Deborah Harkness's magical adventure story, A Discovery of Witches (Viking, Feb.), is graced with a smart, intuitive, and utterly fearless heroine. Dr. Diana Bishop, who comes from a long line of witches, buried any thoughts of magic with her parents, who died under mysterious circumstances when she was seven. When her interest in history leads to a job at England's Oxford College, the magic still in her blood leads in turn to a locked manuscript in the library where she's studying ancient texts. Witches, daemons, and vampires descend, intent on seizing its dangerous contents. When Diana finds an ally—Matthew, a 1,500-year-old vampire geneticist—they team up to research the text. As Diana's feelings for him grow, her entry into a world of perilous magic provides an opportunity to prove her mettle. Harkness rewards her audience with an ending that continues the story in an inventive way. Readers who liked The Historian and The Shadow of the Wind will thrill to this engrossing debut.