A Discovery of Witches

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Viking, 2011 - Fiction - 579 pages
591 Reviews
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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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jennybeast - LibraryThing

I quite liked it, but I really wanted it not to be a series. It was so involved that I wanted it to wrap up in one book -- I'm not sure I have the staying power for an indefinite storyline. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pennykaplan - LibraryThing

Well written creation of an alternate universe of supernatural creatures…liked the historical bits (vampires never die). But got tired of the romance between a witch and a vampire. Didn’t finish it. Read full review

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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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