Reviewed by Margot Adler
The first book in the All Souls trilogy, A Discovery of Witches, was a tour de force, an artful and unusually skilled blending of hard science, history and the supernatural. Deborah Harkness, a historian of science at the University of Southern California, was the perfect person to pull off a mix that some readers called “Harry Potter for intellectuals.”
If you haven’t read it, here’s a primer: A reluctant witch, Diana Bishop, the descendant of Salem witches, rejects her supernatural ancestry and becomes a historian. Holed up in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, Diana is suddenly hounded by witches, daemons and vampires after she asks to see an alchemical text, Ashmole 782 — which turns out to be both long-lost and strangely magical.