A Discovery Of Witches

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Author: Deborah Harkness
ISBN: 978-075-537-4038
RRP: $29.99

Deborah Harkness has written a literary masterpiece that is intelligent, witty and emotional and touches  that inner most part of a book lover.


An integral part of the story is books, very old books and very rare books, so it speaks to the inner bookworm and quite a lot of the early section of the book is set in a library the likes of which I have never seen but my imagination and Deborah’s words have built some awe-inspiring pictures of the Bodleian Library that I’m sure will brighten some of my darker days

A Discovery of Witches is exactly that for Diana, who turned her back on magic and witchcraft at an early age with the violent murders of her parents.

discovery of witches
Diana has constructed a very ordered life for herself, firmly grounded and totally fenced off from the world of witches, daemons and vampires. Hers is a life immersed in history; specialising in the history of science and researching the time when science started pushing magic into the background and explaining the previously inexplicable. The direction she has chosen for her work parallels the choices she has made for her life, pushing magic as far out as possible.

It takes little more than a heartbeat for the changes in all of that to begin when a manuscript is retrieved from the bowels of the library with unexpected consequences. All of the very carefully constructed walls around Diana begin to crumble and the number of witches, vampires and daemons that congregate around the library is virtually unheard of.

Matthew Clairmont is one of those who takes to spending a great deal of time in the Bodleian Library, he is a vampire and a geneticist searching for the origins of his race. Originally heading to the library to watch as the consequences of the recalled manuscript unfold and planning for the manuscript to come into his possession, Matthew too is surprised by some very unexpected events.

Drawn together by something neither of them can understand Matthew and Diana embark on a journey faced with many dangers from every direction, and every supernatural species. The more they discover, about the situation they are faced with and each other, the deeper their danger and the stronger their bond.

A Discovery of Witches is a story of discovery on so many levels. Diana is discovering that the witch in her blood can not be run from and it is a journey of self discovery she really needs to undertake. Matthew’s research is looking back to discover the origins of all the species and therefore the beginning of the witches. And the missing manuscript – everyone seems to think that will be a major discovery of the origins of all of the species but there may be more contained within it’s pages than anyone bargained for.

Deborah’s background in history has been put to excellent use in this, her first,  novel. Not only are there Matthew’s recollections of people and places in the distant past; there is also the background information about the Bodleian Library and the unexpected manuscript, which actually does exist.

This book debuted last week at #2 on the New York Times Bestsellers list for hardcover fiction and it really does deserve it. The book is well written, with beautiful flow, vivid characters and well researched.

But more than all of that it is emotional and romantic, intelligent and insightful, and full of books and libraries. It was also a lot of fun to watch the strong and independent heroine interacting with the very old fashioned and protective vampire, there were so many skirmishes between them that came down to the era of the upbringing. A modern yet age old telling of the star crossed lovers tale with adult appeal.

My only issue with the book was that it stopped and now I have to wait, and wait, and wait for the sequel. I swear authors are trying to teach me patience.

One thought on “A Discovery Of Witches

  1. I saw this when I was shopping and wasn’t sure about it but I will have to buy it now….it’s a bonus for me it’s on sale at a major chain store 🙂

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