In A Discovery of Witches Deborah Harkness has created a world is full of humans and creatures. The creatures are witches, vampires, and demons. Diana Bishop is a historian and a witch but one who does not want to use her magic. She is at Oxford on a year’s sabbatical studying the history of alchemy. Her life changes when she requests and receives Ashmole 782. She senses magic in the manuscript, and sends it back after taking a few notes. But Ashmole 782 is a manuscript that all of the creatures want and Diana is the first to see or open it in since it was put under a spell. This is the start of an adventure that spans time and place. Because of the Ashmole 782 Matthew Clairmont, a 1500-year-old vampire, enters Diana’s life and offers protection and much more.
A Discovery of Witches takes you on a long journey filled with fascinating characters and a lot of action. What it does not do is finish the story of Diana, Matthew and Ashmole 782. I hope I don’t have to wait too long for the next book.
Deborah Harkness is as fascinating as her book. She is a student of history and alchemy and uses her knowledge to produce a fun and believable world for A Discovery of Witches. This is her first novel but she has written and published two scholarly works. She teaches at the University of Southern California.
After I finished A Discovery of Witches I wanted to interview Deborah. I found that Viking published an interview with Deborah that answered my questions. Look for parts of that interview tomorrow. You can find out how history and fiction is combined in A Discovery of Witches.