Time’s Convert. Deborah Harkness. Penguin Publishing Group. September 2018. 448 pp. ISBN#: 9780399564512.
What is it like to be adopted and become a vampire? What is it like to become a vampire and then be married to another vampire. In this prequel to the author’s previous All Souls Trilogy about the de Clermont family, we discover the background of Marcus Whitmore and the 23-year-old bride to be, Phoebe Taylor. She becomes a vampire but like a baby must undergo a 90-day period of change from a human to vampire, with all the physical, mental and spiritual changes accompanying such a huge and formidable transformation. During that period of time, Marcus has agreed to remain separated from her and endure all the frustrations of that change. They are well-suited to each other with their independent, fiercely demanding and intemperate desires. They are also a thorn in the flesh of those around them which provides many amusing and almost catastrophic scenes that elicit a range of erratic emotions in the reader as well as the characters. “Becoming” is mysterious and exciting as well, to say the least!
Another plot line centers around two twins, Philip and Becca, born to a couple who are vampire and witch respectively. It turns out that these twins have magical powers parallel to witches which must be softened, monitored and disciplined into permissible behavior so that disaster does not strike, as it almost does several times. Their parents have a huge adjustment to manage as well as they never expected babies to satisfy their own desires immediately, including one making friends with a familiar, a griffin whom Philip names Apollo. The latter is also in dire need of control and discipline, proven by the humorous and frightening scenes that demonstrate just how deeply bonded Philip and Apollo are!
A third and fascinating subplot shows what it was like to live in the times of the American and French Revolution. Marcus originally lived in that time in the 1700s. Growing up with an abusive father and negligent family certainly did not bode well for the future and it was his father Matthew de Clermont who adopted Marcus and made him a vampire. Learning about the extended family of vampires is awesome by itself. Vying for power and satisfying one’s own desires make for familial scenes that are more like a civil war.
Although this novel is connected to the earlier series, it works just as well as a stand-alone story. Constant action, conflicts, funny takes, and the solving of some mysteries about the de Clermont history enable the reader to fly through these pages and engage with these endearing yet formidable characters. Deborah Harkness has clearly done her research and has more than ample talent to craft a richly complex story, with just enough complexity in character depiction to satisfy every reader.
Well-done, again, Deborah Harkness! Looking forward to more of immediate and extended family evolution and progress!