Author: Deborah Harkness
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.
Bluestocking’s Opinion: In Ms. Harkness’ book there are three magical races: witches, vampires, and daemons. All three magical races stand out in a crowd. Diana Bishop comes from a very distinguished family of witches; unfortunately she shows little magical talent. All that changes when she pulls Ashmole 782 from the library archives to aid her in research for an upcoming lecture she is to give. This sets in motion a series of events that forces Diana return to her magical roots.
One thing that was interesting about this world was the rampant prejudices that each magical races held about other races. Diana in that respect is very different. Because she has next to no magical ability (or so she thinks), she views herself as human. These races have a covenant that forbid fraternization. There are some hefty penalties if you violate it. But it isn’t clear why. But one thing is certain, the key to why the covenant was created in the first place can be found in Ashmole 782. Unfortunately, only Diana can recall the book, but she doesn’t know how she did it, and others intend to use her or destroy her in order to get that book.
I didn’t find out about this book until after the third book was released. I see why so many book bloggers were raving about it. It was very interesting. I think what I liked the most of the history of alchemy that the author included in her story.
The book also has one of the best quotes I’ve ever read.
It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches.