Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

It's sunny out, but the temps aren't quite where I'd like them so I'm wrapped up with a throw and a hot cup of tea while I spend my weekend immersed in Deborah Harkness's A Discovery of Witches.

Here's what the publisher is saying about Harkness's latest:

On February 8, 2011, Viking is proud to publish A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, the debut novel from history professor Deborah Harkness and the first book in the All Souls trilogy. A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES created a sensation at the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair—translation rights have been sold in 33 countries so far—and has already captured the attention of over fifty book bloggers on both sides of the Atlantic. With rave reviews..., it’s clear that Deborah Harkness is a writer to watch.


begins on a late September afternoon when Diana Bishop, a bright, young historian studying amidst the ancient stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian library, calls up a medieval manuscript of alchemical illustrations. As soon as she picks it up Diana realizes that the book—Ashmole 782—is an enchanted object of untold power. As it turns out, Diana is not only a first-rate scholar of seventeenth- century chemistry but also a descendant of a long and distinguished line…of witches. She’s spent her adult life distancing herself from her supernatural destiny, and after a quick look at Ashmole 782 she sends the book back to the stacks and her magical history with it.

However, Diana isn’t the only one who has noticed that the manuscript has resurfaced, and her discovery immediately sets the fantastical underworld stirring. It soon becomes apparent that Ashmole 782 is a coveted treasure that’s been lost for centuries and Diana is the first and only being that has met the terms of its spell. Soon she finds herself beset by members of all three magical species—daemons, witches, and vampires—who swarm upon Oxford, seeking the text. She finds a crucial ally in Matthew Clairmont, a dashing geneticist and a vampire, whose preeminence in his field has been achieved after years upon years upon years of study. The two team up despite an age-old enmity between their species, becoming closer over candlelit dinners, supernatural yoga classes, and a trip to Matthew’s ancestral home (well, castle) in southern France.

As their challenges grow, so do Diana’s powers, and together she and Matthew must battle the forces rallying against them to unlock the secrets of a manuscript whose pages promise clues to a mysterious past and uncertain future. Equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense, A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES is a mesmerizing and addictive read.

I've not made it quite halfway through this one yet, but I can definitely attest to it's "mesmerizing and addictive" tendencies! I'll keep you posted, but I can tell you right now that I love it! So watch for it, February 8, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

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