“The leather-bound volume was nothing remarkable. To an ordinary historian, it would have looked no different from hundreds of other manuscripts in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, ancient and worn. But I knew there was something odd about it from the moment I collected it.” (Chapter 1)
Welcome to this years’s real-time reading. This year, we begin at the beginning, with Diana Bishop and the leather-bound book in the Bodleian Library. These are photographs taken in the reading room–Duke Humfrey’s–where Diana first encountered Ashmole 782.
Most of you know that I’m a historian. You may not know that I first walked into Duke Humfrey’s Reading Room, the rare book room of the Bodleian Library, in the summer of 1985. More than three decades ago, I called up my first manuscript and since then I have been under their spell.
In the All Souls Trilogy I tried to weave a place for all of you inside my enchanted world of ancient texts, beautiful libraries, and forgotten ideas. I hope you enjoy the next 40 days, as we watch Diana go from reluctant witch to a woman who knows her own power and Matthew begin to face his past and the many secrets that haunt him.

If you are participating, remember you can follow along here, on my website (click on the Real-Time Reading link on the home page), and by downloading the free e-book companion or the calendar made by The Tenth Knot (search using the terms: the tenth knot calendar read along). Be sure to share your experiences in the comments below, or post pictures on social media using #deborahharkness and #RealTimeReadingADOW.