This book begins one second after the last book ended. We see Diana and Matthew back in 1590. We get to live the time period through their eyes. Matthew stepped into his old life, while Diana was added into his old life. We get to meet Phillipe who is Matthew's father and who takes Diana as his daughter. Phillipe is a strong man in Matthew's life and we finally get to understand not only what happened to Phillipe but also why it effected Matthew so strongly.
I thought that the Author's grasp of history was astounding. She made me the reader feel as if I was living that time period. She made sure to have historical facts in abundance in this book especially in regards to the Witch hunts which were going on in the time period around Scotland and Europe as a whole. Little things such as what items of clothing were called or how alchemy was in the time period were added tid-bits that kept my mind active. Diana uses he knowledge of the past as a alchemical historian to actually help some of the famous names of the time.
The time period is a dangerous time for witches and Diana must learn what she is and how to use her magic. In this book we finally get to see what it is that makes Diana different from all the other witches. She learns to use her magic in ways that were unexpected. This also leads us down the path of different witches of the time period and the different skills that each witch is born with.
We also get to meet Diana's father, and Bridget Bishop for the first time. And we discover that the myth of a vampire/witch baby is not just a myth but is in fact a reality as Matthew and Diana become pregnant.
Add to all of that Deborah Harkness added one chapter at the end of each of the sections of her book that showed the affect that Diana and Matthew were having on present day. Which was a great idea since we were able to see not only what was happening with the characters we knew and loved from her first book but also the changes that were taking place due to Diana and Matthew being back in time for such a long period.
In this book we also get to see the allusive Ashmole 782 while it was still in mint condition. We also find out how three pages came to be missing. This book is a dream come true for a geneticist like Matthew because it holds in its pages all the DNA from the original witches, vampires and daemons. But what the book is made of is a real issue and one better not let out here in the review.
All in all this book was a great read. Entertaining and at times exciting.