A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Welcome to one of my literary safety blankets – books that I keep on coming back to. When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2011 I found myself in hospital and bed bound for a number of weeks. Professor @debharkness (to her legions of die hard fans and friends -Deb), a university lecturer in history, alchemy and the origins of science had just published the first serving in the All Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches, which my husband bought to try distract me. And boy did it. This is one of those series that has the ability to become part of your life, the characters friends, the terminology a new part of your lexicon. It helped me detach and escape and all of the ensuing books have become firm all time favourites.
Deb regaled us with the tale of how it all began in a lecture in London. She was perusing an airport bookshop looking at the twilight books and wondered what sort of employment a vampire would undertake, how many degrees they could attain and how knowledgable they would be with all of that time. Throw in witches, a lost manuscript, mythology and romance set in Oxford, London, Venice, and it starts to take shape. The following two books are even more magical, the story darker and intense.
This is historical fantasy fiction for academics – the story (which I found gripping and utterly enthralling) is suffused with historical and scientific anecdotes which only enhance the read. Any trilogy that has an accompanying anthology packed full with all the resources used to create this masterpiece is going to be serious. Time’s Convert (book 4) was the back story of a main character and was nothing short of breathtaking. The series has been adapted for TV (Season 2 starts next week) which is wonderful but nothing beats the books. This brought me so much joy at a challenging time and may be what you need in Lockdown 3.0