Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches is the first of a trilogy about an Oxford scholar witch who meets up with an ancient vampire in the library. Diana Bishop comes from a long line of witches dating back to the Salem Witch Trials but chose to ignore this aspect of her life after her parents were killed when she was a young child. While at Oxford she requests an ancient manuscript, Ashmole 782, and discovers that its spellbound. Shortly after this find, Diana realizes she is now surrounded by other witches, vampires, and daemons while she tries to continue her research.
She is particularly drawn to a vampire, Matthew Clairmont, who sees himself as Diana’s personal bodyguard. Matthew is a 1500 year old scholar vampire who has studied everything and personally known many of the scholars in his long lifetime. His life story could fill novels but due to his character’s personality we only learn small details as Deborah learns them.
As their relationship develops, Harkness reveals the world in which the characters live where witches, vampires, and daemons coexist with humans and are bound by ancient rules. The more we learn about this world, the more Diana and Matthew are in danger. Since Diana hasn’t used her powers since she was young, we learn with her how her powers manifest and how she tries to learn how to control them.
Since this is the first of a trilogy, the story is not wrapped up at the end. Instead the reader can spend time in a world where witches and vampires fight to the death over pacts hundreds of years old. Its a good read with enjoyable characters falling in love and fighting a war for it. Can’t wait to read the next one!
Read June 2013