There are witches, daemons, and vampires who walk among us, and we are so unaware we don’t have a clue! They work, go to school, raise their children and appear just like us. Great artists, writers, and rock stars-daemons! Reclusive billionaires-vampires! And witches, well, I’d wager that the person who gets the last available seat on the bus or who is always in the quickest line at the grocery store is a witch.
Deborah Harkness has written a remarkable book. It is 580 pages (too long for my book club!) and impossible to put down.
Diana Bishop is a powerful witch, and a descendant of, yes, those Bishop witches from the Salem Witch Trials. Diana, however, has spent most of her life trying not to use her powers. She is an historian and a professor at Yale who is spending a year studying at Oxford. Her field is the history of science, with a special interest in alchemy.When Diana opens a bewitched manuscript at Oxford’s Bodleian Library, this story begins. In the 150+ years since Ashmole 782 has been in the library, no one has been able to access it. The world’s “creatures” (the aforementioned dameons, vampires and witches) all want the book. They believe it contains important information about the past and the future.
Chief among the creatures who are interested in Diana Bishop and Ashmole 782 is the vampire Matthew Clairmont. He is wealthy, attractive, intelligent and charming. Witches have a deep prejudice towards vampires, and Diana is not sure that she can trust Matthew. But who can she trust? The other witches are as eager to get information about the book as the vampires and daemons.
Of course this all sounds like a fantasy world. But Harkness is able to inject enough of the ordinary details of modern life to make this tale seem believable and the characters totally sympathetic. A Discovery of Witches is Book One of Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy. The second book is scheduled to be released in 2012. I’m looking forward to that!
Published in hardcover-Viking-2011
A Discovery of Witches: A Novel