A Discovery of Witches
By Deborah Harkness
It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches.
‘Deep in the heart of
’s Bodleian Library, scholar Diana Bishop requests a manuscript called Ashmole 782 in the course of her research. Coming from an old and distinguished lineage of witches, Diana senses that the ancient book might be bound up with magic – but she herself wants nothing to do with the sorcery; and after making a few notes on its curious images, she banishes it quickly back to the stacks. But what she doesn’t know is that the old alchemical text has been lost for centuries, and its sudden appearance has set a fantastical underworld stirring. Soon, a distracting horde of daemons, witches, and vampires descends upon the Bodleian’s reading rooms. One of these creatures is Matthew Clairmont, an enigmatic and eminent geneticist, practitioner of yoga, and wine connoisseur – and also a vampire with a keen interest in Ashmole 782.’ Oxford
‘Equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense, A Discovery of Witches is a novel of epic scope, traveling from the cobbled streets of Oxford to the chateaus and mountains of the Auvergne to a small town in upstate New York. It also takes us into a rich fifteen hundred year history that spans
and the Crusades, the Knights Templar, and the American Revolution. As Matthew and Diana’s alliance deepens into intimacy, Diana must come to terms with the age-old taboos and her own family’s conflicted history – and she must learn where the modern woman she is meets with the source of ancient power that is her legacy. With a scholar’s depth and the touch of a great storyteller, Deborah Harkness has woven a tale of passion and obsession; the collision of magic, alchemy, and the science; and the closely guarded secrets of an enchanted world.’ Clovis
Normally I would just add my own description of a novel to review but I really couldn’t think of anything as enticing as what is written on the jacket of this book. This book had me totally mesmerized and enchanted from the very first page. I love big books because of the potential that they bring. I am rarely disappointed by them either. This book was no different. I remember being 300 pages in and realizing with great relief that I still had another 300 pages to go. Ms. Harkness has quite the knack for storytelling. She has intertwined so many elements into this story that you can’t wait to turn the page but then you don’t want to because you want to savor every detail she is presenting to your senses. The love story that develops between Matthew and Diana is spellbinding. Their story is very turbulent because of their differences but despite all of that Diana describes it best on pg 340 – “Loving Matthew was much more like coming into port than heading out into a storm.”
If you love a great, however turbulent, love story mixed with fantastical creatures woven into history that makes them a vivid reality you will love this book! This is the first book in the All Souls Trilogy. The next book will be coming out next year. I don’t know how I will manage having to wait until next year! There is a downside to starting a series book too early in the publishing process. If her next book is anything like this book then it will be worth every minute of the wait.
As you probably have guessed I give this book 5 stars! If my rating system was higher I would do so without hesitation for this novel. This is not an easy read and not just because of the length of the book. The author gives so much depth and clarity to her words that you must pay attention or you will find yourself lost in some areas. This can be troublesome for someone like myself that tends to read quickly. I did have to go back a page or two once in a while to connect some things she was saying. So slow down and enjoy every minute of this novel and you will not be disappointed.