Hisotorian Diana Bishop is a witch, but a reluctant one. Ever since her parents died when she was 7 she has been determined to live life without magic and for all intends and purposes it appears that she is successfully doing just that.
When Diana requests an alchemical manuscript from the stacks of the Bodleian Library she knows it contains magic as soon as she touches it. Almost against her better judgment she opens it anyway and discovers that there are pages missing, and that those remaining appear to contain hidden texts. Still determined to have nothing to do with anything magical she returns the manuscript to the library stacks and wants to forget she ever saw it.
However, the damage is already done. From that moment forward Diana finds herself under close scrutiny from vampires, other witches and daemons, all of whom want to get their hands on the manuscript for their own, secret, reasons.
One vampire, Matthew Clairmont, suddenly seems to be around her all the time, and it isn't long before Diana and Matthew get closer.
Relationships between the various creatures however are forbidden, and as Matthew and Diana get closer, they also put themselves into ever more danger. They are now center-stage in a age old battle between the various groups of creatures a battle Matthew may be well used to but is new to Diana. And for Diana denying her heritage is no longer an option. If she's going to have any chance at survival she will have to learn everything she possibly can about witchcraft and her own powers.
When I got this book from the library I wasn't sure what to expect, or if this would be a book for me. And the book did surprise me. Although there is tension and violence in this story there is also a lot of history and insight into relationships. This is the sort of story that makes me think, what if..... and just imagine if ..... and I always enjoy stories like that.
What I also enjoyed is the matter-of-fact way in which the witches, vampires and daemons were introduced. The story is told from the point of view of a witch who has always known that these creatures roam the world and therefore the reader is introduced to them as if they were everyday occurances rather than fantastical creatures. For me this made the story more realistic.
I didn't realize this book is the first part in a trilogy and only slowly came to the conclusion that there would have to be a sequel as I neared the end of the book. And although I yearn to find out how this story will continue and conclude, I'm very happy in the knowledge that I have two more instalments to look forward to. I just wish I didn't have to wait until next year before I can read the second book.