It begins with absence and desire

It begins with blood and fear

It begins with a discovery of witches…..

When historian Diana Bishop opens a bewitched alchemical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library it represents an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordinary life. Though descended from a long line of witches, she is determined to remain untouched by her family’s legacy. She banishes the manuscript to the stacks, but Diana finds it impossible to hold the world of magic at bay any longer.For witches are not the only otherworldly creatures living alongside humans.

 There are also creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires who become interested in the witch’s discovery. They believe that the manuscript contains important clues about the past and the future, and want to know how Diana Bishop has been able to get her hands on the elusive volume.

 Chief among the creatures who gather around Diana is vampire Matthew Clairmont, a geneticist with a passion for Darwin. Together, Diana and Matthew embark on a journey to understand the manuscript’s secrets. But the relationship that develops between the ages-old vampire and the spellbound witch threatens to unravel the fragile peace that has long existed between creatures and humans—and will certainly transform Diana’s world as well.

A Discovery of Witches has been referred to as Twilight for adults. While I can see why this assumption is made it leaves me questioning, did the people who make that reference actually read the book? This book is so much more than just a romance between two people who shouldn’t be together.

A Discovery of Witches blends romance, history, genetics, alchemy, ancient books, magic, wine, supernatural race relations, evolution and so much more. This is a fascinating book that has everything a good novel needs to grab a reader’s attention and hold it.

Diana is a complex character that at first I found frustrating, she refuses to use her powers (why would you?) but towards the end of the book the reason behind her stubbornness is revealed and my frustration turned to understanding. She is the perfect female protagonist, strong-willed, stubborn and headstrong she leaves the whiny Bella Swan’s in her wake. This is a powerful female who should not be underestimated.

Then we have Matthew Clairmont the dark, brooding and at times moody vampire that looks set to steal Diana’s heart and turn the world of supernatural creatures upside down. Matthew is rich, handsome and best of all an educated articulate MAN yes I say man in capitals because it such a nice departure from all the teen characters we have had to endure for so long.

Fate brings Diana and Matthew together but the Congregation threatens to drive them apart. There are rules you see and the Congregation is there to uphold them. Diana and Matthew’s love could destroy everything.

Diana must fight to learn her magic and practice her once dormant skills as a witch and Matthew must fight to save the woman he loves. Packed full of action and romance A Discovery of Witches will take the reader on a magical journey to France, England and beyond. Let yourself get swept up in Diana and Matthew’s story you won’t be disappointed.

A Discovery Of Witches is book one in the All Souls trilogy By Deborah Harkness, book two is due for release in 2012.

A romp through magical academia’ Guardian

‘Romantic, erudite, and suspenseful’ O, The Oprah Magazine

‘A bubbling cauldron of illicit desire…all the ingredients for an assured saga that blends romance with fantasy’ Daily Mail