Books Like 'A Discovery Of Witches' By Deborah Harkness To Satiate Your (Blood) Thirst
There's a 99.9% chance you've heard of A Discovery of Witches in some form, whether it's the 2011 novel by Deborah Harkness, or the TV series currently airing on Sky One. It's the perfect formula for international success: witches, vampires, a picturesque Oxford setting, historical intrigue, and forbidden romance. But what if you're all caught up on the TV series, and you've read both the original novel and the two sequels in the All Souls trilogy? Worry not, readers. Try one of these five books like A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, and plunge right back into a world of witchery or vampirism.
Both the book and its faithful TV adaptation follow historian Dr Diana Bishop (played by Theresa Palmer in the show), a Yale professor who's descended from a long line of witches but chooses not to practise herself. But a chance discovery of an ancient manuscript in Oxford's Bodleian Library sets a treacherous series of events in motion, threatening the delicate peace between humans and magical beings. What's more, it brings her into contact with vampire Matthew Clairmont (played by Matthew Goode), with whom an illicit romance develops. If that's the kind of narrative that ticks all your boxes, you're going to devour the following five novels.
‘The Witchfinder's Sister’ by Beth Underdown
Underdown blends history with fiction in her debut novel, which centres on the fictional sister of Matthew Hopkins, notorious 17th century "witch-finder general." Alice returns to her brother's home in Essex after the death of her husband, becoming a reluctant witness to the scores of women hanged at her brother's command. Through Alice, Underdown interrogates the true factors motivating the murderous zeal of the witch-hunters: misogyny, classism, and fear.
‘Certain Dark Things’ by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Domingo is a teenage human who sorts rubbish in Mexico City, where vampires are forbidden from entering. Atl is a vampire of Aztec descent on the run, after her family was slaughtered by a rival European "narco-vampire" clan. Their relationship is transactional at first: Domingo provides blood, and Atl provides money. But romance develops and Domingo is quickly drawn into Atl's perilous flight, in a novel that explores colonisation, globalisation, and the complexity of ethics.
‘Labyrinth’ by Kate Mosse
Like Dr Diana Bishop, Dr Alice Tanner — the protagonist of Mosse's novel — finds her life transformed by an unexpected discovery. Archaeological volunteer Alice unearths ancient skeletons on a dig in France; the discovery connects her to a set of invaluable books once guarded by Alaïs, a 13th century herbalist. Labyrinth tracks the fate of the books through both Alice and Alaïs, as the woman attempt to protect the secrets contained within.
‘A Secret History of Witches’ by Louisa Morgan
Akin to the Bishop family in A Discovery of Witches, Louisa Morgan's Orchiéres are a veritable dynasty of witchcraft. The novel tells the stories of five generations of Orchiére woman, their powers passed from mother to daughter. From 19th century Brittany to World War II London, each woman faces the urgent struggle to hone and conceal their powers — and to turn them to the defence of humanity.
‘Witches of East End’ by Melissa de la Cruz
See that Deborah Harkness recommendation right there on the cover? That should be enough to sell A Discovery of Witches fans on Melissa de la Cruz's novel, but here's a little more info in case you still need persuading. The Beauchamp family of witches live in a concealed town on Long Island, punished for centuries for practising magic at the time of the Salem witch trials. Despite their efforts to mask their powers, enigmatic forces begin to conspire against them — and the Beauchamps find it impossible not to use their witchcraft.
There you have it: five more tales of witchery and vampirism to quench the (blood)thirst of the most devoted of A Discovery of Witches fans. According to Digital Spy, there's already a second series of A Discovery of Witches in development, though naturally there's no release date as of yet. Until then? You've got reading to do!