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However when she inadvertently unlocks a bound manuscript, one that she hastily sends back into the depths of the library, she draws the attention of the other creatures – which is what vampires, witches and daemons are called -- and that’s a bad thing because when too many creatures gather, humans are bound to notice. To figure out why she has drawn all this unwanted attention, Diana will have to come to terms with her witch heritage, and in doing so, she will break one of the main rules that govern all creatures.
Deborah Harkness has deeply impressed me with her voice and her style. She has created a world that is both believable and captivating. Her witches and vampires are fairly traditional in their abilities, but her take on daemons had me grinning – hyperactive geniuses or madmen rather than denizens from Hell. And I simply adore all her characters, not just Diana and Matthew but her secondary characters have charmed the socks off me.
The other thing I really enjoyed about A Discovery of Witches was Harkness’ literary scholarship. She ties all manner of actual historical literature into the world she’s created, and I found myself smiling with recognition and delight at some of the names and literary works she cites. Ms. Harkness has written several non-fiction books on historical literature and alchemy, as well as some works on wine, so she knows her stuff.
Be forewarned that A Discovery of Witches is the first in a trilogy, and I suspect when you get to the end, you’ll see where the next two will be going, and I bet you’ll be just as anxious as I am to read them! This is definitely one of my Top 10 for this year.
Indie Next ListFebruary 2011
I lost a good deal of sleep turning the pages of this tale of adventure, suspense, and romance. Ride along with this witch-in-denial and her guardian vampire prince as she struggles to reclaim her legacy and avoid the terrible fate visited earlier upon her family. The author did her homework and the history rings as true as the passion. I can't wait for the sequel! -- Annie Leonard, The Next Chapter, Knoxville, IA
"A wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight."
In a sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches became the "it" book of early 2011, bringing Deborah Harkness into the spotlight and galvanizing fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and the descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar's depth to this riveting story of magic and suspense. And the story continues in Book Two, Shadow of Night.
About the Author
Deborah Harkness is a scholar and writer specializing in the history of science and medicine. She has received numerous awards, including Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships. Currently a professor of history at the University of Southern California, her most recent academic publication is The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution. This is her first novel.