A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Deborah E. Harkness

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  • Publisher: Headline Book Publishing
  • Format: Paperback | 704 pages
  • Dimensions: 112mm x 176mm x 48mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 29 September 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0755381173
  • ISBN 13: 9780755381173
  • Sales rank: 4,142

Product description

Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew in the stunning first volume of the No.1 internationally bestsellling ALL SOULS trilogy. A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew - the forbidden love at the heart of it. When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it's an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she's kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana's discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels...

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Author information

Deborah Harkness is a historian of science and a professor of history at the University of Southern California. She spent several years in Oxford doing research (and really did once find a missing manuscript in the Bodleian Library!). She has written THE JEWEL HOUSE: ELIZABETHAN LONDON AND THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION as well as the three novels in the internationally bestselling ALL SOULS trilogy, A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, SHADOW OF NIGHT and THE BOOK OF LIFE.

Customer reviews

By Brendan 03 Nov 2013 4

I gave this novel 4 stars, this is my first published review on a book. Comments welcome.

Deborah Harkness is the author of A Discover of Witches, which is her debut novel, and first novel in the All Souls Trilogy.

Deborah Harkness debut novel is written mainly from her main female character, Diana Bishop’s point of view. We also get a glimpse of what it’s like to be in the mind of her main male character Matthew Clairmont at some stages throughout the book. Deborah’s own personal journey in the study of theatre and history and her profession in historical science mirror that of her main character Diana. Harkness is clearly doing, as all great writers should, and ‘write what they know’.

This work of fiction takes readers into the world of Witches, Vampires and Daemons, but unlike all of the other young adult and adult fiction in this genre, Harkness has created a fresh new world and spin on her creatures, and has also managed to show her knowledge and love of history in a way that blends nicely with her characters personalities and interactions. Harkness has managed to create an interesting story that isn’t solely based on fighting for a ‘forbidden’ love.

This story follows Diana Bishop, a historian and her thirst for knowledge about how science and alchemy worked and was developed in society before the mainstream of technology. Diana mistakenly comes across an ancient manuscript and is working in the Bodleian library making notes when she encounters a vampire, Matthew Clairmont. Matthew’s first interest in Diana is how she was able to come across this manuscript, but soon his interest increases to an infatuation, which amongst different species is forbidden.

Diana’s life is threatened by other witches, daemons and vampires, who are all seeking as to why she was able to call out this manuscript, when many before her have fallen short.

The story continues to explore the secrets of the manuscript and the development of love between two opposite people and the struggles they face fighting against a tri-species of congregation members, all seeking to get their hands on the ancient manuscript and the secrets and truth that it holds inside.

Deborah Harkness has a great ability to create interesting and lovable characters. The more she explores and unveils about Diana and Matthew, the more you want to read and discover their personalities as the story progresses.

Harkness also crafted this book as the first part of a three part series. At the end of this first book you feel like the story is drawing to a close, but Harkness has the ability to lift the story at the end and leave you hanging for the next part of Diana and Matthews story. And for a debut author, this talent is duly noted. It is also relevant to note the level of writing. Harkness easily describes Diana’s world with clear imaging and creates ever growing characters that makes them feel more real, leaving an impression on your mind, that when the book ends your longing for more.

In my opinion an author that can do this on their debut novel is one that should be noted. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a new spin on the supernatural phenomenon and who like a twist of history.

I would have liked to spend more time working on this review but time permitting this is what I have written. Comments welcome.

By Sarazin Sheikh Mustafa 19 Jun 2012 5

I bought this book out of whim coz i need to get a second book in order to get a 50% discount at Borders. Boy, was I surprise how good this book really is! Set in the background and lush history of oxford, the combination of vampire, witches and scatterings of daemons really does work!
I am a fan of all things vampires and witches of sort, but the amount of books of this genre in the market now doesn't really have anything that sparked my interest until i read this book.
It is like a combination of Twillight and Harry Potter but written for adults! I just can't wait for the 2nd book to come out next month!

By Karen Shadbolt 07 Jan 2012 5

I had received this book a while ago and didn't really think it was for me so I took it back but then a few weeks ago I had another look at it and thought I'd give it a try. I started it around new years eve going into 2012 and alright finished but the 10th jan 2012. That to me is saying this was such an amazing book. Anyone who loves the twilight or any other vampire stories should well like this. I can not wait for Shadow ofNight to come out. What good stary. This has been the best vampire/witchcraft story I have read and theres quite a few of those kind of books I've red and loved.

Review quote

'Intelligent and off-the-wall, it will be irresistible to Twilight fans' The Sunday Times 'A bubbling cauldron of illicit desire...all the ingredients for an assured saga that blends romance with fantasy' Daily Mail 'An inventive addition to the supernatural craze... Historian Harkness's racy paranormal romance has exciting amounts of spells, kisses and battles, and is recounted with enchanting, page-turning panache' Marie Claire 'A romp through magical academia' Guardian '...a grand romance smartly dressed up in the fashion for the occult...Sauced up with magic as well as being intelligent, the novel will be irresistible to Twilight fans' The Sunday Times