The leather-bound volume was nothing remarkable. To an ordinary historian,
it would have looked no different from hundreds of other manuscripts in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, ancient and worn. But I knew there was something odd about it from the moment I collected it.
Duke Humfrey’s Reading Room was deserted on this late-September afternoon, and requests for library materials were filled quickly now that the summer crush of visiting scholars was over and the madness of the fall term had not yet begun. Even so, I was surprised when Sean stopped me at the call desk.
“Dr. Bishop, your manuscripts are up,” he whispered, voice tinged with a touch of mischief. The front of his argyle sweater was streaked with the rusty traces of old leather bindings, and he brushed at it self-consciously. A lock of sandy hair tumbled over his forehead when he did.
“Thanks,” I said, flashing him a grateful smile. I was flagrantly disregarding the rules limiting the number of books a scholar could call in a single day. Sean, who’d shared many a drink with me in the pink-stuccoed pub across the street in our graduate-student days, had been filling my requests without complaint for more than a week. “And stop calling me Dr. Bishop. I always think you’re talking to someone else.”
He grinned back and slid the manuscripts—all containing fi ne examples of alchemical illustrations from the Bodleian’s collections—over his battered oak desk, each one tucked into a protective gray cardboard box. “Oh, there’s one more.” Sean disappeared into the cage for a moment and returned with a thick, quarto-size manuscript bound simply in mottled calfskin. He laid it on top of the pile and stooped to inspect it. The thin gold rims of his glasses sparked in the dim light provided by the old bronze reading lamp that was attached to a shelf. “This one’s not been called up for a while. I’ll make a note that it needs to be boxed after you return it.”
“Do you want me to remind you?”
“No. Already made a note here.” Sean tapped his head with his fingertips. “Your mind must be better organized than mine.” My smile widened. Sean looked at me shyly and tugged on the call slip, but it remained where it was, lodged between the cover and the first pages. “This one doesn’t want to let go,” he commented.
Muffled voices chattered in my ear, intruding on the familiar hush of the room.
“Did you hear that?” I looked around, puzzled by the strange sounds.
“What?” Sean replied, looking up from the manuscript.
Traces of gilt shone along its edges and caught my eye. But those faded touches of gold could not account for a faint, iridescent shimmer that seemed to be escaping from between the pages. I blinked.
Copyright © Deborah Harkness, 20011. All rights reserved.
When Diana Bishop comes upon an ancient manuscript in the library’s dusty stacks, hostile hordes of daemons, vampires and witches descend to learn its coveted secrets. Among them is the powerful vampire Matthew Clairmont, who wants Diana, a witch who has resisted her powers, to finally embrace her legacy…and much more.
In A Discovery of Witches, debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted an addictive tale as Matthew helps Diana seek the spellbound manuscript while protecting her from the same fate as her brutally murdered parents. Complicating things, however, is their passionate love. For while vampires and witches are mortal enemies, these two have succumbed to desire. And their intimacy is in violation of every age-old taboo….
Hardcover Book : 592 pages
Publisher: Viking Penguin/Div. of Penguin Putnam ( February 08, 2011 )
Item #: 13-199890
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 1.33inches
Product Weight: 22.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
I enjoyed the story, but the author focused way to much on the eating, drinking and sleeping. Diana did not really appear to be a brave person. I hope the next two books are not so drawn out. I really want to find out how it ends.
A witch, a warlock and a vampire walk into a room, that is, a library. It gets more interesting from there
I relate to an like the main character. As a woman who has experience in undergrad American History & Civiliztion, and therefore knowing the academic side, I think the character would make a good friend!
By the end of the book, I was very glad I had the next volume ready beside me!
(Shadow of Night.)
I read the book in one sitting. I loved the story and how it was written though I wished she would have done more from the seperate viewpoints. I can't wait to read the complete trilogy.
I have now read both "Discovery of Witches" and "Shadow of Night" and am now rereading them because I read them so fast that I think I want to read them more slowly to get more out of the fascinating historical references in the second book. I can hardly wait until the third book comes out.
Reviewer: Sue B
It was so nice to read a book not written for the "young audience". I liked the story line and hope that the author can keep book 2 on track.