A Discovery of Witches
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A Discovery of Witches

3.98 (241,861 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 592 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 50.8mm | 793.78g
  • Penguin Putnam Inc
  • Penguin USA
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0670022411
  • 9780670022410
  • 117,031

About Deborah Harkness

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.show more

Review quote

A wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter or Twilight. . . . An irresistible tale of wizardry, science and forbidden love. People Romantic, erudite, and suspenseful . . . Harkness attends to every scholarly and emotional detail with whimsy, sensuality, and humor. O, The Oprah Magazine A thoroughly grown-up novel packed with gorgeous historical detail and a gutsy, brainy heroine to match. . . . Harkness writes with thrilling gusto about the magical world. Entertainment Weekly Harkness conjures up a scintillating paranormal story. . . . Discover why everyone s talking about this magical book. USA Today Delightfully well-crafted and enchantingly imaginative . . . It has some of the same ineluctable atmosphere that made Anne Rice s vampire books such a popular success. Miami Herald A debut novel with a big supernatural canvas . . . Its ambitions are world-sized, ranging across history and zeroing in on DNA, human and otherwordly. Age-old tensions between science and magic and between evolution and alchemy erupt as Diana seeks to unlock the secrets of Ashmole 782. Los Angeles Times Harkness, an eloquent writer, conjures this world of witches with Ivy League degrees and supernatural creatures completely and believably while maintaining a sense of wonder. . . . A Discovery of Witches is that rare historical novel that manages to be as intelligent as it is romantic. And it is supernatural fiction that those of us who usually prefer to stay grounded in reality can get caught up in. Pardon the pun, but Witches is truly spellbinding. San Antonio News-Express Readers who thrilled to Elizabeth Kostova s 2005 blockbuster, The Historian, will note the parallels, but A Discovery of Witches is a modern Romeo and Juliet story, with older, wiser lovers. Blood will flow when a witch and a vampire fall for each other. Author Deborah Harkness, a UCLA history professor, brings vast knowledge and research to the page. Cleveland Plain Dealer Harkness works her own form of literary alchemy by deftly blending fantasy, romance, history, and horror into one completely bewitching book. Chicago Tribune A Discovery of Witches becomes increasingly charming as it goes along. . . . A shrewdly written romp and a satisfying snow-day read for those of us who heartily enjoyed the likes of Anne Rice and Marion Zimmer Bradley. By the book s rousing end . . . I was impatient for the sequel. NPR"show more

Rating details

241,861 ratings
3.98 out of 5 stars
5 40% (97,617)
4 32% (77,021)
3 17% (42,198)
2 7% (16,031)
1 4% (8,994)

Our customer reviews

I've seen mixed reviews of this book and was curious about it. I don't often feel a sense of sadness when a book ends - but I did when this one ended. I loved this book! It's a creative, imaginative, fantastical work of fiction. The book depicts world that is populated by humans, vampires, witches and demons. A academic witch who has turned her back on her familial (descendants of Salem, Massachusetts witches) witching powers becomes acquainted with a vampire in the Bodleian library at Oxford. He's a fascinating, handsome professor who has, among many, a good Scottish friend named Hamish - who's a demon. Witch and vampire fall for each in a big way - a big "no-no" in the world of 'creatures'. This forbidden love triggers the fury of the 'council' and, in a facile twist of prose, brings together an odd assortment of 3 witches, 3 vampire and 3 demons...all of whom make for a sub council dedicated to true love for all. The reluctant witch must learn to use her ancestral powers in order to survive the wrath that her romance has unleashed. I can see where some readers might not be able to enjoy this book because they find the whole story implausible. It is, of course, implausible. Fiction is, almost by definition, generally, implausible. I read this book and thought of it not only as a truly imaginative work of fiction but also as allegorical ; where some loves are still considered taboo and where we still think that some sorts of people are blood suckers, demonic or spell casters. What I wanted from this book was entertainment - and I got that in spades. It's rollicking tale of love, sorcery and the coming together of all creatures in a common desire for good. What I don't understand is how a reader would not at least appreciate this book as the well crafted, thoroughly imaginative tale that it is. I think of it almost as a fairy tale for grown ups. A unisex fairy tale. I liked this book so much that I also listened to the audible version - which makes the story all that much more enjoyable. It's perfectly narrated by the talented Jennifer Ikeda. Rumor has it that this will be a trilogy and I simply can't wait for the sequel to be in my hands. This book is a love story and rollicking romp into the mind of a gifted writer. This book needs to become a movie. It would be fantastic! Okay - I've had my rave and will go back to my perusals.show more
by Marie Johansen
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