An epic, richly inventive, historically sweeping, magical romance.
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....
©2011 Deborah Harkness (P)2011 Deborah Harkness
"Intelligent and off-the-wall, it will be irresistible to Twilight fans." (The Sunday Times)
"Write what you know, debut novelists are told and Professor Deborah Harkness has accordingly set hers in the world of academia…. A bubbling cauldron of illicit desire…. all the ingredients for an assured saga that blends romance with fantasy." (Daily Mail)
"A romp through magical academia." (Guardian)
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
"Historical Romance with Bite"
I first read and then listened to this book. It works on many levels. It fulfils the criteria of vampire romance but with a main female character who has strength and powers of her own. She does not need to become vampire and is accomplished academic rather than mooning teenager. It also uses the genre to explore history and culture across continents and millennia. Histories of literature, science, alchemy and faith are interwoven with modern genetics and exploration of prejudice. Sometimes the detail becomes too ponderous and I find many of the ensemble of diverse characters more complex and intriguing than the main male character. However, this is generally well crafted and well-performed writing.
I also like a long read / listen I can get my teeth into, or escape into while I commute or do housework etc. I returned to this work because, even after knowing the outcome (so far) diluted the suspense and romance, other layers of story, characters, time and place still unfold. It is, like the Bodleian Library the story opens in, full of journeys of thought and imagination.
It is rather long to listen to in one sitting.
I've listened to the sequel, which is almost as good and have the final in the trilogy on pre-order.
"Great story telling with new twists on old theme"
The narrative was engaging and I while it took me a little while to get 'into' once there I was totally hooked.
A great listen with some riveting passages. One of those books which you don't want to end.
I have already listened to this audio book twice as it was such a good story I didn't get enough of it the first time round. I loved it so much that as soon as I had finished listening to it, I bought the follow up!
It is very hard to choose a favorite character because they are all so brilliantly written that you empathise with them all. If I had to choose, I couldn't just choose one, it would be the two main characters Diana and Matthew, but Matthew's Mother and her helper come a close third and fourth.
Again, there are too many to be able to pick just one. The story is written so well that I was totally immersed in the lives of the characters and in their lives and loves. I was so disappointed when it came to an end but then I discovered, to my joy, that there is a follow up book which I have immediately purchased and can't wait to start listening to.
Definitely yes, but would be impossible. You absolutely get your money's worth in purchasing this book and, even with listening to it every spare minute I had, it still took me a week to get through it!
A well written, brilliantly thought out story which has you gripped from the start. Well read by a very accomplished actress who plants each character into your head so that you feel you know them. Bravo to the writer and the narrator.
"Romance in Fantasy land..........."
The plot is fascinating, you start in the Bodleian in Oxford UK, and progress through France to The USA, all the time enjoying a budding relationship between the heroine, a witch, and the hero, a vampire!!!
This relationship breaks all the rules of their world, and they are pursued by deadly witches and vampires!!!!!!
But the story is masterfully written and is virtually impossible to put down.
I would recommend this to anyone as a fabulous read, and wait til you read the sequel!!!!!
The second book, Shadow of night is as stirring as the relationship flowers into marriage and the hazards follow our hero and heroine throughout Europe and the USA,
The final volume is released this summer (2014).
A brilliant read for anyone!!!!!
The Arthurian Legends, magic, danger, knights, damsels in distress, wonderful stories!!!!!
The scene in the Bodleian where the witches powers are first revealed, Diana Bishop, the witch!!!!!
The book title says it all!!!!!
I would put a 15 rating on the story as some of the scenes are unsuitable for young children.
Just about the best I have listened to.
Combined history with the present, wonderful characterisation, just magical.
I have not listened to Jennifer before but will look for other books read by her. She is very good with languages and portrays male and female voices brilliantly.
Oh very definitely! I was there in the book at all times so did indeed laugh and cry.
I have always given books about witches a wide berth as I usually find them boring. This book is far from boring, the richness of the characters and amazing narrative bring this excellent book to life.
We'll done cannot wait to read the next.
"Tedious and soporiphic"
A plot line that captured the reader/listener would have helped, as it stands you are better off listening to the talking clock
Boredom and disappointment
Avoid like a rabid dog
"More than just Romeo and Juliet"
This started off really slowly, so much so, that I nearly gave up on it, but DON'T, because it kicks off after about 5 hours and you'll love it.
I think the intriguing thing for me was that you know there are no such things as witches, vampires, demons etc, but the amount of detail the author has gone into describing their world and histories is so believable that you get swept up in the story and end up accepting it wholeheartedly. From a geeky point of view I enjoyed the medical side, DNA analysis etc; and of course there is the romantic side for the sentimental listeners.
Basic plot, witch and vampire fall in love but everyone is against them getting together - why?
I really enjoyed this audio book, I couldn't imagine reading it, the narrator really bought the characters to life.
I really enjoyed the whole book, not one particular scene.
Could it really be possible...
"Wanted to listen more than once!"
Engaging, soothing, relaxing
Different spin on a over egged vampire witch story
I wanted a book that I could have on in the background and that I would want to lsiten to more than once. These may be simple wishes, but it is amazing how hard it can be to ofind a book that statifies these requirements. This book does both. The narration is clear and engaging, but soothing to follow, whilst there are sufficient intricacies to the story line to make me listen and relisten picking up small bits of additional delight each time.
"On a whim"
I have read several vampire, werewolves and witches books but this one was certainly top of the list of those read. I love the plot, the pace and the characters. It had me gripped...I listened while washing up, cooking, cleaning and even turned the radio off in the car to listen when it was too good to put down!
I loved the way the characters were developed. None of this mushy love story, fall in love at first sight. The way it is written makes you want to read on to see how their relationship develops.
This was definitely a book, I couldn't put down.
I listened to the audio version of this book and chose it on a whim...it was cheap!
I am frustrated by the ending...only because the second one in the series is not so cheap!
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