Returning to the fascinating world that she created in the All Souls Trilogy, Deborah Harkness once again blends romance, fantasy and history to create a deeply interesting and vivid book. 

Times Convert

Sweeping the reader from the battlefields of the American Revolutionary War to the present day, this latest novel from Deborah Harkness featuring the characters from the original All Souls trilogy is richly detailed in research and vivid descriptions that keep the reader thoroughly engaged.

Time’s Convert combines the backstory of Marcus Whitmore’s life both as a warmblood (or human) and his adjustment to becoming a vampire and part of the de Claremont family with the present day as his partner Phoebe goes through the transformation of becoming a vampire.

As with her previous books that combine fantasy and history, Harkness is particularly good at ensuring that the story effectively interweaves both elements without either bogging down the important elements of the plot.

But it has to be said as wonderful as it is to revisit this world of witches, daemons and vampires, it is a struggle to understand why Harkness wanted to write this when everything was tied up extremely neatly in ‘The Book of life’. Although it is fascinating to find out more about Marcus’s backstory and Phoebe’s transformation, it feels just slightly unnecessary lacking slightly in drama in the plot  – but then perhaps the author felt herself that things just needed to be tied up properly in her mind.

However, whatever her reasons for writing it were, there is no denying that her writing and imagination is extremely vivid, in particular when she describes the sights and smells of what Marcus experienced during the American Revolutionary War, the reader genuinely feels as though they are experiencing it with him.

The way in which she combines the past with present should be by rights disorientating. But the way  Harkness has structured it with precision, it feels absolutely seamless throughout and makes it easy to dip in and out of the book, tying up Marcus’s past and present nicely. This is helped by the fact that we get to see the situation from a number of character’s perspectives to give an even fuller insight into the story.

Meanwhile, there is a wide variety of characters to get to know – but despite the number, it is in fact easy to keep track of everybody involved and how they all fit into the story as a whole – but it is perhaps easier if you have read the previous All Souls trilogy. Each character has been expertly created to have their own flaws and personalities that keep them (despite their ultimate uniqueness) relatable for the reader.

Engaging and entertaining as the previous novels, Time’s Convert is worth reading particularly if you enjoyed the All Souls Trilogy (if you haven’t you might want to in order to get familiar with the reoccurring characters in this one). It is a real delight to revisit this magical, romantic and mysterious world in which Harkness has created but is perhaps just lacking the drama and mystery that made the All Souls trilogy so compelling to read.

By Emma Clarendon

Time’s Convert is available to buy through Amazon now

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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