Monday, March 24, 2014

Shadow of Night

I wasn't planning on reading the sequel to A Discovery of Witches.  Even though I picked the original for my book club, I was non-plussed with the love story (non-ironically dysfunctional), but my crew picked this sequel. Well, I actually liked it better than the first book.  Mostly because the romance is established.  There are a lot more sex scenes (*sigh*-- that's a suffering sigh, not a pleasurable sigh), luckily, supernatural creatures do not believe in foreplay.  So while there are many, the sex scenes are mercifully brief.  And I do mean brief.  Hey, one guy is a vampire, who has lived about 2,000 years, I mean what's an extra ten minutes?  But I digress.  The best part of this book is that it's plot-based.  Yea!!  And this one's set in the olden times. 

Deborah Harkness is a historian and, well, it shows.  Guess what I'm not?  A historian.  Oddly, I always loved History class; in fact I would win prizes for Social Studies and History in High School. I think I got an A in Western Civ in college too. It turns out my talent was for understanding history, not in remembering  it.  I think it's because I mastered the history essay.  It always included: decreasing natural resources caused neighboring countries' conflict, and what at first appearance was a religious dispute, the war was merely a subterfuge for increasing land holdings and therefore regional power.  Right?  Put that in your essay. You are starting with a B and can only go up.  Anyway, there are lots of Elizabethan references and I have no idea what she is talking about. I think there was a reference to Giordano Bruno, but I tracked that because he was featured on Cosmos recently. I think I took classes in Ancient History, so in my mind, 400 years ago is pretty recent. Also, I just like saying Visigoths.

Like the first book, these characters drink a lot of wine.  I looked up what they drank in Elizabethan times and only rich people drank wine and that's when they could get it.  Now, these guys are rich, but a more common drink was ale.  Not "beer" but ale.  Dogfish Head Brewery has an Ancient Ale Series and one is called Midas Touch.  They describe it as somewhere between wine and mead.  They claim it is "made with ingredients found in 2,700-year-old drinking vessels from the tomb of King Midas."  I don't think they mean 2,700 year old ingredients, I think they mean the same type of ingredients.  Otherwise, that's one hell of a sourdough starter.  I think it sounds kind of good, and Dogfish, they haven't let me down yet, so drink it.       

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