Saturday, March 5, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Title: A Discovery of Witches

Author: Deborah Harkness

Publisher: Headline Fiction

RRP: $29.99

ISBN: 9780755374038

Release Date: March 2011

Pages: 608


"Headline has fought off competition from five other publishers to acquire the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair's hottest title, A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES" - Bookseller. Now discover for yourself one of the most exciting books of 2011.

An epic, richly inventive, historically sweeping, magical romance. 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 geneticist. 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...


Deborah Harkness is a professor of history at USC, specializing in science and medicine in early modern Europe. She is the author most recently of THE JEWEL HOUSE (Yale, 2007), based on her ground-breaking work on how science was practiced in Elizabethan London. (And she really did once find a missing manuscript in the Bodleian Library!)



A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is one mammoth novel, sitting at 608 pages. It is not your average vampire novel, and contains other supernatural creatures and strong occult themes. Harkness has packed the novel full of copious imagery, yet never too effusive or monotonous.

A Discovery of Witches shows an extensive amount of research that the author has undertaken, with vivid descriptions of libraries, ancient books and locations. The introduction to the vampire Matthew Clairmont is one of the best introduction to any character you could expect.

The plot itself is amazingly intricate and flawlessly crafted. It is a brilliant thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.

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