A Discovery of Witches: A Novel (Google eBook)

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Penguin, Feb 8, 2011 - Fiction - 592 pages
1070 Reviews
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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Not bad for a vampire-witch love story. - LibraryThing
I found Harkness's writing style way too distracting. - LibraryThing
The characterisation was pretty good. - LibraryThing
The plot kinda got lost for me in the middle too. - LibraryThing
The beginning and ending were the best parts. - LibraryThing
It drags down the fairly interesting plot. - LibraryThing

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - VincentDarlage - LibraryThing

It had such a powerful beginning, then turned into a romance novel with a vampire... ugh. How many times do we have to see that? I liked the character of the House. I liked the alchemical allegory. I ... Read full review

Review: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)

User Review  - Holly - Goodreads

Good premise, but the middle of this long yet unfinished story is a big witches brew of cheese and whine. "I don't want to be a witch, I don't, I don't!" (Insert foot stamp.) You might think 580 pages would be enough to resolve at least a few plot points...but no. One must go on to book 2 for that. Read full review

All 218 reviews »


Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35

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About the author (2011)

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.

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