A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

History Professor Deborah E. Harkness has written her first novel to be released by Viking on February 8, 2011. There are similarities here with Justin Cronin’s The Passage.  A Discovery of Witches not only has witches but also vampires and demons.  And the first printing is large at 150,000.

The writing and story must be good for a publisher to step up with so many copies for a debut novelist.

The Story

Yale historian Diana Bishop and last of a family of witches discovers an enchanted,  alchemical manuscript in the Oxford Bodleian Library.   1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont along with demons and witches appear and are willing to kill for the manuscript.  She reluctantly must use magic (“Magic is desire made real, she says”) to prevent the manuscript from falling into the wrong hands.

Some think the author’s writing reminds them of Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer.   There will likely be a sequel.

The Author

Deborah Harkness is a professor of history at the University of Southern California. She has received Fullbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships, and her most recent scholarly work is The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution.

As part of her graduate and postgraduate studies, she researched the history of magic and science in Europe, especially during the period from 1500 to 1700.   Oxford’s Bodleian Library, the All Souls College Library at Oxford and  the British Library are a few of the libraries where she conducted her research.

Collecting The Book

I initially ignored this book after seeing the number of the first printing.  But the rating has increased to 47.  It could be a bestseller.

A collector should purchase a fine/fine signed copy.  If sold promptly, it might bring $20-30 of profit.  I think there will be too many copies to hold the book until the next one comes out.  (The Passage is now a $40-50 book for fine/fine/signed – 250,000 firsts).

She will be touring all over the country.  At Powell’s, Book People, Elliott Bay Book Co. and Odyssey Books to name a few.

Let me know what think about the book in the forum.

1 Comment on Books To Consider – Feb. 4, 2011

  1. […]  This is her second book.  Her first was A Discovery of Witches.  I wrote a post on this book on February 4, 2011.  I intended to pass it over as it had a huge first printing of 150,000 … the trend these […]

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