A Discovery of Witches

Imagine a grownup Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the Da Vinci Code full of witches and vampires and you will have a good idea of what A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is like. It’s a riveting page-turner full of magic and dark romance. The hefty tome chronicles the meeting of Diana Bishop, the last of a famous family of witches, and a charismatic vampire cum scientist Matthew Clairmont. 

Professor Diana Bishop is doing research in Oxford’s old Bodleian Library when she finds a famous missing volume on alchemy. The book turns out to be enchanted. When Diana accidentally breaks the enchantment she attracts a horde of witches, daemons, and vampires. This is when she meets Matthew Clairmont, a dark mysterious, and charismatic vampire. Diana, has never consciously practiced witchcraft, so she is at a loss when she confronted by so many magical forces. She is also thrown by her attraction to the dark and handsome vampire.

Deborah Harkness is a historian, so — as with the popular Da Vinci Code — she has hidden nuggets of history and obscure facts among her vampires and witches. And her character Diana, like Buffy, is an unwilling but appealing combatant in the metaphysical struggle that ensues.
While a fantasy, A Discovery of Witches is also sophisticated, witty, and well-researched. The characters are compelling and interesting. 
Harkness’ attention to historical and scientific detail brings this fantastic tale well above the level of most books in this general. The writing is impeccable.
A Discovery of Witches is the first book in the All Souls trilogy. I for one am hooked on Deborah Harkness and her mystical tale. Don’t miss this one. Available Feb 1, 2010.