Series Companion Volume or a “Great Course” in History

The World of All Souls

THE WORLD OF ALL SOULSBy: Deborah Harkness
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld, Deborah Harkness, Steve West, Jennifer Ikeda
Length: 15 hrs and 5 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-08-18
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Audio

I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

Synopsis: A fully illustrated guide to Deborah Harkness’s #1 New York Times bestselling All Souls trilogy–“an irresistible . . . wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy” (People)

A Discovery of Witches introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. Shadow of Night and The Book of Life carried Deborah Harkness’s series to its spellbinding conclusion.

In The World of All Souls, Harkness shares the rich sources of inspiration behind her bewitching novels. She draws together synopses, character bios, maps, recipes, and even the science behind creatures, magic, and alchemy–all with her signature historian’s touch. Bursting with fascinating facts and dazzling artwork, this essential handbook is a must-have for longtime fans and eager newcomers alike.

Read by Saskia Maarleveld with Deborah Harkness, Steve West, and Jennifer Ikeda Music by Isaias Garcia


My Take Oblong Shaped

If you loved the “All Souls Trilogy” then you will definitely want this companion volume which provides all those little extras you wondered about.  It includes character bios, a synopsis for each book, cultural information for the times and places visited, and quotes from literature. 

With Harkness’ education and experience in the Bodleian Library, THE WORLD OF ALL SOULS  is like a “Great Course” brand course in history.   I learned a lot I found the descriptions of Matthews medical worlds and training fascinating as it shows how in depth Harkness’ characters were developed — how much she feels them and how that allowed her to imagine them into being.  

Also Steve West, owner of one of the sexiest male voices on earth, reads the quotes and poetry in the book, and that makes it worth the listening all by itself. He could make the phone book hot.

The only issues I had with it being an audio book is the pictures and other reference materials were not, obviously, available in the audio.  And, although there were well-placed interludes of  excluded scenes and other more entertaining pieces, as an audio it could feel a little dry and be hard to refer to a particular subject.  It also made me feel as if reading the series over would be a great idea as I didn’t recall everything Harkness discusses.

I did enjoy the book  – so it’s and might actually consider shelling out my own money for it in print — a copy of the pdf with the pictures, music and other items audio doesn’t allow was not available for the review copy. I also have the companion books to Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ series  and the ”True Blood series companion by Charlaine Harris so it’s possible I just like this kind of book, but if you read this blog you may like the informational aspect too.



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