The Book Of Blood And Shadow by Robin WassermanThe Book Of Blood And Shadow by Robin Wasserman

The Book Of Blood And Shadow

byRobin Wasserman

Reinforced Library Binding | April 10, 2012

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 120 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-2 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

From the Hardcover edition.
Robin Wasserman is the author of the Seven Deadly Sins series, Hacking Harvard, and the Skinned trilogy, which bestselling author Scott Westerfeld called "spellbinding." She has a master's degree in the history of science, and is fascinated by Renaissance philosophy, religion, magic, science, and the interplay among them. She lives in ...
Title:The Book Of Blood And ShadowFormat:Reinforced Library BindingDimensions:448 pages, 8.49 × 5.82 × 1.42 inPublished:April 10, 2012Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375968768

ISBN - 13:9780375968761

Appropriate for ages: 12


Rated 2 out of 5 by from Good Idea I would give this book a 1 but the writing was good, it was just the story that sucked. Great idea, just too many strange twists that ended up in the same place.
Date published: 2018-05-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Cool Ever watched one of those time-lapse videos of forests rotting or things decaying or fungus growing? Know the sense of fascination with decay and rot you get watching it happen, the lure of an abandoned building, the sense of awe and interest you get looking at a bunch of ruins? This book was like that for me, although maybe the time-lapse video was a bad comparison, because it was not quick. It lagged and dragged a bit, but for the most part, it held my attention despite it's lagginess, in large part because of a morbid sort of fascination with decay and ruin. This book starts out warning you what's going to happen. Then it backs up and takes you to when things were happy and lovely - or at least fairly normal. Even knowing what you do about where it ends up, you're still sort of shocked watching it go downhill, like how you can't look away from a car wreck. But then it hits the promised low point, and you think "Okay, this is as low as it's getting, now we get some problem solving and things will be okay again, the problem will be resolved." But it doesn't. The point of this book seems to be, besides the "DaVinci Code"-like plot and lovely atmosphere, to systematically erode and destroy nearly every character and send you into a tailspin at the end of every other chapter. Wasserman breaks nearly every single rule of happily-ever-after, and it was actually sort of refreshing. By the end, without spoiling anything, I can honestly say that I didn't know what to think. I didn't know whether to mourn for everything that was destroyed, or cheer, because I liked the journey and the characters so much. Wasserman takes you through this journey so expertly that by the end, you're somehow okay with it, and you feel privileged to have watched this tragedy unfold. That was one good thing about the pace - it allowed you to have time to digest everything that was happening. The characters were, I thought, great, although nobody is who you think they are and there is no such thing as innocence. Maybe that's why they were so great. I loved the character progression and the skill with which their transitions were handled. I also really liked the alternate storyline the characters follow - I was almost more invested in it, sparse though it is, than the events taking place in the present day. I recommend this book who likes mystery and a great atmosphere, and enjoys Planet Earth-style time-laps videos of trees dissappearing or CGI imaginations of Life After People, because, as this book proves, there is beauty in ruin.
Date published: 2016-12-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Overall an Okay Read The Book of Blood and Shadow is a historical-murder case-with hints of magic involve. It talks about a young girl, Nora Kane, who lost her older brother tragically. Once she enters high school the only two people who can put her back together is her two new best friends: Chris & Adriane (who eventually become a couple).Then Nora gets her own boyfriend: Max. Everything seems to be going dandy. Nora is brilliant at Latin and spends her days (alongside Max & Chris) translating. More specifically Nora is translating Elizabeth Weston's (Historical person) diary entries to her brother. Soon an unsolved mystery is unravelled that is starting to mirror Nora's life and what is happening in the late 1500's is now happening in the twenty first century. Bad things are starting to happen: Chris ends up dead. Now it up to Nora, Adriane, Max & Eli to solve Chris's murder, unravel the mystery, figure out who Nora is and put an end to what is happening. All of this leads them to Prague. This novel has a brilliant plot concept. It part History and part magical fantasy. The author knows the past and it really shows in how she writes. It even states in her bio that she "once studied to be a historian". This isn't the authors first book. She wrote the Cold Awakening Trilogy & Chasing Yesterday Trilogy. Both of which I have not read yet, however I have on my tbr pile. As I read the novel I got to learn of Historical people that I had never once heard about (Elizabeth Weston, Edward Kelley, ect). The author states in her afterword section that "not much is known about Elizabeth Weston's youth" and "using my (her) imagination to fill in the blanks". Which I thought was pretty cool. I got to learn about people I have never heard about. To learn more, click here!! Robin Wasserman is an amazing author. I love her writing it is absolutely stunning. However even though the idea behind this novel was really good, I was not jumping up and down for joy about it. I did not hate it, however I did not love it either. It is fast pace and four hundred pages will go by in a jiffy, however I thought it was too long. It could of been shorter. The problem with The Book of Blood and Shadow is it has too much information. To much details a reader has to remember. So much details that I felt the imagery for setting and minor characters got over looked. It got confusing at times and I would easily forget the slightest details and then when it was mention a hundred pages later I would be like: what?? There was too much telling then showing. I could not really get clear imagery of Prague. I just felt like a bunch of tourist names were listed off which made it hard for me to imagine them in a foreign country. I thought the character development for Nora was brilliant. That was where this book strive. Nora's loss of her old brother was really well done and you could definitely feel her pain. You could also really see the resemblances between her and Elizabeth. The translated diary entries were practically my favourite part of the novel. They intrigue me and kept me wanting more. The killer behind Chris's death was a little to obvious to me. It was not really hard to guess who did it. I was a bit annoyed with Nora's constant non acceptance of who could of killed Chris. However I guess if I was in that situation I would do the same. My absolute favourite part of the whole novel was : Eli & Nora's relationship. I absolutely loved how the two interacted. The dialogue between them was brilliant and how they slowly went from strangers to friends was awesome. Overall it was an okay read.
Date published: 2012-05-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A mystery great for adults and teens alike! What a beautifully crafted mystery Robin Wasserman has wormed her way directly onto my “I will read anything this author writes” list. This story begins with Nora translating the Latin letters of the long dead Elizabeth Weston. Cryptic letters in a dead langauge? You know there's got to be a good mystery there. I always wonder when I'm reading mysteries like this if people actually created such elaborate hidden messages in every little thing they did. But then I get so wrapped up in the story I just don't care any more. Robin Wasserman builds up the tension in such an expert fashion. She reveals only as much as the reader needs to know and because of this all external thoughts and questions melt away as you get wrapped up in the mystery. It helps that all this mystery and action takes place in such a beautiful setting. The story starts in America but soon you are thrown head first into the beautiful world that is Prague. I love stories set in Europe, there's so much more history and distinct architecture there that we just don't have here in North America. And because Prague isn't one of the more common European cities we see stories based in (like Paris, London etc) is felt even more unique and enchanting. One things I really appreciated about this book (and the reason that I can so whole heartedly recommend this book) is that is builds this whole century old mystery, involving Latin and secret sects and it does it all without demonizing religion. I find for many similar titles some authors easily fall into a pattern of scape goating religion - particularly Christianity - and I usually find this incredibly problematic and kind of lazy. Robin Wasserman builds a much more complicated and layered plot with three dimensional antagonists. That's a sign of a quality mystery writer. Final recommendation: A beautiful book that is great for more than just mystery lovers but is perfect for those who want something similar to The Da Vinci Code but with better writing and plotting. This and other reviews at Hooked on Books (
Date published: 2012-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman promises suspense, mystery, romance and history. *copy provided by publisher for review* In complete and total honesty, The Book of Blood and Shadow did not start off on the lightest of notes for me. I was nearing 100 pages and already felt desperate to set the title aside. Unfortunately, I no longer felt like I had the strength or patience to stick with it. Regrettably, The Book of Blood and Shadow started off incredibly slow and offbeat, it just didn't seem to reflect what the synopsis had promised; which was mystery, suspense, action, and travel. Fortunately enough, a fellow book blogger urged me to keep moving forward with the title, promising me that all I wanted was just beyond those 100 pages and that I would fall in love with the results. She was completely right, I did find myself loving it! As soon as I stepped over that 100 page threshold and made my way onward, I discovered that The Book of Blood and Shadow was truly an exciting and action packed novel. It was, as I mentioned before, just a bit too unfortunate that it took it's sweet ol' time showing it's true colors. Everything that Robin Wasserman promised would be there indeed was, and then some! The Book of Blood and Shadow was rich in history, unbelievably dramatic, emotionally relentless, and utterly captivating! With beautiful and intriguing writing like that of Robin Wasserman, I'm not sure why I ever doubted her talents. Unlike most reads in the young adult genre, The Book of Blood and Shadow was far from being "dumbed down". Robin Wasserman presented writing that captivated me and begged me to take my time indulging it's every detail. In addition, Robin Wasserman's characters were all lovable and realistic. Nora, Max, Eli, Chris, and Adriane all connected with me on a personal level that left me begging to know more about them. Each and every character felt like a new mystery I needed to crack, and the further I moved into Blood and Shadow the more I learned how right I was! Nora was a timid thing, she was hard to crack and even harder to understand. Her emotions sometimes felt watered-down, but the more I read in her narrative voice, the more I found myself loving her role as protagonist. In addition to Max, Chris, and Adriane, I couldn't imagine better secondary characters to follow up Nora. Chris and Adriane had a peculiar relationship that didn't quite settle with me very well immediately, but I just loved witnessing how everything progressed and eventually led to the exciting and unpredictable events of The Book of Blood and Shadow. The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman promises suspense, mystery, romance, history, and fantasy. Readers who love all of the above will find themselves adoring The Book of Blood and Shadow. However, heed my advice; be sure to give it some time to get exciting. As I mentioned earlier on, the first 100 pages are a serious drag but it ultimately builds up the suspense to an incredible level!
Date published: 2012-03-27

Read from the Book

1I should probably start with the blood.If it bleeds it leads and all that, right? It’s all anyone ever wants to know about, anyway. What did it look like? What did it feel like? Why was it all over my hands? And the mystery blood, all those unaccounted-for antibodies, those faceless corkscrews of DNA--who left them behind?But beginning with that night, with the blood, means that Chris will never be anything more than a corpse, bleeding out all over his mother’s travertine marble, Adriane nothing but a dead-eyed head case, rocking and moaning, her clothes soaked in his blood, her face paper white with that slash of red razored into her cheek. If I started there, Max would be nothing but a void. Null space; vacuum and wind.Maybe that part would be right.But not the rest of it. Because that wasn’t the beginning, any more than it was the end. It was--note the brilliant deductive reasoning at work here--the middle. The center of gravity around which we all spiraled, but none of us could see. The center cannot hold, Max liked to say, back when things were new and quoting poetry seemed a suitably ironic way to declare our love. Things fall apart.But things don’t just fall apart. People break them.2In the beginning was the Book.“Seven hundred years old.” The Hoff slammed it down so hard the table rattled. “Imagine that.”Apparently noting our lack of awe, he dropped a liver-spotted fist onto the book with nearly as much force. “Do so now.” He swiveled his head to glare at each of us in turn, neck veins bulging with the effort. “Close your eyes. Imagine a scribe in a dark, windowless room. Imagine his quill, scratching across the page, transcribing his secrets--his God, his magic, his power, his blood. Imagine, for just one moment, that you will be the one to reach across the ages and make this manuscript yield its treasure.” He drew a baby-blue handkerchief from his breast pocket and hocked a thick wad of phlegm into its center. “Imagine what it might be like if your sad, small lives were actually worth something.”I closed my eyes, as ordered. And imagined, in glorious detail, the tortures I would impose on Chris as soon as we escaped from this musty dungeon of mad professors and ancient books.“Trust me,” Chris had said, promising me a genial old man with twinkling grandfather eyes and a Santa laugh. The Hoff was, according to Chris, a bearded marshmallow, hovering on the verge of senility, with little inclination to force his research assistants to show up on time, or, for the most part, show up at all. This was supposed to be my senior-year gift to myself, a thrice-weekly escape from the ever-constricting halls of Chapman Prep into the absentminded bosom of ivy-covered academia, a string of lazy afternoons complete with snacking, lounging, and the occasional nap. Not to mention, Chris had pointed out as my pen hovered over the registration form, “the opportunity to spend quality time with your all-time favorite person, otherwise known as me.” Not that this was in short supply, as his freshman dorm was about a hundred yards from my high school locker. The only problem with the dorm was having to put up with the presence of his roommate, who resolutely kept himself on his side of the room while keeping his owlish eyes on us.And now that same roommate stared at me from across the table, the final member of “our intrepid archival team.” Another detail Chris had conveniently neglected to mention. Chris assured me that Max didn’t intend to be creepy, and was, when no one else was watching, almost normal. But then, Chris liked everyone. And his credibility was slipping by the minute.The Hoff--Chris had coined the nickname last year, when he’d been the one whiling away his senior year with the get-out-of-jail-free pass commonly known as supervised independent study--passed around the Book. “Decades’ worth of experts have tried to crack the code,” he said as we flipped through page after page of incomprehensible symbols. More than two hundred pages of them, broken only by elaborate illustrations of flowers and animals and astronomical phenomena that apparently had no counterparts in the real world. “Historians, cryptographers, mathematicians, the NSA’s best code breakers gave it all they had, but the Voynich manuscript refused to yield. Mr. Lewis!”We all flinched. The Hoff snarled, revealing a mouthful of jagged teeth, sharp as fangs and--judging from his expression--soon to be applied to a similar purpose. “That is not how one handles a valuable book.”Max, who had been rifling through the pages like it was a flip-book, rested his hands flat on the table. Behind his glasses, his eyes were wide. “Sorry,” he said quietly. Aside from the soft “Hi” I’d gotten when we were introduced, it was the first time I’d heard him speak.I cleared my throat. “It’s not a valuable book,” I told the Hoff. “It’s a copy of a valuable book. If he ruined it, I’m sure he could scrounge up the twenty bucks to pay you back.”The real thing, with its crumbling seven-hundred-year-old pages and fading seven-hundred-year-old ink, was safely ensconced in a Yale library, eighty miles to the south, where faculty didn’t have to settle for high-school-age researchers or cheap facsimiles. The Hoff closed his eyes for a moment, and I suspected he was putting his own imagination to the test, pretending away whatever scandal had stripped him of his Harvard tenure and dumped him here to rot at a third-rate college in a third-rate college town for the rest of his academic life.Thanks, Max mouthed, an instant before the Hoff opened his eyes and resumed his glare.“All books are valuable,” the professor said. But he didn’t press it.I decided the roommate wasn’t so bad when he smiled.The meeting lasted for another hour, but the Hoff gave up on his dreamlike rambling and instead stuck to logistics, explaining his significant research and our minimal--“but absolutely essential!”--part in it. He’d just weaseled a collection of letters out of some wealthy widow, and was convinced they contained the secret to decoding the Book. (It was always the Book when he spoke of it, capital B implicit in the hushed voice, and we followed suit, ironically at first, then later out of habit and grudging respect.) Max and Chris would be put to work indexing and translating the bulk of the collection, searching for clues. I, on the other hand, was assigned a “special” project all my own.“Most of the letters are written by Edward Kelley,” the Hoff explained. “Personal alchemist to the Holy Roman emperor. Many believe he authored the Book himself. But I believe his contribution is both lesser and greater. I think he got his hands on it, and solved it. And now we will follow in his footsteps.” He pointed at me. “Ms. Kane.”“Nora,” I said.“Ms. Kane, you will deal with the letters written by Kelley’s daughter, Elizabeth Weston, which seem to have found their way into the collection by mistake. I doubt they contain anything of use, but nonetheless, we must be thorough.”Unbelievable. I could translate twice as fast and three times as accurately as Chris could, and if the Hoff had even bothered to glance at my Latin teacher’s recommendation, he’d know it. “Is this because I’m a woman?”Chris snorted.“I can take the Elizabeth letters if Nora doesn’t want them,” Max said. “It’s okay with me.”Thank you, I would have liked to mouth, returning the favor, but the Hoff was watching. And his face was a storm cloud. “I mind. This kind of work requires a certain . . . maturity. Elizabeth’s letters will give Ms. Kane ample practice in historical translation while the two of you help me with the real search.”Admittedly, if you’d asked me five minutes earlier, I would have said I didn’t care whether I was translating important letters, pointless letters, or a sixteenth-century grocery list. But then the Hoff opened his big, fat, sexist, ageist--whatever -ist was conscribing me to uselessness--mouth.“So it’s because I’m in high school?” I added. “You know, it’s not fair to judge me based on--”“Do you want to be a member of this team or not, Ms. Kane?”I could have enlightened him on the difference between want and need, as in wanting to be at Adriane’s house mopping up her latest micro-drama, or in Chris’s dorm room watching TV (or at least trying to, while pretending not to notice Chris and Adriane making out behind me and Max doing his spook stare from across the room), basically wanting to be anywhere else, but needing the credits for graduation and the bullet point for my college applications.“I do, Professor Hoffpauer.”“Good.” He stood up and, with stiff, awkward contortions, folded himself into a bulky wool topcoat. “The collection will be waiting here for you tomorrow afternoon. Christopher has a key to the office and will show you proper document-handling protocol.”“The archive’s not being housed in the rare-books library?” Max asked.“As if I’d let that harpy get her hands on these?” the Hoff said. He narrowed his eyes. “Not a word to her about this. Or to anyone, for that matter. I won’t have someone taking this away from me. They’re everywhere, you know.”“Who?” Max asked. Chris just shook his head, knowing better.“Young man--” The Hoff lowered his voice and leaned toward Max, casting a shadow across the Book. “You don’t want to know.”It was a close call, but we managed to hold our laughter until he was out of the room.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews Best of Teen's Books 2012Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, February 13, 2012:“Readers who enjoy fast-paced, bloody, historically inflected thrillers in the vein of Dan Brown will be riveted.”Review, Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2011:"Here's something refreshing—a religious-historical thriller . . . serving up shivery suspense, sans fangs or fur . . . A classy read that repays reader effort." Review, Justine Magazine, February / March 2012:“A must read for fans of Revolution and The DaVinci Code . . . fast-paced and vivid."Review, A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy blog,, March 28, 2012:"I fell for The Book of Blood and Shadow at the first sentence . . . part of the wonder of The Book of Blood and Shadow is the twists and turns it takes . . .a favorite book read in 2012."Review, The Horn Book Magazine, March 1, 2012:"This is a thorough mixture of contemporary American adolescence, the sixteenth-century occult, and atmospheric, historical substance, all dished up with a convoluted plot in DaVinci Code mode."“A lushly drawn mystery of manipulation and desire."—Holly Black, author of Black Heart"Genuinely thrilling. This is the historical conspiracy you've been waiting for."—Maureen Johnson, author of The Name of the StarFrom the Hardcover edition.