the wayward creatures in his care were employed, protected, and taken care of.  Yes, we read about how he treated Annie in SON.  However, what about how her own family treated her? Susanna Norman—Annie's own aunt—put her in father Hubbard's hands.  What does that say to you?  Perhaps the creatures of London trusted him with good reason.  Diana described what she saw and what she felt from a 21st century woman's perspective in 1591.  She also based some of her view on Matthew's opinionated description of him.  We also have to take how women/girls were treated in 1591 into consideration.  Hubbard's actions in retrospect make a bit of sense now.  It turns out he isn't the monster described in Shadow of Night.  You can guess that from reading the modern London witch's opinions in The Book of Life.  They liked and respected him greatly.

These are examples of how a somewhat biased narrator can skew the reader's attitude towards certain characters.  The challenge is presented for the reader to look beyond the words of the one telling the story, and actually see motivations and actions in order to empathize with the different points of view.

In conclusion, you can see that we not only come away with a fascinating and gripping story with characters we cherish, but we also come away with some deeper understanding of an important life lesson.  We have not just been taught; we have been shown.  Deborah Harkness said recently at one of her book signings that “a book can change the world”.  We are prepared to agree with her.  At least it’s an ideal place to start.

*Source:  Beyond Monday Morning Blog

6. Names

 "Names are Important"
It's an admonition that recurs throughout the trilogy and embodies a crucial theme in AST - remember those who have gone before, cherish their history and story, and learn from it. I guess we shouldn't expect anything less from historian with a romantic bent.

7. Scents

Each character in the All Souls Trilogy has his or her own distinct scent.  It is one more layer of sense – and imagination – stimulation.  Have you ever wondered why Deborah Harkness includes character aromas in these books?  You are not the only one, and a lot of readers have asked her such!

Here is Deb’s explanation: “Mostly, it had to do with my ideas about how vampires experienced the world and thinking that they must be assaulted with different scents all day long. But it's not just vampires who have a keen sense of smell--so do I. I don't know if it's genetic or something I've learned over my years of wine tasting, but I'm the person among your friends who is always saying things like ‘does anybody smell lily of the valley?’ and ‘is that mustard I smell?’ And scents invoke powerful memories, too.” (source: Deborah Harkness Author FB page)

Now is a good time to recap the characters and their associated fragrances not only in The Book of Life but throughout the All Souls Trilogy.  You may notice that the many of characters’ scents match some of their personality traits, the time period in which they were originally raised and/or their physical appearance.

Listed in alphabetical order by first name:

Andrew Hubbard
cinnabar, fir
Baldwin
wood fires, saddle leather
Diana
Honey, willow sap, chamomile, honeysuckle, fallen oak leaves, Witch Hazel, Narcissus, Horehound, Frankincense, Lady’s Mantle.  According to Philippe, Diana “smells like a beehive at midsummer”.
Fernando
Saffron, bitter orange – also known as Seville orange
Gerbert D’Aurillac
incense, brimstone
Hamish
lavender, peppermint
Jack (child)
warm bread
Jack (adult)
coal fires, foggy mornings
Louisa
roses, civet
Marcus
licorice-root
Matthew
Cinnamon, Cloves, Clove Pinks – or “old fashion carnations grown in English cottage gardens”
Miriam
galbanum, pomegranate
Philippe
bay – also known as laurel, rosemary, figs
Phoebe
lilac
Rebecca
lily of the valley – not Rebecca’s natural scent, but it was the scent simulated by the Diorissimo perfume that she wore
Sarah
henbane, vanilla
Stephen
chamomile, coffee
Susanna Norman
burned sugar, chamomile
Vivian Harrison
bergamot
Ysabeau
sarsaparilla soda and caramel
Usual witch scents
henbane, sulfur, sage

Well readers, we really hope these guides helped and entertained you while reading The All Souls Trilogy.  Some other things you may like to take a look at is the Bishop-Clairmont Family trees located in our downloads section.

The Bishop - Clairmont Family Tree from Diana's end of the family.  Click to enlarge.

Also view our "Places" Pinterest Boards, located here: Armitage4Clairmont Places Pinterest Board

Or you can go back to our Daemon Guide to ‘A Discovery of Witches’ or the Daemon Guide to 'Shadow of Night'