WHEN I heard that a USC professor had written a bestselling vampire novel I thought, This sounds like what the English call a train-jumper -- someone who latches onto a trend, half-heartedly and after the fact.
Deborah Harkness is the real thing, and her novel, A Discovery of Witches, comes out of her scholarship on the shift from the supernatural medieval period to the rational, Newtonian Enlightenment. The book is set in contemporary Oxford, but has this -- and many other -- currents running through it.
HERE is my LA Times profile of Harkness, who is working on the second book of what's conceived as a trilogy. Lovers or Tolkien and Pullman, don't say nobody told you.
Her wine blog, Good Wine Under $20, worth checking out too.