City of Dark Magic: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

Cosmically fast-paced, wildly imaginative, and with City of Lost Dreamsthe bewitching sequelon shelves now, City of Dark Magic is the perfect potion of magic and suspense



Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to...
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City of Dark Magic: A Novel

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Overview

Cosmically fast-paced, wildly imaginative, and with City of Lost Dreamsthe bewitching sequelon shelves now, City of Dark Magic is the perfect potion of magic and suspense



Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.



Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide.



And the story continues in City of Lost Dreams, the mesmerizing sequel, which finds Sarah in the heart of Vienna, embroiled in a new web of mystical secrets and treacherous lies.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cleverly combining time travel, murder, history, and musical lore, this is a breezy, lighthearted novel. Sarah Weston is researching her Ph.D. in neurological musicology in Boston when a letter arrives summoning her to Prague. Maximilian Lobkowicz, the heir to the ancient Lobkowicz fortune, is planning to turn the family palace, located within the Prague Castle complex, into a museum; Sarah’s job will be to establish the relationship between one of the first Lobkowicz princes and Ludwig von Beethoven. Sarah is warned that Prague is “a threshold” to “dark magic,” passion and violence, and she suspects that mysteries await. And how. A little person gives Sarah a pill shaped like one of Beethoven’s toenails that allows her to move through time, encapsulating many centuries. She not only sees Beethoven but also several of the dead Lobkowicz princes; Tycho Brahe, the 16th-century alchemist; and also Nico, who was at that time called Jepp and is now 400 years old. Plucky, impulsive, and reckless, Sarah is determined to discover the identity of Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved, and time and again she’s a hair’s breath from death in dangerous situations. Tensions rise when Sarah’s Boston violin pupil, 11-year-old blind musical prodigy Pollina, arrives in Prague and warns Sarah about forces conspiring against her. Complicating an already tangled plot, an evil senator from Virginia with the U. S. presidency in her sights schemes to kill anyone between her and some incriminating letters she wrote to her erstwhile lover, a KGB officer, while she was CIA. In a story that abounds in mysterious portents, wild coincidences, violent death, and furtive but lusty sexual congress, Flyte (the pseudonym for TV writer Christina Lynch and Meg Howrey, author of Cranes Dance) also offers a veritable guide to Prague that includes such historical references as Rabbi Loew’s golem, the Golden Fleece, the Holy Infant of Prague, and a vault under St. Vitus Cathedral, where Sarah and Max find themselves in a tense denouement that promises a sequel. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Sarah Weston travels to Prague Castle to complete the work of her late mentor, Dr. Sherbasky, cataloging rare manuscripts of Beethoven. She is immediately plunged into a disturbingly oppressive atmosphere of drugs, secrets, and politics, highlighted by an unusual cast of coworkers who each have their own quirky personalities. Overshadowing all is her uneasy confusion over what really happened to Dr. Sherbasky and what he had discovered about the mysteries surrounding the recently recovered manuscripts. With the introduction of legends that Prague is home to portals to hell, the reader is dropped into a confusing entanglement of plots, personalities, and mysteries that involve alchemical elements. Some readers may find Sarah’s open sexual lifestyle a distasteful rather than romantic addition to the main story line.

Verdict While this novel may well find its own niche of faithful followers, it is, unfortunately, a miss for this reviewer. Readers looking for a fast-paced, historically rich, romantic adventure with paranormal elements would be better directed to Deborah Harkness’s “All Souls Trilogy” (A Discovery of Witches; Shadow of Night). Flyte is a pseudonym for the writing duo of Meg Howrey (The Cranes Dance) and television writer Christina Lynch.—Crystal Renfro, Georgia Inst. of Technology Lib. & Information Ctr., Atlanta
(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
The riddle of Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved," alchemy and clandestine love fuse in this fast-paced, funny, romantic mystery. Meg Howrey (The Cranes Dance, 2012, etc.) and television writer Christina Lynch have combined their talents, writing under the pseudonym Magnus Flyte. Brilliant musicologist Sarah Weston has been summoned to Prague to catalog Beethoven manuscripts at the Lobkowicz Palace. How can she refuse? Her mentor, Professor Sherbatsky, has defenestrated himself from the palace, and a dwarf has appeared at her door, encouraging her to go and presenting her with a pillbox containing what appears to be a toenail clipping. Yet Prague is a dangerous place, a place where the walls between worlds have thinned to precariously fragile layers. But Sarah cannot believe Sherbatsky committed suicide, and she is eager to study the manuscripts, so she begins to pack. Before she can even get to the airport, however, someone breaks into her apartment. Nothing appears to be stolen, but an ominous alchemical symbol has been drawn on her kitchen ceiling. Once in Prague, events turn both stranger and sexier. The castle lies at the center of a dispute between two branches of the Lobkowicz family. As Sarah dutifully sifts through the manuscripts, she discovers clues not only about the "Immortal Beloved," but also Sherbatsky's strange behavior leading up to his death. The other scholars hired that summer to catalog the castle's contents suspect Sherbatsky of drug use, and Sarah finds herself experimenting with the time-warping drug. She also accidentally has anonymous sex in the bathroom, joins forces with a 400-year-old dwarf, lands in jail and falls in love with the prince. But Sarah has also attracted an enemy, someone who will stop at nothing to keep Sarah from discovering a secret of perhaps international proportions. Even the minor characters are drawn ingeniously in this exuberant, surprising gem.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101603062
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 11/27/2012
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 64,147
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Magnus Flyte is a pseudonym for the writing duo of Meg Howrey and Christina Lynch. Howrey is a former dancer with the Joffrey and the winner of an Ovation Award. She is the author of the novels The Cranes Dance and Blind Sight and lives in Los Angeles. Lynch is a television writer and former Milan correspondent for W magazine. She lives near Sequoia National Park in California.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 62 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(6)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 62 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 22, 2013

    First of all, I have to honestly say that the cover is too prett

    First of all, I have to honestly say that the cover is too pretty to pass up and the title is a little bit misleading. At first glance, I thought that this book would be predominantly paranormal-romance since the title has the word magic in it, but I was wrong on so many levels. 

    The Good.

    The mystery bit was really engaging. I love Sarah Weston’s back story, and how ordinary she was up until she received an invitation to work closely on a private collection in Prague. And I love how the lives of so many individuals were tied up because of a series of events in Prague throughout history.

    I also appreciate how they incorporated Beethoven’s life and music into the whole thing. It made the story a lot more colorful, in my opinion. 

    I also love Poli because she’s one very amazing child prodigy. Although sometimes, I do hate the fact that Poli sounds so mature for her age; too mature, in fact.

    Nico/Jepp is also memorable. He is one of the characters bringing about the fantasy bit in this story and I love how he’s portrayed as someone very capable regardless of his size.

    The Bad.

    This story has too many things going on in it, it’s crazy!

    First off, the writing is inconsistent all throughout. While I love some parts of the story, there are those parts that seem totally irrelevant at all. For example, the sex-scenes were incorporated into the story just because it can be. No other reason. Sure, Sarah and Max has to be portrayed as having developed feelings of love for each other, but to start things off in a quickie in a very dark comfort room was NOT the way to do it. In fact, all the sex scenes in this story only made Sarah look like a cheap skank who loves too much sex. 

    Second, like I said, too many things going on. While I do love me some really engaging mystery, the combination of Beethoven, a former CIA operative turned Senator, a quest for the Golden Fleece, a mysterious sensory-enhancing drug, alchemy and that good old family squabble for fortune is just too overwhelming. Oh, and did I mention that hell-holes or magical portals are also included, plus immortal dwarfs and dead bodies dropping everywhere? Yes. Like I said, too much of too many things all at once.

    Third, the romance between Sarah and Max felt forced. While I do concede that no two people can go through so much without developing a bond with each other, I just felt that Max and Sarah should have been given more time to sort out what they actually feel for each other, rather than to throw them into various mysterious situations.

    My Rating.

    I give this story three stars because it was engaging. It’s overwhelming, but otherwise, it was really engaging.

    17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    A Waste Of Money

    Unfortuately far too many female authors, of a certain age, seem to have studied plot development under the direction of the late Helen Gurley Brown. It is difficult to stay sufficiently interested in the protagonist long enough to determine if there is a plot, although one does have some curiosity as to whether her education in music stunted the side of her brain having to do with reasonable precautions against acquiring various and sundrey transmittable diseases.

    9 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    Just okay for me

    Based on the synopsis and the lack of "YA" in the description, I thought this book was for adults, but it was obviously aimed at a different audience. The main character was under-developed. For someone supposedly quite highly educated she certainly lacked "street smarts". I wish someone would write more "magic" books for adults.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    4.5 Stars 'City of Dark Magic' is a unique and mysterious thril

    4.5 Stars

    'City of Dark Magic' is a unique and mysterious thrill ride of a novel - unlike anything I've read before. The plot surrounds the Prague Castle and the army of academics who have taken over for the summer in order to restore the Lubkowicz Palace to its former glory and turn it into a museum filled with centuries old treasures. The story focuses on Sarah Weston, a music expert from Boston who is invited to help with the museum - specifically with the artifacts concerning Beethoven. Sarah can't ignore all the strange happenings that begin soon after her arrival and then people start dying. Who can Sarah trust? Who is the person behind all this chaos? And what is this mind altering drug that the Prince and her mentor were taking? Will Sarah be able to get to the bottom of everything before it's too late?

    This novel was an enchanting and exciting blend of genres that I immediately fell in love with. There is so much going on during the book - murders, intrigue, mayhem, sex, drugs, time travel, alchemy and espionage to name a few - that it sucks you in and doesn't let go until the final word is read. The characters are all very interesting and distinct. I felt like they were a great cast of personalities for the book and all played their parts to perfection. I really liked the character of Sarah. She was brilliant and intuitive, but she definitely had flaws and character traits that made her feel very real. There is sex, swearing, and drugs in the novel, but this didn't bother me because it didn't detract from the main story. (Well, the drug in question may have actually enhanced the plot.)

    Speaking of the plot - I barely have words to explain it. The authors paint such a vivid and beautiful depiction of both Prague and the Palace - it was easy to insert myself into the setting and the story. There are several story lines that happen at once in the book, all of which are some sort of mystery waiting to be untangled, and all seem to fit together in some way that doesn't show itself to the reader until the end. The main thread of the story is magical and breathtaking in it's entirety and I was enchanted by the way the story was told, the story itself, and the subject matter that was talked about. All of it wound together to make an unbelievably compelling novel that will resonate with me for a long time to come. It's one of those books that you feel you must re-read over and over in order to pick up on small details you missed before and also just to lose yourself in its pages again. In summary, this is one of the most imaginative and fascinating books I've ever read. It breaks genre boundaries and opens the reader up to endless possibilities. Highly recommended!

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    I thought I was going to like this book and the main character..

    I thought I was going to like this book and the main character...until the author decided to become a pervert and turn a dinner eating scene into a cheap pornagraphic event...this could have been a good book if the auhtor focused on the story and did not throw in cheap sex scenes for no good reason...would not recommend

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2013

    Interesting read !

    I read this because my book club selected it. I would have never chosen it on my own from the excerpt I had read. However, I did find it very interesting and enjoyed. The only criticism is that the main character was too intelligent to partake in such stupid sexual antics !! The illicit sex scenes were unnecessary for the development of the plot. Otherwise it kept my interest !

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    Wow - What a disappointment

    I bought the book based on reviews from here and Amazon and was incredibly disappointed with the end result. I never felt drawn into the story or the characters and what few mysteries there were to solve were incredibly scarce and surprisingly uninteresting. The story is very convoluted and some of the pieces that end of becoming the "center" mysteries of the book are left with scant details and last minute inclusions. Then there is the politics angle from the main antagonist. The chapters dedicated to the villain, we are privy to the inner monologues of a mustache-twirling female Republican senator. And of course, the villian is a Republican... because duh. I was really looking forward to a fantasy set in a beautiful foreign city with great characters, an interesting historical perspective and a mystery down every cobblestone street. Disappointing.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2012

    A nice enough read--it did make me want to visit Prague

    This is a light, fairly enjoyable read. The writing is above average, but the plot's predictable and it got a little to romance-y for me. Not itching to read anything else by this offer unless, as this time, I'm stuck waiting for something meatier to come along....

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Good Idea

    City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte - intriguing title, mysteriously intriguing nom de plume! After that, it became a roller coaster ride for me.

    The plot idea is fabulous...mystery, history, and the music of Beethoven, with a little murder, mayhem and dark secret societies. Add a 400 year old dwarf, a reasonably intelligent expert of music, an unusual group of museum intellectuals/academics and a mysterious drug that allows the user to time travel...pretty cool! Our heroine is a 'grown up' Nancy Drew in many ways!

    The execution, here is where the roller coaster comes in, that slow pull to the top that sucks you in, the fast plummet that leaves you dizzy.

    High points: People are dying, there is a mysterious symbol showing up, secret rooms showing up, traveling through time and seeing Beethoven when he was alive.

    Low points: The heroine sits down to her first dinner with a group of museum experts/academics and someone has their hand going up her skirt, she heads for the powder room, the guy comes in, its dark, could have been anybody, they have sex, they go back and finish the evening. Don't get me wrong, I like sex, but, it seemed that this was just tossed in.

    Bodily functions-was it necessary to announce repeatedly that Beethoven farted, ate like a pig and burped often? Eating his toenail was kind of gross, too, but, gutsy!

    I think I was disappointed that the fabulous plot, settings and subplots couldn't have carried the book along on their own merits! The story itself was great and seems to belong to more than one genre.

    This copy was provided by NetGalley and Penguin Books in exchange for my honest review.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Needs better editing

    Too much filler, too many characters, too little plot. I'm on page 83 and the book has not engaged me at all. I will probably stop here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    It's Got It All

    This book has it all. Mystery, adventure, humor, romance, history and a little paranormal for good measure. Sarah Weston, musicologist sent to Prague to assist in the set up of a royal family museum, is smart and quick-witted. The other characters are just as rich and diverse. The story moves at a pretty quick pace and from a few different perspectives which are well timed. I loved this book. Almost enough to read again which I don’t ever do.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2012

    This book has a little bit of everything. It has romance, murder

    This book has a little bit of everything. It has romance, murder, mystery and some time travel involved. For anyone who enjoyed "A Discovery of Witches" this book is similar but is executed much better. There is not an overwhelming history or music theory lesson, what is included is relevant to the story and much easier to follow. Plot twists are done very well and keep you guessing as to who all is involved and what all the motives are of those involved. I am glad to see it is going to be continued in another book and can't wait to see how the second one is done. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fast paced read with a little mix of the paranormal.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    Page Turner

    I couldnt put it down! (And didnt actually)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2014

    Great read!

    I like the fact that it was a great mystery novel, but also had some humor and enough romance to be realistic but not cloying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2014

    Sweet

    I really enjoyed this book. It was better than i thought it would be. A great suprise. More like a 4.5 but 5stars will help its rating rise.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2014

    Fantastic!!

    I read this book for a book club, and honestly I was cautious at first. Once I started reading it I could not put it down! I finished it and immediately had to buy the second!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2014

    pretty good

    The story line kept me interested to see what happened next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2014

    Clever mystery

    This turned out to be a very clever mystery about love, history, time bending, science and characters. The combination along with a great sense of humor kept me glued to the story. Good and evil exist in ever time, city and personal lifetime, but what if we were eternal? Definetly cant wait to read the next book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2014

    QUIDDITCH ARENA

    For practice

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  • Posted January 20, 2014

    Great read! I got this book when it was BN's Nook book deal of

    Great read!

    I got this book when it was BN's Nook book deal of the day, I think.

    Other than the fact that it was kind of slow in the beginning and I had no clue what I was actually reading for the majority of the book, whether this was paranormal, fantasy, mystery or just plain fiction, this was fabulous! I think my confusion added a type of suspenseful quest in my trying to hurry up to finish so I could figure out what the heck was actually going on.

    I've never taken drugs before, and I never plan to, but gimme some of that toenail! (You can only understand this reference if you read the book. Which you should do. You'll want some toenail as well.) Sarah's trips were so well done. Her first one was a little terrifying though. ... I just realized I should've listened to Beethoven the whole time while I read this! I definitely will if I ever reread this. I don't know what I was thinking!

    I usually don't read "plain" fiction because it turns out depressing and sad and boring but this was mysterious and had a lot of historical content. One thing that led me to read this was the setting in Prague. I knew nothing about Prague or the Czech Republic except that it's right in the middle of every primary warzone in Europe. It seemed like an interesting setting for a book titled "City of Dark Magic."

    I laughed. I was tense. I was confused. I was excited. I laughed some more. I cheered. I would've liked Max a little more developed and would never complain about more Suzi or Nico. (If any of you watch Lost Girl on Syfy, you probably picture the Blood King as Nico like I do. Just want to squeeze him.)

    Great read if you can get to where it really picks up! I'll keep an eye out for deals for the sequel.

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