A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is the first novel in the All Souls Trilogy. The protagonist, Diana Bishop, comes from a long line of witches. Her lineage traces back to Salem and beyond. However, she refuses to use her inherited magic. After all, that’s what got her parents killed.
Diana works as an academic, and her current research on alchemy has her delving into the ancient manuscripts at Bodleian Library in Oxford. Unfortunately for Diana, one of these is the Ashmole 782, an ancient text that causes the netherworld of vampires, witches and daemons to snap to attention.
Diana becomes ensnared in a centuries old feud between the not so mystical beings. She has no choice but to embrace her witching powers as Oxford employs a number of witches, vampires, and daemons. They form quite a nasty crowd, and all of them want access to the Ashmole 782. In particular, geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont wants it, and maybe her as well.
Diana and Matthew soon find they share a number of common interests. The reader gets treated to a food and wine feast throughout the book as the main characters sort themselves out. Diana and Matthew share a strong chemical attraction for each other. They must determine if it is similar to the relationship between a mongoose and a viper or is it more like Romeo and Juliet? To gain time, they flee from England to Europe, and then to upper New York. As the story ends, they travel backwards in time.
The second book in the Trilogy, Shadow of the Night is scheduled for release in July 2012. The main characters return to Elizabethan London so Diana can polish her witches’ skills from some of the greatest witch and warlock masters of all time. Being a vampire, Matthew already lived through this era once, and he must deal with some enemies from his past.