The Book of Life - Deborah Harkness
ALSO BY DEBORAH HARKNESS
A Discovery of Witches
Shadow of Night
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First published in 2014 by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Copyright © Deborah Harkness, 2014
All rights reserved
Publisher’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING IN PUBLICATION DATA
Harkness, Deborah E.
Shadow of night / Deborah Harkness.
p. cm. — (All souls trilogy ; bk. 3)
1. Witches—Fiction. 2. Vampires—Fiction. I. Title.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For Karen, who knows why.
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.
It is the one that is most adaptable to change.
—ELIZABETH I, PHILLIPE DE CLERMONT,
often attributed to Charles Darwin
Also by Deborah Harkness
Sol in Cancer
Sol in Leo
Sol in Virgo
Sol in Libra
Sol in Scorpio
Sol in Sagittarius
Sol in Capricorn
Sol in Aquarius
Sol in Pisces
Sol in Aries
Sol in Taurus
Sol in Gemini
Sol in Cancer
The Signe of the Crabbe pertains to houses, lands, treasures, and whatever is hidden.
It is the fourth house of the Zodiak.
It signifies death and the end of thinges.
—Anonymous English Commonplace Book, c. 1590, Gonçalves MS 4890, f. 11v
Ghosts didn’t have much substance. All they were composed of was memories and heart. Atop one of Sept-Tours’ round towers, Emily Mather pressed a diaphanous hand against the spot in the center of her chest that even now was heavy with dread.
Does it ever get easier? Her voice, like the rest of her, was almost imperceptible.
Not that I’ve noticed, Philippe de Clermont replied shortly. He was perched nearby, studying his own transparent fingers. Of all the things Philippe disliked about being dead—the inability to touch his wife, Ysabeau; his lack of smell or taste; the fact that he had no muscles for a good sparring match—invisibility topped the list. It was a constant reminder of how inconsequential he had become.
Emily’s face fell, and Philippe silently cursed himself. Since she’d died, the witch had been his constant companion, cutting his loneliness in two. What was he thinking, barking at her as if she were a servant?
Perhaps it will be easier when they don’t need us anymore, Philippe said in a gentler tone. He might be the more experienced ghost, but it was Emily who understood the metaphysics of their situation.
What the witch had told him went against everything Philippe believed about the afterworld. He thought the living saw the dead because they needed something from them: assistance, forgiveness, retribution.
Emily insisted these were nothing more than human myths, and it was only when the living moved on and let go that the dead could appear to them.
This information made Ysabeau’s failure to notice him somewhat easier to bear, but not much.
“I can’t wait to see Em’s reaction. She’s going to be so surprised.” Diana’s warm alto floated up to the battlements.
Diana and Matthew, Emily and Philippe said in unison, peering down to the cobbled courtyard that surrounded the château.
There, Philippe said, pointing at the drive. Even dead, he had vampire sight that was sharper than any human’s. He was also still handsomer than any man had a right to be, with his broad shoulders and devilish grin. He turned