A Discovery of Witches

Harkness, Deborah E.

Book - 2011
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
A Discovery of Witches
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.

Publisher: New York : Viking, 2011
ISBN: 9780670022410
Branch Call Number: FICTION HARKNESS 2011
Characteristics: 579 p. ;,24 cm


From Library Staff

Diana Bishop is a witch who would rather be a history professor. But when she discovers a particular manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian library, she gets caught up in an adventure where she may no longer have much of a choice.

Diana, a historian and a witch, although she has vowed not to use her powers, unwittingly requests an enchanted library book which begins a magical adventure that draws a very handsome and interesting vampire to her aid. As of 08/14, it's also available on audiobook CD.

Scholar Diana Bishop mistakenly requests a bewitched manuscript for her research. She belongs to a family of witches--but because she's avoiding using her powers in favor of scientific pursuits, she sends the manuscript back into storage. What she doesn't realize is, she's already started down a ... Read More »

A book about Witches for those less inclined to read about witches.

Comment by: multcolib_lauralw Mar 12, 2014

Loved this supernatural romance and mystery! Great world building and interesting characters-really well developed.

From the critics

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Mar 24, 2015
  • jkranz8 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Awesome read!!
One of my favorite trilogies.
Very recommended!

Mar 07, 2015
  • Chapel_Hill_SarahW rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I was so surprised after changing the status to Read on Goodreads, that so many people hated this book! Maybe they were expecting more literary fiction? I'm a lace busting romance, broomstick loving, unabashed follower of all things fun and magical, so this book was definitely up my alley. At times it reminded me of Outlander, The Magicians, and even a bit of Harry Potter. If you like a good love story with magic and time travel, this one's for you!

Feb 19, 2015
  • danomcd rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

HUH? There are so many stories and characters in this book that you really need a glossary. I also had a hard time figuring out why I should care about any of them. For two supposedly very smart and deadly supernatural characters Diana and Matthew seem to spend a lot of time running away from everyone. They also don't really think through their actions before they are in the deep of it - which would seem totally out of true character based on the roles they are suppose to have (e.g. history professor and spy)

Jan 17, 2015
  • LT rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I liked the book a lot the first time I read it. Took a look at it a second time, because I wanted to read the rest of the trilogy and needed a reminder. Found it was very slow-moving and repetitive. Heroine's behaviour is illogical, as are the reactions of the creatures who surround her. (The humans don't come off so badly.) In retrospect, would not recommend except for a rather patient reader.

Aug 30, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Books, libraries and culture are intertwined in a manner which creates a fascinating narrative. The scope might not be universal, but the breadth of the societies covered in the book is wide. While the topic of bibliocasts can be depressing, it is also important for understanding human culture. Whether you are a fan of general history or just a bibliophile, this book is an excellent read!

Aug 17, 2014
  • artemishi rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A Discovery of Witches is a contemporary supernatural fiction with a little bit of everything. The protagonist is no-nonsense and practical, and it's great fun to see her deal with many curveballs in her boldly honest way.

The romance is steamy- and I don't often say that, so here it's a huge compliment- and not explicit at all. The are some lightly gory bits that had me queasy (but then, that doesn't take much these days), but the portrayal of family ties is so brilliantly developed and you get such a sense for each character that I didn't mind a little stomach churning.

There's a great many nods to history (and alchemy) as well as genetics and phlebotomy in a way that tells me Harkness likes her research (she's a professor and wine blogger btw). Gotta love entertainment that educates!

I also might have a wee book crush on Marcus.

Anyway, I greatly enjoyed this one and I'm glad there's a sequel, which I will be reading as soon as I can get my paws on it. I recommend it for fans of contemporary supernatural stories, intelligent fiction, juxtapositions/opposites, character development, sizzling but 'clean' romance, and science and/or history in fiction.

Aug 10, 2014
  • LibraryGrrrrl rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is one of my top favorite series. So well written and complex, that I can still remember all the details while waiting a year and a half for each book to come out (the third one just released). My favorite thing about it is that the vampires are thousands of years old and she demonstrates their evolution well, and the witches are wonderfully complex and follow the actual principles of the craft. The Author also has a wonderful history, worth looking up and following her blogs!

Aug 06, 2014
  • conniem75 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Love this book! I didn't have time to read it all, as I could only have it for 2 weeks, so I went and bought it at Costco, along with the second book of the series.

Aug 01, 2014

Book 1

Mar 16, 2014
  • green_cat_2270 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

this is like that best mythical book on the planet!!!!! its still in a tye with twilight.
these two rich fairytale storys come to life in more ways then you can imagine one of my all time favorites

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Add Age Suitability

Mar 24, 2015
  • jkranz8 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

jkranz8 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 16 and 99

Oct 07, 2012
  • bribear rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

bribear thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Jun 27, 2012
  • Faize rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Faize thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add a Summary

Oct 24, 2011
  • AnneDromeda rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Diana Bishop is a witch in denial. An orphan born to a prominent witch family, she's ignoring her magical heritage to pour her energy into academia. She's travelled to Oxford's Bodleian Library to research a lecture she's giving on alchemy - but when she orders up one ancient manuscript, she unwittingly unleashes a maelstrom of supernatural power. Soon, she can't walk to her study carrel without tripping over some witch, vampire or demon brimming with curiosity or malicious intent. One such creature is Matthew Clairmont, a handsome fellow academic with a sanguine disposition. As other supernatural creatures become more threatening, Diana finds herself warily grateful for the help he offers. Can she survive the powers she's unleashed to become the witch she's meant to be? Is the real Matthew the kind, chivalrous man she's come to know, or the bloodthirsty hunter of whom she finds hints? The answers to these questions will determine the fate of the uneasy worldwide peace between witches, demons, vampires and humans.<br />

Like *Harry Potter*, *A Discovery of Witches* features an orphaned witch with latent legendary powers who encounters a great evil. It shares a great sense of mythology and place, too – you can practically smell the Bodleian when you're reading, and Oxford almost becomes extra character in the book. Diana's aunts' bewitched home in Wisconsin shares the same haunted architectural quirks readers loved in Hogwarts. And, like *Twilight*, an apparently-doomed romance with plenty of sexual tension and a sense of destiny takes centre stage in the action (but be forewarned: readers frustrated by the unresolved tension or the gender politics in *Twilight* will find themselves pretty annoyed with this book, too). This first book in the *All Souls* trilogy will also appeal to readers who enjoy the time travel elements and exhaustive research of authors like Diana Gabaldon (*Outlander* series) and Susanna Kearsley (*The Winter Sea*, *Marianna*). Other potential appeal factors include emphases on yoga, literature, and serious wine and book collecting. A great story to pick up for Hallowe'en, you'd best read the book now while the hold list is short, because the movie rights have already been purchased by Warner Bros. Oh, and good news for your future addiction issues: The second book, *Shadow of Night*, is anticipated for a summer 2012 release.

Jun 27, 2011
  • beauty1492 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

frist in Trilogy--All Souls Trilogy next novel 2012

Jun 05, 2011
  • driffle rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Slow at the beginning but reached a point where I didn't want to put it down. Can't wait for next book in series!


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Mar 24, 2015
  • jkranz8 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“Just because something seems impossible doesn’t make it untrue”
― Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches

Aug 14, 2012

‎"He was not of an age but for all time"___Ben Jonson


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Mar 24, 2015
  • jkranz8 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Sexual Content: Not much in book one but a little bit in book 2 & 3.

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