Dr. Diana Bishop is a historian doing research at Oxford’s Bodleian Library when she unknowingly unearths a rare Ashmole alchemical text that has been missing for centuries. What she is reluctant to admit is that she comes from a long line of witches that can trace back to the first witch killed in Salem, Massachusetts. When the magical community (vampires, witches and demons) realize what she has found and that it may give them all answers to their species origins there are more magical creatures than humans in the library and Bishop has to find a way to embrace her magical past…and future.
I am very mixed on this book. Despite its nearly 600 pages, it was a quick read. Deborah Harkness is also a history professor with a distinguished academic background so the story is sprinkled with many thought-provoking ideas and figures throughout history. It is a smart read and the reader can spend many hours reading up on different topics from Elias Ashmole to Darwin’s Origin of Species. The atmosphere is perfectly creepy. It’s when the emotional component gets thrown in that I started rolling my eyes. Yes, a 1500 yr old vampire, Matthew is the love interest and protector of Diana. They fall in love quickly and dramatically. He is very protective of her and tells her what to do because you know, he’s never felt this way about anyone. She agrees because she loves him soooo much despite her seemingly intelligent and independent (to this point at least) life. They don’t consummate their relationship and despite the growing knowledge that she may be the most powerful witch ever-she is constantly falling into sleep from exhaustion or sorrow when Matthew is gone. I’m sorry but did the last half of my review remind anyone of another Vampire book? Maybe one with sparkly vampires and a ton of teenage angst? Of course, I’ll read the second one due out in 2012 because there is a lot here. Just calm down on the Twilight bits…please! 2011, 579 pages.