Of Witches and Vampires

Some of us have been waiting anxiously for this day when the latest book from beloved author (and history professor) Deborah Harkness is released. Time's Convert is Marcus and Phoebe's story. If you don't know who they are, do continue to read. If you are like us and already familiar with their troubled lovestory, read this blogpost first! 

“It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches.”  - Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches

Thus began my obsession with the World of All Souls, the universe of the All Souls Trilogy (A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, The Book of Life).

I have never been the fangirl type. Sure, I loved the Harry Potter books when they came out, but were it not for my kids, I’m not sure I would have attended the midnight book launches and all that accompanied the Harry Potter hype. But something about the All Souls Trilogy triggered my inner fangirl. To date, I’ve attended every author appearance by Deborah Harkness and came very close to scheduling a day (or two) off so I could travel to Austin to attend another. (Do I lose fangirl cred for choosing to sit this one out?)

I think what I like best about this series is the marriage of romance, historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction – without feeling contrived. The characters are so real (whether they are human, witch, vampire, or daemon) and the science so believable. I am currently savoring the companion book, The World of All Souls, and I constantly have to remind myself that “creatures” don’t really exist outside of the world so deftly created by Deborah Harkness. It is all so plausible.

On Tuesday, September 18th ,Time’s Convert, the 4th novel set in the All Souls world will be released. If you haven’t yet discovered this series, I invite you to jump in now by starting A Discovery of Witches (ADOW) on the same day (September 18), which happens to be the date on which that novel begins. And if you’re a repeat reader, you might be interested in the real-time reading which starts every year on this date. You can find more information about the reading on Deborah Harkness’s website (note that this page is from 2016, but the link to the All Souls Calendar links to a current calendar) or on her Facebook page. This is a fun way to experience the novels and connect with other fans (if you’re not already, you will be!).

Happy reading
Somer N., Librarian
Digital Strategies








Somer and Saima at the 2012 author reading event.









Somer and Saima at the 2018 author reading event.

I was in love by the time I finished the first page! For a lifelong librarian like me (as a kid I had my own library with checkout policies et al but that’s a story for another blogpost), it was the ultimate story – a historian, while doing research at Oxford’s hallowed Bodleian Library, meets a menacing (at least at first) vampire who happens to be like a thousand years old and quite good looking (honestly is there ever a bad looking vampire?). The places, times, sounds and smells were all alluring but it was the science at the heart of it all that made these books so endearing to me.

There’s a lot of history and science here due to Harkness’ academic background. This is what’s made them so compelling and erudite. It makes the magic and the supernatural so believable. Witches work as professors, librarians; vampires are geneticists!

ADOW has been referred to as “Twilight for Adults” but what may appear as a typical vampire romance on the surface is nothing but! If the layers of supernatural are peeled away, what you have is a well written story about what it takes to stay in love especially for two strong-willed people coming from very different backgrounds.

As mentioned by my colleague, we met Deborah each time she came to Houston (see photos). She was so accessible and explained the plot twists, the magic and the science of it in her typical professor style. One thing to note: we easily procured front row seats during her first reading back in 2012; not so in 2014! She spoke to standing room only crowd back in May 2018.

Following the trend of so many good books becoming television miniseries, ADOW has already premiered in the UK! No US dates yet but you can find out more on Deborah’s website.

How far would you go to be with the one? What will you give up for the promise of love?

Saima K., Librarian
Digital Strategies

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