For Fans of R.F Kuang’s Babel: Check out Oxford-Based A Discovery of Witches

The first installment in the All Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches invites readers into a world where witches, vampires, and daemons exist hidden among humans, their lives intertwined with ancient secrets and forbidden desires. Harkness, a historian of science herself, weaves a tale that is as intellectually stimulating as it is thrilling, creating a narrative that captures the imagination and intellect in equal measure.

As we delve into the pages of A Discovery of Witches, we are drawn into a spellbinding journey through time and across continents, where every discovery leads to new questions and every relationship holds the promise of both danger and delight. Join us as we explore the many facets of this captivating story, from its richly drawn characters and intricate plot to its evocative settings and the deeper themes that resonate long after the final page is turned.

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For Fans of R.F Kuang’s Babel: Check out Oxford-Based ‘A Discovery of Witches’

The All Souls Series

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The All Souls series by Deborah Harkness is a captivating blend of historical fantasy, romance, and mystery that spans centuries and continents. At its heart is the story of Diana Bishop, a reluctant witch and historian. She soon discovers an ancient manuscript, Ashmole 782, in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. This discovery thrusts her into the hidden world of magical creatures and into the path of Matthew Clairmont, a vampire geneticist with a dark past. As their forbidden relationship deepens, they must navigate a world against them. The series intertwines the present and the past, delving into alchemical texts, historical events, and age-old conflicts.

Harkness’s meticulous attention to historical detail has earned the series critical acclaim and a devoted readership. The narrative is richly layered with references to real historical figures and events, adding depth and authenticity to the magical world she has created.

The books in the fan-favorite series are as follows:

  • A Discovery of Witches (2011)
  • Shadow of Night (2012)
  • The Book of Life (2014)
  • Time’s Convert (2018)

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

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Deborah Harkness’s sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches, has brought her into the spotlight and galvanized fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

Our Overview

A Discovery of Witches, the first novel in Deborah Harkness’s All Souls series, begins in the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Here, we meet Diana Bishop, a historian. Also she is an unwilling witch who has spent her life avoiding her magic following the deaths of her parents. While conducting research on alchemical texts, Diana stumbles upon a bewitched manuscript known as Ashmole 782. Unbeknownst to her, this ancient manuscript has been missing for centuries. Furthermore is highly coveted by witches, vampires, and daemons alike.

Upon opening Ashmole 782, Diana inadvertently breaks the spell protecting it. Then awakening her dormant powers and drawing the attention of various magical creatures. Among those intrigued by her discovery is Matthew Clairmont, a vampire and geneticist who has been searching for the manuscript for over a century. Despite the historical enmity between witches and vampires, Matthew is drawn to Diana. He offers his assistance and protection as she navigates the perilous new world she has unveiled.

As Diana and Matthew uncover the mysteries of Ashmole 782, they find secrets that challenge their understanding of the world. The manuscript is believed to contain crucial information about the origins of magical creatures. This is a revelation that could disrupt the delicate balance of power among witches, vampires, and daemons.

Throughout their journey, Diana’s powers grow stronger and more unpredictable, revealing her unique ability to access ancient and powerful magic. Meanwhile, their relationship evolves from mutual curiosity to a profound and forbidden love. Thus defying the long-standing rules that govern interactions between magical species.

Our Review

Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches is a spellbinding introduction to the All Souls series. It weaves an intricate tapestry of magic, history, and romance that captivates from the first page to the last. The novel opens in the atmospheric setting of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, where we meet Diana Bishop. She is a historian and reluctant witch whose accidental discovery of the enchanted manuscript Ashmole 782 thrusts her into a world of supernatural intrigue.

One of the novel’s greatest strengths lies in its richly developed characters. Diana is a compelling protagonist—intelligent, resilient, and complex.

Harkness’s background as a historian is evident in the novel’s meticulous attention to detail. The historical references are not mere backdrops but integral to the narrative, adding authenticity and depth to the magical elements. The alchemical and scientific discussions are handled with finesse. As such, blending seamlessly with the story that sets the book apart from typical fantasy fare.

The novel’s settings—from the storied libraries of Oxford to the medieval fortress of Sept-Tours and Diana’s ancestral home in New York—are vividly described. If you like Babel then you’ll adore this novel!

However, the book is not without its flaws. The extensive historical and scientific details can occasionally overwhelm the narrative flow. Yet these are minor quibbles in what is otherwise a masterfully crafted tale.

A Discovery of Witches is a richly textured read that will appeal to fans of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance. Harkness has created a world that feels both timeless and refreshingly original.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Discovery of Witches have a TV show?

It does! Produced by Bad Wolf and Sky Productions as a Sky Original series. Check out the trailer below.

What age group is A Discovery of Witches for?

With some mild violence, language, and some sexual scenes, this book is ideal for those 16+.

Is there a fourth book to Discovery of Witches?

Yes! The fourth book, Time’s Convert released in 2018.

Is Discovery of Witches part of a series?

Yes! Discovery of Witches is the second book in the All Souls series. The full series is as follows:

  • A Discovery of Witches (2011)
  • Shadow of Night (2012)
  • The Book of Life (2014)
  • Time’s Convert (2018)

Harkness’s skillful storytelling and richly drawn characters create a world that is both enchanting and intellectually stimulating. Whether you are a fan of fantasy, history, or romance, this novel promises an immersive and unforgettable reading experience. It is clear that Harkness has woven a tale that beckons readers to lose themselves in its pages. Prepare to eagerly anticipate the adventures that lie ahead in the series.

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