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A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy 1) [Paperback]

Deborah Harkness
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (554 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

29 Sep 2011 All Souls Trilogy 1

Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew in the stunning first volume of the No.1 internationally bestsellling ALL SOULS trilogy.

A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew - the forbidden love at the heart of it.

When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it's an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she's kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana's discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels...


Frequently Bought Together

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy 1) + Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy 2) + Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy)
Price For All Three: 18.67

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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (29 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755374045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755374045
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (554 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Intelligent and off-the-wall, it will be irresistible to Twilight fans (The Sunday Times)

A bubbling cauldron of illicit desire...all the ingredients for an assured saga that blends romance with fantasy (Daily Mail)

An inventive addition to the supernatural craze... Historian Harkness's racy paranormal romance has exciting amounts of spells, kisses and battles, and is recounted with enchanting, page-turning panache (Marie Claire)

A romp through magical academia (Guardian)

...a grand romance smartly dressed up in the fashion for the occult...Sauced up with magic as well as being intelligent, the novel will be irresistible to Twilight fans (The Sunday Times)

Book Description

The phenomenal international bestseller and the first volume in the enthralling All SOULS trilogy, preceding SHADOW OF NIGHT and THE BOOK OF LIFE.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
244 of 261 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tea and Yoga 2 Dec 2011
By Joanne
Format:Paperback
I really, really wanted to like this book.

I thought Twilight was utterly appalling, so when I saw the review on the cover of this book that said something along the lines of "The thinking person's Twilight", I thought, hurray!! An intelligent, well-plotted, well-characterised fantasy with elements of a supernatural romance - just the thing for cold evenings by the fire. Sadly, I don't feel that the book really delivered on any of these fronts. The premise seemed interesting - a mysterious manuscript that supernatural creatures want to get their hands on is called up by the novel's heroine, a witch named Diana. A dishy vampire - the hero, Matthew - sees the danger she is in and decides to get involved. The location (Oxford) is well-described, and the reader gets a nice sense of settling in for a meaty read.

Sadly, nothing much really happens. Diana spends a lot of her time going running and rowing on the river while Matthew eyes her beadily from the banks. At this point, he starts to tell her how extraordinarily brave she is to be carrying on as though there were no danger. He continues to be amazed by her courage throughout the book. I get the impression that we, the readers, are supposed to think that Diana is terribly brave too, though really it's more like she's just oblivious to the strange turn her life is taking.

She drinks enormous amounts of tea. Every time she puts on the kettle (and spoons the tea into a pot and warms her hands on the hot mug and sips at the soothing, fragrant brew), the experience is lovingly detailed for us. I began to think that tea was going to turn out to be a major plot-device, and that perhaps the action would centre around some sort of ancient tea-leaf feud, but no.

Then there is the yoga.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mary Sue 25 Mar 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Mary Sue nature of the main character was amusingly obvious in this novel. An American historian who moves to England and falls in love with a rich, handsome vampire- and learns she is a powerful witch. It's filled with lustful descriptions of antique furnishings, gourmet food and the like. Her sophisticated vampire teaches her the ways of the world, and recites poetry in ancient French. Despite being a grownup, accomplished academic and having those magic powers, she is infantilised around him. This is one of the things that often irks me about these types of books. The vampire is male, the non vampire is female, and he is always some sort of a father figure. She becomes helpless, and he sweeps her up in his big strong arms, etc etc. She keeps going on about how soothing his cold skin is. Wouldn't that just be creepy? Normally you can sort of gloss over this stuff, but in this book it was hard to do that. I want a story from the other perspective. Why can't the human male be in thrall to the all-powerful female vampire? I don't WANT a man to dominate me. I'm sick of all this mimsiness.

The novel has intellectal pretensions, with the aforementioned ancient languages, and the evolution/alchemy storyline. But while it is possible to write a literary fantasy book, this isn't it. Going on about how Edward- sorry, Matthew- conveniently knew all the significant figures of the last 1000 years is just silly. This is basically fanfiction for postgrads.

I read quite a lot of vampire books, but this one has rather dimmed my appetite for them. Firstly because it's so enormous, but also the gender politics (or lack of same) are so obvious, which is really offputting.
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93 of 109 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good 1 Feb 2011
By Simon Tavener VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have to admit that this book surprised me. I selected it because of the Oxford connection - it is always interesting to see how authors interpret the place where I live. It was an additional surprise to see that the central character had rooms in my old college (the ironically named New College - founded in 1379!)

I haven't attempted to read a vampire-related tale since I tried the Lestat novels of Anne Rice - and I found this a much more enjoyable piece of writing. There is a flow to the narrative which does prove engaging from the very first page. Given that it is not a short book, finding a way to keep the reader hooked throghout is quite an achievement for a debut novelist.

Dianna is a strong central figure - neatly drawn and not at all weak and compliant as she could easily have been made. She is well matched by the suave Matthew. There is an instant spark to their relationship - which is well sustained and not in a predictable way.

As is essential with novels in this particular genre, Harkness is very precise about the way she creates a world where vampires, witches and daemons are able to exist seemlessly with mere mortals - everything is remarkably plausible and coherent.

After all this praise, why not the full five stars? It comes down to the Oxford setting. It is probably my own detailed knowledge of the city that makes all the excessive detail given over to evoking the city feel more like a travel guide than something more real. There are a few factual slips that slightly undermine the setting. It is clear that the author does know Oxford but not, perhaps, as well as she might think.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding
I was sent this book to review for a magazine publisher. I was not disappointed. Right from page one, I was hooked and could not put it down, reading it at every opportunity,... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Morag Noakes
5.0 out of 5 stars A discovery of witches
a very good read great story as well and lots of interesting characters to keep your interest really enjoyed this book.
Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Too far down the fantasy road
This was a bit too off the wall for me; I love stories with a supernatural theme but they have to be believable and rooted in some kind of realism to work for me (I particularly... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Skaty Katie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is a gripping book from the start. A definite page turner. Now read book two Shadow of Night. Brilliant.
Published 23 days ago by Mrs Lorraine Baxter
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing read
The story is intriguing from then start and completely different from anything i have read for a while. So glad i spotted it.
Published 1 month ago by sandra preece
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
Read it now. You will be hooked and left wanting more. Look out for the next book coming soon. Xx
Published 1 month ago by Louise Ablott
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read !
This was recommended to my wife. She couldn't put it down. Story was fast moving and exciting. Downloaded Book 2 straight away.
Published 1 month ago by Steven J Roome
5.0 out of 5 stars Vampires and witches for grown ups
This book is crammed full of colourful characters with an imaginative plot that kept me page turning for days. Can't wait for sequel.
Published 1 month ago by Angela Speirs
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally absorbing story
I loved everything about this story, from the rounded characters to the beautiful description of places. It show amazing imagination and wonderfully crafted words.
Published 1 month ago by Izzy
5.0 out of 5 stars A Discovery of Witches
This was great fun to read. I am not usually into Faery Stories but this was a good yarn that any age, from 10 years up could pick up and read especially if they have read Harry... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Miss Lizzie
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