A Discovery of Witches Summary and Reviews

A Discovery of Witches

A Novel

by Deborah E. Harkness

A Discovery of Witches

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About this book

Book Summary

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Harkness brings this world to vibrant life and makes the most of the growing popularity of gothic adventure with an ending that keeps the Old Lodge door wide open." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Try suggesting the novel to readers of literary mysteries like Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series, as well as to those who enjoy ... including Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series and Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel novels." - Booklist

"Destined to be popular with fantasy and paranormal aficionados...Harkness is an author to watch." - Library Journal

"Harry Potter meets Lestat de Lioncourt...Entertaining, though not in the league of J.K. Rowling—or even Anne Rice." - Kirkus

The information about A Discovery of Witches shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Marge Vallazza

Wow!!! What a surprise
I have to admit I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. When I first learnt of it, I thought it would be an interesting read but "OMG!" what a wonderful surprise. It contains soooo much incredibly interesting stuff--research at the Bodlian Library (or is it Bodley?), castles in France, sculling on the river in Cambridge, witchcraft and magic (but not in a way that would offend ME (a longtime BAC). There's love and romance and sex between the protagonists and relationships with their family members.

I've only recently (since early summer of 2010) become interested in paranormal romance (such as the Twilight Saga, which I LOVE!!!). But this book was such a delightful read and surprise--best of all it's the first of a TRILOGY!!!! Hurrah!!!! Can't wait for the others to come out. Exceptional writing, too!

MCC 115304

Shouldn't A Discovery of Witches Be a Witch Story
If you are looking for a great witch read this might be a pass, but as a vampire story laced with historical accuracy and futuristic DNA research, it is very well done. I say four stars overall (or maybe four moons to honor fellow witches), deducting just one for the misleading title. Have a dictionary handy; some of the terms are not self described.

Kelli Robinson

Good Contemporary Paranormal Fiction
I waffled back and forth between 3 stars and 4 stars and settled ultimately on 3 stars. I prefer the Anne Rice world of witches and vampires to the Stephenie Meyer or Charlaine Harris worlds. I like my paranormal universes to be dark and I don't mind a story steeped in history - even history of science. With that said, I found the Deborah Harkness world of witches and vampires to be closer to Anne Rice albeit much lighter but pleasantly heavy on the history. I suspect I may enjoy All Souls Trilogy #2, Shadow of Night, even better as it looks like it will be even heavier on the history. After having become convinced that all contemporary paranormal fiction was a lost cause, I'm happy to have discovered Matthew, Diana and the work of Deborah Harkness.

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Author Information

Deborah E. Harkness Author Biography

I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and have lived in western Massachusetts, the Chicago area, Northern California, upstate New York, and Southern California. In other words, I've lived in three out of five time zones in the US! I've also lived in the United Kingdom in the cities of Oxford and London.

For the past twenty-eight years I've been a student and scholar of history, and received degrees from Mount Holyoke College, Northwestern University, and the University of California at Davis. During that time I researched the history of magic and science in Europe, especially during the period from 1500 to 1700. The libraries I've worked in include Oxford's Bodleian Library, the All Souls College Library at Oxford, the British Library, London's Guildhall ...

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