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A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy)…
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A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy) (edition 2011)

by Deborah Harkness (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,653562872 (3.78)362
Member:maryintexas39
Title:A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy)
Authors:Deborah Harkness (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (2011), Edition: 1st, 579 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:witches fiction, historical fiction

Work details

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

  1. 202
    The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (clamairy)
    clamairy: Similar themes of magic and academia.
  2. 214
    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Anonymous user, SunnySD)
    Anonymous user: Both are epic fantasy novels...time travel, mystery, unlikely love interests.
  3. 141
    The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe (bnbookgirl)
  4. 20
    Labyrinth by Kate Mosse (DowntownLibrarian)
    DowntownLibrarian: If you enjoy learning some history along with your fantasy....
  5. 10
    Overseas by Beatriz Williams (rlb0616)
    rlb0616: No witches or vampires, but it does have time travel. Also, there are many similarities between the two male leads.
  6. 10
    The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones (debbiereads)
  7. 21
    City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte (thenothing)
    thenothing: alchemy, time travel, romance, mystery
  8. 21
    Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell (SunnySD)
    SunnySD: Scholarly heroines, mysterious goings on, and much time spent in libraries...
  9. 11
    A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter (Friederike.Geissler)
  10. 00
    The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (tralliott)
  11. 78
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  12. 1518
    Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (happyhinsons)
  13. 05
    Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott (Mumugrrl)
    Mumugrrl: Not the same kind of feel as A Discovery of Witches, but it does involve Oxford, alchemy and the ghost of Isaac Newton.
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» See also 362 mentions

English (550)  Dutch (3)  Finnish (3)  Hungarian (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (561)
Showing 1-5 of 550 (next | show all)
Truly enjoyable - good thing I have book #2 ready to go. ( )
  decaturmamaof2 | Nov 28, 2018 |
This is, without a doubt, one of the BEST books I have read in a very long time! While it starts off a bit slow, I was immediately enthralled with the characters wondering where their story would lead. After I finished this book, I rushed to the book store to get the second one which was even better than the first.

I've been recommending this book to all of my friends, regardless of what they typically read. One of the things I loved about the book it the combination of paranormal, mystery, historical fiction, and good old romance. It doesn't read like your typical vampire/witch romance novel. ( )
  Megan_Ann | Nov 28, 2018 |
I suppose I should be embarrassed that my first book of 2015 was a vampire romance, but I'm not. It was charming, with a convoluted plot, witches, demons, lots of suppressed sexuality and the Bodleian. What could possibly be wrong with that? I have no interest, right now, in anything more taxing than a witch growing into her witchy powers, so this was a perfect read for me at this season. I'll be more pretentious later in the year. ( )
  CatherineBurkeHines | Nov 28, 2018 |
It's a love story between a witch who fell in love with a vampire. The main character Diana is a historian who researches Alchemy. She stumbles upon a book that everyone in the supernatural world has been looking for and after reading it briefly returns it. This starts the crazy whirlwind of a plot. We are taken to many places and really see the character grow.

Now I really really enjoyed this book. I had already skimmed some reviews and was forewarned about Diana's weird personality flips in the book when she was falling in love, but these things change so much by the time the Bishop house comes into play that I feel like maybe she was just growing as person. Adjusting to this new idea of what loving Matthew will be for her.

The descriptions in this book were amazing! The amount of detail giving to the books Diana uses in her research and alchemy in general just blew me away. I was so pleased that the author really took care to be accurate in her details of things involving alchemy from a long time ago.

The plot was interesting. I really enjoyed how it all started out with the book being missing. And slowly developed into this huge overarching plot that is obviously what will be detailed in following books. It really brought me into the story and got me excited to see where all this would end up.

The main problems I had with the book was the middle part really lagged and left me bored. I just kept going okay when is this going to finally pick up? I also was flustered by Diana's lack of knowledge about why she couldn't use her powers until I learned the real reasoning. Though that was one of the reasons I kept reading the book. It kept me attached and wanting to know more, but still annoyed at her lack of knowledge in some aspects.

Overall I loved this book. I can't wait for the second book to come out. I've grown quite fond of all the characters involved and think the overarching plot line will prove to be incredibly interesting especially since Diana really grew as a character I felt by the end of this book. She no longer felt whiney or powerless to me. She finally was becoming the goddess she was named after. ( )
  rabidgummibear | Nov 28, 2018 |
Two stars for the lovely premise (Oxford witch finds strangely alluring manuscript in the Bodleian), but then it quickly ventured into instalove with an obsessive vampire, much like a scholarly Edward Cullen. I gave up around the time when he brought her to his French mansion. ( )
  camillawb | Nov 6, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 550 (next | show all)
"With books about fictional witches, it’s all too easy to fall back on tongue-in-cheek descriptors like “enchanting” or “spellbinding,” but both adjectives aptly describe the superbly entertaining saga Harkness has crafted. This is a riveting tale full of romance and danger that will have you on the edge of your seat, yet its chief strength lies in the wonderfully rich and ingenious mythology underlying the story. Entwining strands of science and history, Harkness creates a fresh explanation for how such creatures could arise that is so credible, you’ll have to keep reminding yourself this is fiction."
 
As will be obvious by now, this is a very silly novel. Characters and relationships are stereotyped. The historical background is a total pudding. The prose is terrible. And yet, the ideas have just enough suction, somehow, to present an undemanding reader with some nice frissons. I liked, for example, the way Diana tries to sublimate her magic powers in running and rowing and doing yoga – at a mixed vampire-witch-daemonic yoga class, participants struggle not to levitate during their vinyasas. And I liked the way Matthew and Diana smell to each other like Jo Malone candles: Diana is "horehound, frankincense, lady's mantle", Matthew is "cinnamon and clove".
 
"a thoroughly grown-up novel packed with gorgeous historical detail...Harkness writes with thrilling gusto about the magical world. Whether she's describing a yoga class for witches, daemons, and vampires or Diana's benignly haunted house, it's a treat to suspend disbelief. ... As the mysteries started to unravel, the pages turned faster, almost as if on their own. By the most satisfying end, Harkness had made me a believer.
 
"a romantic, erudite, and suspenseful first novel by Deborah Harkness. The first in a planned trilogy, it sets up blood drinkers and spell weavers as enemies for eternity in a feud as old as the Crusades; the duo confront social disapproval and intolerance as they elude evildoers and puzzle out enigmas throughout history. ...Harkness attends to every scholarly and emotional detail with whimsy, sensuality, and humor.
 
The protagonist is a witch. Her beau is a vampire. If you accept the argument that we’ve seen entirely too many of both kinds of characters in contemporary fiction, then you’re not alone. Yet, though Harkness seems to be arriving very late to a party that one hopes will soon break up, her debut novel has its merits; she writes well, for one thing, and, as a historian at the University of Southern California, she has a scholarly bent that plays out effectively here.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews (Dec 15, 2010)
 

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Harkness, Deborahprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Belanger, FrancescaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goretsky, TalCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ikeda, JenniferNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches.
Dedication
For Lexie and Jake, and their bright futures.
First words
The leather-bound volume was nothing remarkable.
Quotations
The King just sits there, moving one square at time. The queen can move so freely. I suppose I'd rather lose the game than forfeit her freedom.
´Normal`is a bedtime story - a fable - that humans tell themselves to feel better when faced with overwhelming evidence that most of what's happening around them is not ´normal`at all.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
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." - NoveList Plus
Haiku summary
Witches, vampires
and daemons all want to read
book on alchemy.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0670022411, Hardcover)

Amazon Best of the Month, February 2011: It all begins with a lost manuscript, a reluctant witch, and 1,500-year-old vampire. Dr. Diana Bishop has a really good reason for refusing to do magic: she is a direct descendant of the first woman executed in the Salem Witch Trials, and her parents cautioned her be discreet about her talents before they were murdered, presumably for having "too much power." So it is purely by accident that Diana unlocks an enchanted long-lost manuscript (a book that all manner of supernatural creatures believe to hold the story of all origins and the secret of immortality) at the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and finds herself in a race to prevent an interspecies war. A sparkling debut written by a historian and self-proclaimed oenophile, A Discovery of Witches is heady mix of history and magic, mythology and love (cue the aforementioned vampire!), making for a luxurious, intoxicating, one-sitting read. --Daphne Durham

Ten More Books for Readers of A Discovery of Witches

Interested in learning more about magic and science?

I may have written a novel, but I’m still a history professor! Here are some reading suggestions for those of you whose curiosity has been stirred up by the story of Diana Bishop, Matthew Clairmont, and the hunt for the missing alchemical manuscript Ashmole 782. All of the titles here are non-fiction, and inspired some aspect of A Discovery of Witches.

Elias Ashmole, Theatrum Chemicum Brittanicum: Don’t be put off by the Latin title. This is a collection of English alchemical texts that were gathered by Elias Ashmole. The missing alchemical manuscript that Diana finds in the Bodleian library is not among them, alas, but if you are interested in the subject this is a fascinating glimpse into the mysterious texts that she studies as a historian.

Janet Browne, Darwin’s Origin of Species: Books That Changed the World: Browne is not only a great scholar, but a superb writer. A highly-regarded biographer of Darwin, here she turns her talents to writing a “biography” of his most famous book—and one of Matthew Clairmont’s favorites, as well.

Owen Davies, Grimoires: A History of Magic Books. If you are interested in the history of magic and witchcraft, Davies’ description of the development of magical spellbooks will provide insights into how ideas about magic, science, and nature developed over the centuries.

Carol Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England. Diana Bishop is descended from a long line of witches. You will find out more about some of those witches—the Bishops and the Proctors—while reading this classic interpretation of what happened in Salem in 1692.

Robert Kehew, Ezra Pound, and W. D. Snodgrass, Lark in the Morning: The Verses of the Troubadours. Matthew is a very old vampire, who has slightly old-fashioned views on love and romance. You might be surprised at the love poetry of his early life, and come away with a whole new appreciation for “old-fashioned.”

Bruce Moran’s Distilling Knowledge: Alchemy, Chemistry, and the Scientific Revolution. This marvelous book is not only deeply learned but extremely readable. Touched with Moran’s sense of humor and his compassion for his subject’s tireless efforts to understand the natural world, you will come away from this book with a new appreciation for the alchemists.

Alexander Roob, Alchemy and Mysticism. Diana Bishop is an expert on the enigmatic imagery that is used in alchemical texts. Many are included in Roob’s book, along with other illustrations from mystical and magical traditions.

Lyndal Roper, Witch Craze: Terror and Fantasy in Baroque Germany. This scholarly book was important to me as I wrote A Discovery of Witches because it helped me understand how the belief in witches influenced the imagination. Many of the notions we have about witchcraft today have their roots in these terrifying fantasies.

James Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness: Witchcraft in Early Modern England. Sharpe’s book is an ideal starting point if you are interested in the history of witchcraft beyond Salem or Germany. One of his most controversial arguments focuses on the role that women played as accusers—not just as victims—in the witchcraft trials.

Bryan Sykes, The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry. I was fascinated by the combination of history, genealogy, and science in Sykes’s work. The book provides an introduction to the study of genetics, and to the legacies that are carried from generation to generation among the population.

--Deborah Harkness

(Photo of Deborah Harkness © Marion Ettlinger)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:41 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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