A discovery of witches

Deborah E. Harkness, 1965-

Book - 2011

Witch and Yale historian Diana Bishop discovers an enchanted manuscript, attracting the attention of 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. The orphaned daughter of two powerful witches, Bishop prefers intellect, but relies on magic when her discovery of a palimpsest documenting the origin of supernatural species releases an assortment of undead who threaten, stalk, and harass her.

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SCIENCE FICTION/Harkness, Deborah E.
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1st Floor SCIENCE FICTION/Harkness, Deborah E. Due Oct 13, 2021
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Series
Harkness, Deborah E., 1965- All souls trilogy ; bk. 1.
All souls trilogy.
Subjects
Published
New York : Viking 2011.
Language
English
Physical Description
579 p. ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780143119685
0143119680
9780670022410
0670022411
Main Author
Deborah E. Harkness, 1965- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Diana Bishop is the last of the Bishops, a powerful family of witches, but she has refused her magic ever since her parents died and, instead, has turned to academia. When a new project takes her to Oxford, she is looking forward to several months in the Bodleian, investigating alchemical manuscripts. Her peace is soon interrupted when one of the books she finds in the library turns out to have been lost for 150 years and is wanted desperately by the witch, daemon, and vampire communities—so desperately that many are willing to kill for it. But the very first creature to approach her after her discovery is Matthew, a very old vampire and fellow scholar, who seems only to want to protect her. Harkness creates a compelling and sweeping tale that moves from Oxford to Paris to upstate New York and into both Diana's and Matthew's complex families and histories. All her characters are fully fleshed and unique, which, when combined with the complex and engaging plot, results in one of the better fantasy debuts in recent months. The contemporary setting should help draw a large crossover audience. Try suggesting the novel to readers of literary mysteries like Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series, as well as to those who enjoy epic and fantastic romances including Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series and Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel novels. Essential reading across all these genres. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

When Dr. Diana Bishop, one of the last of the powerful Bishop line of witches and a visiting researcher at Oxford, unwittingly finds and unlocks a manuscript that has been lost in the Bodleian Library for over 100 years, she sets in motion a dangerous game of chess among witches, vampires, and daemons in which she is both pawn and queen. Standing as her guide and protector is Matthew Clairmont, a 1500-year-old vampire who has amassed not only great knowledge (he is an expert in genetics and corresponded with Darwin) but also untold power. Harkness blends these now-common elements into a richly detailed story, conjuring scenes full of rare manuscripts, charming ghosts that live in a highly opinionated house, and National Treasure-like riches. Equal care is given to the many settings of the novel, be it a French castle, Oxford, or an apple orchard in Upstate New York. Supporting the lavish description is a gothic tone that is dark and magical, with a heavy, portentous feel of discovery that is leavened by the romance that develops between Diana and Matthew and, particularly near the end, by the charming whimsy of Diana's childhood home (described in such a way that Harkness begins to evoke Sarah Allen Addison). Given all this attention to detail and the inevitable massive scale of storytelling that Harkness has to establish, the novel's pace is best described as languid and is particularly slow at the start. However, it picks up about half way through, as the story finally gathers enough of its threads to take off, rewarding readers with a satisfying, if unresolved, ending that leaves much more to tell in the projected second and third books of the trilogy. - Neal Wyatt, "RA Crossroads" Booksmack! 3/3/11 (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Diana Bishop is a history scholar—and a witch in denial of her powers. Researching the early beginnings of scientific study in Oxford's Bodleian Library, she unwittingly discovers an ancient tome of alchemy and finds herself attracting a great deal of unwanted attention from a startling array of deamons, witches, and other supernatural beings. Among them is the brilliant (and attractive) vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. Set in our contemporary world with a magical twist, this sparkling debut by a history professor features a large cast of fascinating characters, and readers will find themselves invested in Diana's success at unlocking the secrets of the manuscript. Although not a nail-biting cliff-hanger, the finale skillfully provides a sense of completion while leaving doors open for the possibility of wonderful sequel adventures. This reviewer, for one, hopes they come soon! VERDICT Destined to be popular with fantasy and paranormal aficionados, this enchanting novel is an essential purchase. Harkness is an author to watch. [Nine-city author tour; the novel will be translated into 32 languages.—Ed.]—Crystal Renfro, Georgia Inst. of Technology Lib., Atlanta [Page 102]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In Harkness's lively debut, witches, vampires, and demons outnumber humans at Oxford's Bodleian Library, where witch and Yale historian Diana Bishop discovers an enchanted manuscript, attracting the attention of 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. The orphaned daughter of two powerful witches, Bishop prefers intellect, but relies on magic when her discovery of a palimpsest documenting the origin of supernatural species releases an assortment of undead who threaten, stalk, and harass her. Against all occult social propriety, Bishop turns for protection to tall, dark, bloodsucking man-about-town Clairmont. Their research raises questions of evolution and extinction among the living dead, and their romance awakens centuries-old enmities. Harkness imagines a crowded universe where normal and paranormal creatures observe a tenuous peace. "Magic is desire made real," Bishop says after both her desire and magical prowess exceed her expectations. Harkness brings this world to vibrant life and makes the most of the growing popularity of gothic adventure with an ending that keeps the Old Lodge door wide open. (Feb.) [Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Discovering a magical manuscript in Oxford's library, scholar Diana Bishop, a descendant of witches who has rejected her heritage, inadvertently unleashes a fantastical underworld of daemons, witches, and vampires whose activities center around an enchanted treasure.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Discovering a magical manuscript in Oxford's library, scholar Diana Bishop, a descendant of witches who has rejected her heritage, inadvertently unleashes a fantastical underworld of daemons, witches and vampires whose activities center around an enchanted treasure. Reprint. 500,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Book one of the New York Times-bestselling All Souls trilogy—"a wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight” (People).  Look for the hit TV series “A Discovery of Witches,” streaming on AMC Plus, Sundance Now and Shudder. Season 2 premieres January 9, 2021!  Deborah Harkness’s sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches, has brought her into the spotlight and galvanized fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar's depth to this riveting tale of magic and suspense. The story continues in book two, Shadow of Night, and concludes with The Book of Life.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Book one of the New York Times-bestselling All Souls trilogy—"a wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight” (People).  Now “[a] hot show that’s like Twilight meets Outlander” (Thrillist) airing Sundays on AMC and BBC America, as well as streaming on Sundance Now and Shudder. Deborah Harkness’s sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches, has brought her into the spotlight and galvanized fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont. Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar's depth to this riveting tale of magic and suspense. The story continues in book two, Shadow of Night, and concludes with The Book of Life.