Monday, July 9, 2012

"A Discovery of Witches" by Debra Harkness

I have been off a week...doing nothing but reading  and relaxing.  It has been fun, but I am glad to be back to work. Why?  Because, I am much more productive when I am working.  I fit in more in my life, like quilting, making scrapbooks, watercolor, etc when I am at home and know I only have so many hours.  .  But this week, I did start a fun well written fantasy called "A Discovery of Witches."

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.

I loved Harry Potter and other fantasy, but this is the first vampire novel I have read that I am glad I picked up and started.   A great literary novel.   Deborah Harkness is a scholar and writer specializing in the history of science and medicine. She has received numerous awards, including Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships. Currently a professor of history at the University of Southern California, her most recent academic publication is The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution. This is her first novel. 

The second book of this series is coming out this week:  "Shadow of Night." 

Picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.
Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.

Sue Hill

No comments: