Books. Aurora consurgens. A Discovery of Witches is the first installment of the All Souls Trilogy written by Deborah Harkness. On August 22, , Deborah Harkness announced that Teresa Palmer has been cast as Diana and Matthew Goode as Matthew. Chief among the creatures who gather around Diana is vampire. A Discovery of Witches book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young s.
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Book one of the New York Times-bestselling All Souls trilogy—"a wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight”. The Books by bestselling author Deborah Harkness including Times Convert, The World of All Souls World, A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and the. A Discovery of Witches; Shadow of Night; The Book of Life; Time's Convert to associate with witches, but Diana's discovery has caught Matthew's attention.
Most of the action takes place off-screen while Diana sleeps, or waits, or sleeps and waits. Diana goes from being subject to object almost the very moment that she decides that Matthew, despite being a deadly creature who has been stalking her, might not be so bad after all, and takes little action for the rest of the book except to travel back and forth from Matthew's vampire mother's castle yes, really in France which she comes to think of as her home alarmingly quickly and her aunt's magical house in England America New England?
A whole lot of nothing happens, then Diana gets kidnapped and tortured but is of course rescued by Matthew. A whole lot more nothing happens. Then almost at the end, some new characters show up who seem like they should have been more important to the story but are introduced way too late. Among them is Sophie, a pregnant daemon who was born from witches and is pregnant with a witch baby.
Sophie is pregnant, and she will be having a baby, which the author reminds the reader of in nearly every sentence involving Sophie, who is pregnant. Watch her rub her belly with pregnant serenity or is it smugness? I can't tell! She is pregnant! Then Diana uses her ungodly overpowered witchy time travel magic to whisk herself and Matthew into the past, because witches used to be more powerful and she needs more powerful witches than currently exist anywhere in the world to teach her reach the full potential of the Mary Sue.
In fairness, I must admit that I loved the aunts' magical house, which was almost its own character. Unfortunately, the house was the only part of the book that I didn't feel was 1 endless, unnecessary detail or 2 lifted almost wholesale out of other works. While the author is clearly a competent writer, her storytelling needs a lot of polishing.
Honest, heavy editing could possibly have worked wonders on this book; instead, it got hype and marketing. To me, it makes the book all the more disappointing to see that there was potential, that it wasn't a disaster from the start. It almost felt like the book was cut open and artificially inflated with the dull, problematic romance, which it may well have been. Matthew takes care of her and Diana realizes that she now feels a strong connection to him.
Matthew gives her a sedative to recover from her shock, and stays with her while she sleeps to recuperate. He realizes that he feels very protective of her, and that he needs her, but acknowledges to himself that a close relationship is forbidden because he's a vampire and she's a witch. While Diana is sleeping, Marcus arrives and tells Matthew that Diana has numerous talents as a witch, based on her earlier blood sample.
Marcus sees Matthew's cold rage and reflects on the circumstances of how Marcus became Matthew's vampire son. Marcus challenges Matthew's plans not to tell Diana that the Congregation made up of three vampires, three witches and three daemons prohibits close relationships between the different kinds of creatures, Matthew's apparent plan to hunt down Gillian for sending the threatening mail, and Matthew's idea to take Diana to Matthew's vampire mother at their family estate in France, called Sept-Tours.
When Diana awakes, she is anxious about having been threatened and reflexively exhibits magic to protect herself. Matthew asks her to go with him to Sept-Tours for safety. She is reluctant because she needs to work on her keynote speech in the library, but when Diana's aunts call, demanding that she return home to them, and Matthew offers to let her study a rare alchemical manuscript that he has at Sept-Tours, she agrees to go. At Sept-Tours, Diana finds that Matthew's vampire mother, Ysabeau de Clermont, is not welcoming but Ysabeau's gnarled vampire caregiver, Marthe, is friendly and helpful.
Diana sees parts of the castle fortress and sleeps by herself in Matthew's bedroom. She is amazed by the beautiful and unusual alchemical manuscript. She gets a tour of the grounds, seeing the surrounding areas, and Matthew and she go horseback riding. Matthew finally tells Diana that the results of her blood test indicate that she has numerous magical abilities. Working in the study, Diana sees Matthew's notations on a first edition of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species," showing that he was in correspondence with Darwin prior to its publication and was speculating about whether the various types of creatures are different species.
Matthew says that "why we're here" is the only question worth asking. At dinner, Ysabeau, Marthe, Matthew and Diana have good conversation, and Matthew dances skillfully with each of the women in turn. Back in Matthew's bedroom, Diana invites Matthew to bed, but he prefers that they court each other for a while. After Diana and Matthew work on their computers, they go out for a walk in the gardens until they see vampire Domenico Michele. On behalf of the Congregation, he menacingly warns them that a close relationship between a vampire and witch is forbidden.
Diana argues, but Ysabeau comes up and takes her back inside the castle. When Matthew returns inside, Diana shocks Matthew by telling him that she has fallen in love with him. Marcus calls and tells him there has been a break-in at the lab. Matthew impassively gets ready to leave Diana to go back to Oxford to sort it out, and to help protect Diana from the Congregation and from himself. After Matthew leaves, Diana feels abandoned, remembers how she felt when her parents died, and begins to magically emit large amounts of water from all over her body in grief.
Ysabeau brings Diana back to herself by singing hauntingly. Later, Ysabeau distracts her with stories about Matthew's childhood, how Matthew married, had a child, and lost both wife and child, and how he became a vampire. The next day, Ysabeau takes Diana horseback riding with her when Ysabeau goes to hunt animals for blood.
She tries to scare her into giving up Matthew but Diana is determined. In Matthew's study, Diana discovers that the Knights of Lazarus exist and that Matthew is their leader. Ysabeau tells her that witches and Nazis killed her husband, Philippe. Diana talks with her aunts on the phone and tells them she is determined to be in a relationship with Matthew. The next day, Matthew returns to Sept-Tours.
Diana and Matthew commit themselves to each other. Matthew admits that creatures broke into Diana's rooms looking for DNA samples. The creatures think that Diana is connected to Ashmole Matthew and Diana stay in the same bed for the night but don't physically consummate their relationship. Diana manipulates Matthew into taking her riding while he hunts animals for blood so he can become more comfortable being himself around her.
They talk about ways in which they could have a family together if they wish, such as adoption or Matthew could make a new vampire. That night, Matthew and Diana explore each other's bodies and give each other pleasure, but still don't consummate their relationship.
Matthew implies that when Diana dies, that he will be ready to cease existing too. Just before dawn, Diana wakes up to find that Matthew is sleeping, something that vampires only rarely do. He is deeply asleep but she is restless. She goes for a walk in the garden, which they thought would be safe for her, but a witch flies down over the grounds and takes her away from Sept-Tours. The witch, Satu, tries to persuade Diana to reveal her secrets and to leave Matthew, but Diana refuses. Satu injures and tortures Diana and imprisons her in a deep oubliette.
In the oubliette, Diana sees ghosts, including the ghosts of her father and mother. She is reminded of bedtime stories her mother told her about a prince who loved Diana even though she couldn't seem to fly. The ghost of her mother tells Diana that Diana is her mother's greatest secret. Meanwhile, Matthew and Ysabeau try to find Diana. Ysabeau asks Matthew's brother, Baldwin Montclair, to come and help.
Baldwin and Matthew find Diana in the oubliette. Using her magic, Diana is able to fly up to Matthew, and they fly her back to Sept-Tours in a helicopter. After pages I don't give a shit what it smelled like! Enough already! But it was too little, too late. Let me rephrase that, it was too much , too late. Suddenly there were huge info dumps, which would have been great had they been spaced out over the entire book. It looks like this is a trilogy, but I seriously doubt I'm going to attempt to read any more of these.
It looks like the author did a lot of research to bring this book to life, but it just wasn't for me. I'd recommend this to someone who enjoys slow-paced books with a lot of attention to detail. Apr 13, veganjilly rated it it was amazing Shelves: I just finished this book last night, and I was blown away by it. This is easily going to be the best book that I will read this year, and is going in my top 10 list of best fiction books of all time!
Excellent fiction is not always easy to come by. I don't mind mediocre reads from time to time, but it is SO GREAT to be totally stunned by an indescribably excellent book every once in awhile! For one thing, this book is so well-written.
The author HOLY. The author has a beautiful way with words, and her descriptions are eloquent and lovely. There was a seamless flow to this book that was exquisite. Nothing was choppy or out of place; the rhythm, pacing, and phrases used flowed so effortlessly that I was never distracted by the writing or the language as sometimes happens in fiction. Because of this, I was able to get completely lost in this world; and boy was I!
A Discovery of Witches
Also, the characters were strong and interesting. Knowing that this is the first in what is supposed to be a trilogy, you get a good base understanding of the main and supporting characters with the full knowledge that a deeper relationship with them will come as the story continues to unfold.
I have read a few reviews that say the beginning of this book is boring; I did not find it so. I was instantly mesmerized and drawn in. I knew that the author was setting the stage for all that was to come, and while it may seem slow at first, you will be very grateful as you continue in the book. Once I got into the "thick" of things, I was grateful to have waded through the beginning, as it gave me a strong foundation for all of the character developments and plot twists that arose throughout the story.
Now I have to wait for the next book! However will I do that?!?! I tend to get very emotionally involved with books and characters that I love; I already miss spending time with these characters and I am desperate to continue living in their magical world!
Dear Ms. Harkness, I am under your spell, please put me out of my misery and publish the next installment soon!!!! Since I first read this book and posted the above review, I have read the book 23 times.
Finished my 24th re-read. View all 34 comments. Feb 14, Kat Hooper rated it did not like it. Diana Bishop, descendant of the famous Bridget Bishop of Salem, Massachusetts, turned her back on her natural powers after her parents were killed when she was a child.
Instead, she relied on her brain power, went to Oxford and Yale, and became a well-known researcher in the field of history of science. But when she calls the book known as Ashmole from the stacks, she can feel its power and she can see hidden writing moving on its pages. After reading the blurbs about A Discovery of Witches, this was a book I was eagerly waiting for. I love academic settings especially Oxford , old libraries, and the blend of history and science. And I did enjoy much of A Discovery of Witches for this reason.
Diana Bishop is an urban fantasy heroine that I can relate to. I understood her goals and interests and the way that her focus on academic pursuits makes her slightly awkward and absent-minded elsewhere. Thus, A Discovery of Witches had a lot of potential for me, but there were three problems that sapped my enjoyment: The first is that the book is simply way too long.
With nearly pages to work with, Deborah Harkness should have been able to get these interesting ideas farther off the ground. I was frustrated that, by the end, it had become clear that A Discovery of Witches is the first novel in a series. In this first installment, Harkness carefully develops the characters and sets up the romance. There is a lot of sitting in the library, hanging around various houses, talking, drinking tea, and eating.
The story covers only about a month of time and I think I witnessed nearly everything Diana ate and drank during that month. Vampires are just not sexy to me and I had a hard time believing that an overprotective, angry, admittedly murderous vampire would be attractive to an independently-minded academic. Not to mention that his body is cold and his heart beats only rarely.
He even binds her with an oath without her permission. I find this kind of behavior in a courting male insufferable. In some ways, A Discovery of Witches felt like Twilight for middle-aged academics. The most unbelievable part of the entire romance, though is that [removed spoiler — Read it here. Magic in this world seems arbitrary. I truly enjoyed the first part of A Discovery of Witches — the relatable heroine, the university setting, the focus on the history of science.
A Discovery of Witches
But once the romance got going and we left Oxford, A Discovery of Witches lost its charm. View all 27 comments. Mar 02, Sarah Kelsey rated it it was ok Shelves: I haven't encountered you for a few books. Now I know where you've been keeping yourself. March 3, I struggled to finish this novel. The book started out so well with an interesting protagonist, a bibliophile's dream setting, and wonderful descriptions of illustrated manuscripts.
The plot tugs at the small thread of 'paranormalcy' in the protagonist's life, and everything goes south from there. Literally south. They leave England and go to France, and nothing good ever seems to happen in France. Why does she go to France? One might well wonder. It's because her wine connoisseur, yoga master, Oxford fellow, French and vampire boyfriend takes her there.
Edward- er, I mean Matthew becomes her very protective vampire husband and, in spite of the fact that his list of superlative credentials continues to grow, this superman's top priority seems to be feeding her and giving her foot massages. Apparently he has nothing better to do. Ah, ladies, what an impossible standard we set for our heroes. Please remember that next time you cuss out a model for being too skinny.
My biggest problem with this story isn't the love interest, though he's pretty difficult to stomach; it's the conflict development around the protagonist. Diana, our heroine, suddenly gets what amounts to unlimited power about halfway into the book, power which she sometimes uses and some times does not. This is not clear. The weak explanation for this is that she is panicked on some occasions and uncertain on others. This contrasts jarringly with the fact that Superman continually tells her how brave and decisive she is, and she does occasionally act bravely and decisively.
She seems to have sudden attacks of damsel-in-distress, an affliction which does not follow from her other behaviors or her internal monologue. It's understandable why the author has to do this; she's made her protagonist omnipotent.
Without these character anomalies, the text has no conflict and the plot is broken. However, with these anomalies, the main character is broken. This book is fundamentally flawed. What I did love about this book were the descriptions of the texts and the settings. The author does a lovely job bringing to life the various settings and props of her story. The text suggest that quite a substantial amount of research provides the foundation for this story, and I hope that's true.
Not being a scholar of medieval manuscripts, I don't know. Nothing stood out as a glaring error to me, and what little bit I did recognize meshed with what I knew. The book is clearly set up for a sequel, probably a trilogy.
In future installments I hope the author puts some limits and rules on the protagonist's power, especially if they explain some of her erratic choices in the first novel. It's too late to fix the saccharine plasticity of the protagonist and her man, but perhaps this is targeting just romance readers who are used to slapping Edward Cullen's romantic perfection onto Fabio's physique and sliding a couple of PhD's and a stock portfolio into his back pocket.
It could have been so much more than that. I would certainly consider reading a Harkness book again. It's obvious from this book that the woman knows how to write. I'd just prefer a little less perfection in the central characters.
Feb 16, Amanda rated it did not like it Recommends it for: Absolutely no one. Recommended to Amanda by: In A Discovery of Witches , we clueless humans have no idea that we share our world with witches, vampires and daemons creatures whose manic bursts of creativity result in some of the world's greatest artistic works. Isn't that exciting? One would certainly think so.
So, what kind of shenanigans does this preternatural lot get up to while we live our ordinary lives? Behold the books that shall be read! Thrill to the revelation that trips to the library will be made time and time again In A Discovery of Witches , we clueless humans have no idea that we share our world with witches, vampires and daemons creatures whose manic bursts of creativity result in some of the world's greatest artistic works. Thrill to the revelation that trips to the library will be made time and time again!
Gasp as cups of warm tea are made and consumed! Swoon as vampires are repeatedly described as smelling of baked goods! And grip the edge of your seat for the most bizarre yoga-scene in the history of the written word! That's right, folks. Vampires, witches, and daemons aren't like you and me--in fact, our lives are infinitely more interesting than theirs.
Seriously, what the hell is this? The best I can tell is that it's Twilight for grown-ups. And I can't believe I'm going to say this, but here it goes: Twilight is better. Suddenly vampires playing baseball during thunderstorms seems down right genius compared to vampires attending a supernatural yoga class.
You want to drain all the sex appeal right out of your vampiric leading man? Just mention him doing some peculiar yoga move where he seems to be holding himself up vertically from the floor by nothing but his ear.
And then prattle on about how he's cold. And always has his hands stuffed in his charcoal trousers. And gets ridiculously enraged every time someone mentions blood because.
And how he maintains control of himself by always grasping the talisman he wears beneath his some-shade-of-grey sweater.
And then have him ply the witch he is inexplicably drawn to with hundreds of bottles of wine and query her as to what every single one tastes like. Oh, ho! And the witch! Now there's a live wire!
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Diana Bishop spends her days running, rowing, yoga-ing? Oh, and never using her magic because she wants to be just like us. Well, actually, she does use her magic every now and then, but only when it's really important. Like fixing her washing machine or getting a book off of a really high shelf. But other than that, it's all ixnay on the magic-ay. At pages in, I decided I couldn't stomach it any more. After all, up to that point, I had already been treated to a baker's dozen of the same basic scene: Nobody knows!
Oh, wait. At the library! It's like freaking Groundhog Day without Bill Murray. And Groundhog Day ain't shit without Bill Murray. And neither is A Discovery of Witches. When I decided I had a life to live, Matthew was fervently explaining how daemons, witches, and vampires might be going extinct!
To which I can only ask, so what's the problem?
Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder View all 58 comments. Reviewed by: Rabid Reads This book. Have you ever liked something almost against your will? Something that encompasses roughly half of the things you hate in reference to said thing? Welcome to my life. This book has: What can be construed as insta-love. Get a room, already. But none of those things are an issue here. By the time it becomes obvious that, yes, these two feel more for each other than trepidation and annoyance, enough time has elapsed to almost warrant the depth of emotion, and the rest can be chalked up to fate, animal instinct, mating imperative, etc.
A super, special snowflake who denies her super, special snowflakeness. Not only is Diana the last in a powerful line of matriarchal witches, her father was a powerful warlock in his own right.
So powerful that a union between her mother and father was strongly discouraged by the powers that be. But when her parents were killed when Diana was seven, she assumes their deaths were the result of their abilities and refuses to have anything to do with magic. Super, secret information withholding.
And this is perhaps the one I have the hardest time with. I cannot stand it when someone in a position of authority, older, more experienced, etc. HATE it. But Matthew.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
So is Matthew. So yeah. Yet another pass. I now know why I like this book despite the major book peeves lurking around every corner. And besides those peeves getting passes, A Discovery of Witches is just entertaining.
It might have taken me awhile to like Diana, but I instantly respected her, and I was as gone for Matthew as she was the moment he showed up. Lots of bookish fun in this book. The second that Matthew and Diana show up at her childhood home, I could not put the book down. The house is sentient and highly opinionated. A couple of new secondaries show up, one of which is absolutely darling.
This book is awesome, just read it. Highly recommended. View all 60 comments. It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches. The world is huge and the author not only takes us around the world but also tells us about its history through the Book of Life.
The protagonist of the story has distanced herself from her magic and any other supernatural concept in the world after she lost her parents as a child. The protagonist, Diana Bishop, is one of the Bishop witches, a very well known family of witches. But ever since she was a child Diana could never cast a proper spell and her powers never seemed to have truly manifested.
She is a history professor, a scholar, who has won quite a few awards, and is now dabbling in alchemy. One day, Diana Bishop calls a magic book, Ashmole , from the Bodleian library, not knowing its significance. The book, Ashmole , also known as the Book of Origins is coveted by all 3 magical and supernatural species.
Witches, vampires, and daemons have all lived lives separate from each other unbeknownst to humans who live in blissful ignorance. Whenever two or more of their kind are around humans they tend to draw attention but human disbelief covers it up. Once the book of life was called witches, vampires, and daemons are following Diana to figure out how she called on a book no one has seen for centuries and each of them want to make it their own with a desperate need to make it to the top of the food chain.
And as always we have the cliche paranormal forbidden romance, but I enjoyed it all the same. I feel like at this point there is so much literature out in the world that no matter what you write it will end up being at least slightly cliche in reference to something else.
Anyways, in this book Diana meets Matthew de Clairmont one of the most powerful vampires alive or should I say dead after she finds Ashmole Matthew, like the others, wants to know the contents of the book of life, but not to destroy another species but to find out how to protect them all from extinction as they seem to be getting weaker by every generation.
Even the humans introduced in this books and later play a great role in the overall plot. I loved that even though it is a paranormal series the author ignore the human, and technological, aspect of the world and incorporated it in the perfect way.
The de Clermont family hierarchy s fascinating and just gets more interesting and complex through the series. The characteristics of vampire and their habits is explained well and slightly hilarious as the protagonist knows about as much as we do.
There is one sentence in the third book that really cracked me up. When I sleep, which is not often, I prefer a bed to a coffin. If you try to stake me, the wood will likely splinter before it enters my skin. And one last thing: I do not, nor have I ever, sparkled. The first book acts a great introduction to a huge plot behind the scenes and is concluded fabulously in the third book. The characters each have unique personalities and draw out different sides in each other.
The story is put down very well and I had a great time making my way through it despite all the new releases vying for my attention. View all 14 comments. Nov 06, mark monday rated it did not like it Shelves: Harkness, were you being paid by the word or something? View all 29 comments. Dec 05, Bradley rated it it was amazing Shelves: Beyond what I said in my original review, I really enjoyed all the interwoven devices that carry all the way through all three books. I knew I'd enjoy a re-read even as I finished the third book since there are so many great historical details as well as more developed characters, later on, but I think I may have enjoyed this novel more this time around purely for its own sake.
Just knowing what happens at the end and where Diana winds up is good enough to chortle over, all by itself. The next is pure historical fiction, of course. What a delight! Original Review: What a surprising find. Sure, I expected a decent urban fantasy, but I hadn't expected a tome redolent of history, alchemy, and even Templar conspiracies. In retrospect, I wish that all urban fantasy novels had more history and alchemy and Templar conspiracies.
The past is rich and full of just as much intrigue as anything we've got today, after all, and denying the fact won't make so many modern novels better.
It's true that I expected a novel with a scholarly feel, and it's equally true that I expected a witch with equal parts frailty and overpowered magic, but unlike a number of completely unfair reviews, I didn't have a problem with characters that displayed actual human complexities.
The overpowered magic was nothing of the sort. I saw a novel-long setup and decent foreshadowing. The time in the novel is ripe for a big change, and I love the story's fearlessness. I'm fully invested in each and every character that has shown up and feel how alive they are. The novel deserves high praise much thought.
At this point, I'm pretty sure we're seeing the re birth of a goddess, and the ride is as important as the destination. The writing is so finely honed that I have no problems at all with the introduction of new power and new twists because even at the very beginning there were finely woven threads that reinforced all revelations.
I can't wait to read the next two. View all 42 comments. Nov 06, seak rated it did not like it Recommends it for: I tried really hard, but wow this book was boring. I think it's because I've done way too much academic research in my 20 years of schooling to ever find it remotely entertaining. I think the part where the witches, vampires, demons, etc.
Okay, it's probably more of a calm indifference, but had I wasted any more time this would be more fitt I tried really hard, but wow this book was boring.
Okay, it's probably more of a calm indifference, but had I wasted any more time this would be more fitting. View all 43 comments. Though it doesn't beat the Harry Potter series and nothing ever will , it sure is up there in the running with my favorites. Have I found a new series after Potter? Well, I won't get too carried away, but this book is one of my favorites. I have only two complaints about this book. The more the book went on, the better it got, and the more I couldn't stop reading.
I felt like I was in a rut during the middle, but that one thing happened and I kept on trucking, thankfully. The second is the fact that Diana Bishop, having a P. D, seemed immature and naive during a couple parts of the book. But, I'm sure she will grow as a person throughout the next two books. I have read many reviews regarding this book and at some point they irritate me: Yes, there are some points in the book where the romance seems a bit "Twilight-y.
If you've read Twilight, you may or may not compare the romance to it, but I feel that Diana and Matthew's relationship was far less awkward, more natural, and sweet. I wish Ms. Meyer would have taken some advice from our dear old Deborah.
Moving on from my soap-box, the book was fascinating. The author included so much historic detail that I, a fellow historian, also love and strive to learn about. Her explanations and enormous amounts of detail provided awesome imagery that really helped me read and cherish the book.
I loved it, the characters, and the complete storyline; and until the next book, I will be hanging on by a thin thread. Thanks for reading! View all 15 comments. Upon reflection, some of my initial comments were a little too fangirl in style and my initial reference to Twilight was being misconstrued or used to make a point..
After many years and quite a few rereadings of this book, my enthusiasm for it has not waned, but I can appreciate why it troubles some readers.
I believe one can be a thinking, modern and independent woman and yet still appreciate a male character who pos [In the interests of full disclosure, I edited this review in September I believe one can be a thinking, modern and independent woman and yet still appreciate a male character who possesses the chivalry and courtliness and, at times, chauvinism of another time. I love many different genres of books, but books like this really get me excited; they take me out of myself, to a world that my rational brain tells me doesn't exist, but which my heart whispers could be right under my nose.Diana and Matthew commit themselves to each other.
What a delight! Oh hi, here is some herbal tea! Some people may or may not have been there, and they may or may not have been magical. I can't tell! After using magic to retrieve the book, Diana realizes that she is being watched by a vampire, Matthew Clairmont.