City of Dark Magic: A Novel

City of Dark Magic: A Novel

by Magnus Flyte


$14.40 $16.00 Save 10% Current price is $14.4, Original price is $16. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, February 25

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143122685
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/27/2012
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 428,299
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher



Praise for City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte:

“This deliciously madcap novel has it all: murder in Prague, time travel, a misanthropic Beethoven, tantric sex, and a dwarf with attitude. I salute you, Magnus Flyte!”
—Conan O'Brien

“The most wickedly enchanting novel I’ve ever read and also the funniest. A Champagne magnum of intrigue and wit, this book sparkles from beginning to end.”
Anne Fortier, bestselling author of Juliet

“An entertaining mix of magic, mystery and romance, it’s one of the most original novels released this year.”

“A fantastical adventure set in the world’s most emo city. … A growing number of novels seek to erect fanciful bulwarks against the dull logistical deluge of the real world. … To read these novels is to finally and happily tread the literally magical streets of cities that will only ever exist in our naïve imaginings. The officious yet sinister London of China Mieville, Neal Gaiman, Jonathan Barnes, and Mark Hodder; the tense, swollen Istanbul of Ian McDonald; Emma Bull’s faerie-haunted Minneapolis, Rob Thurman’s monstrous New York City, Laurell K. Hamilton’s matter-of-factly supernatural St. Louis: None of them exist, yet all of them are real. To this almanac add the Prague of City of Dark Magic, by Magnus Flyte. … Beguiling …City of Dark Magicnever fails to shimmer exotically, erotically, on the page.”

“A comical, rollicking and sexy thriller.” 
Huffington Post

“I was sold on newcomer Magnus Flyte’s recent novel when I looked at the clock and realized that I’d been reading for four hours without pause. … Rom-coms can, indeed, be smart, sexy, and self-aware.”

“Sometimes you want a book that simply entertains, and City of Dark Magic does just that. There’s a bit of everything, and when one scene seems impossible, know that the next will top it. Go with it. It’s a good ride and a great way to escape reality for a bit.”

“The riddle of Beethoven’s 'Immortal Beloved,' alchemy and clandestine love fuse in this fast-paced, funny, romantic mystery. ... An exuberant, surprising gem.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“A story that abounds in mysterious portents, wild coincidences, violent death, and furtive but lusty sex ... [this novel] cleverly combin[es] time travel, murder, history, and musical lore.”
Publishers Weekly

“The darkly charming and twisted streets of Prague provide the deliciously dramatic backdrop for this paranormal romp that fires on all cylinders, masquerading by turns as a romance, a time-travel thriller, and a tongue-in-cheek mystery.”

“A wild ride through the streets and history of Prague. … The author has crafted a beautiful work of art in this novel and I found myself drawn in as much as Sarah. A tantalizing world grows in your mind’s eye as the author’s words paint the picture effortlessly with tempestuous characters and a beautifully dark setting.”
Bibliophilic Book Blog

“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.”
Kirkus Reviews

Reading Group Guide


  • Though the novel is humorous, there are some serious themes under all that fun. What are Sarah’s thoughts on the idea that some people inherit huge wealth and are considered “noble,” while others have to earn their keep, and how does Max feel about his inheritance?
  • There are people from many cultures, backgrounds, and with various physical strengths or disabilities in the book. How does this book deal with stereotypes?
  • How are the themes of loss, fatherhood, and longing explored in this novel?
  • Characters in the novel have differing religious beliefs. How does Sarah’s time in Prague affect her beliefs?
  • Sarah’s ambition puts her in the crosshairs of Charlotte Yates’s ambitions. How does the novel address issues of ambition?
  • Nicolas Pertusato claims he’s four hundred years old. In what ways does the novel explore different aspects of immortality for him, for Beethoven, and for Sherbatsky?
  • Sarah Weston is approached out of the blue to go to Prague for the summer to help catalog Beethoven’s papers. What convinces her to take the job?
  • At the castle, Sarah is introduced to her fellow housemates, most of whom are there to do their own respective research. What do her initial impressions of the other residents tell us about her, and them?
  • Sarah notices early on that Prague has a “vibe” (p. 55). How do Sarah’s feelings about things like “vibes” and magic change in the course of the novel?
  • Who is Charlotte Yates, what is her connection to the Lobkowicz family, and what does her story tell us about the history of Prague?
  • Dr. Sherbatsky is an important mentor for Sarah. What has she learned from him and what does his unfortunate death mean for her?
  • Sarah is, by her own admission, a highly sexual person. Which qualities draw her to potential partners, and how does she feel about love as it is conventionally portrayed in books and movies? Do we judge female characters that are openly sexual differently than we do male characters with the same trait?
  • Nicolas gives Sarah a strange drug. What does the drug do and what is its connection to the mysteries of the castle? What does it awaken in Sarah?
  • What is Prince Max looking for, and why? How do his and Sarah’s ambitions at first keep them apart, then bring them together?
  • Sarah and Max learn they knew each other as young children. What effect does this strange coincidence have on their relationship?
  • Sarah ultimately discovers the “truth” about Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved. What does she find out,

  • and how does it change her feelings about the composer?
  • In the epigraph, there is a quote from Beethoven: “Of Princes there have and will be thousands—of Beethovens there is only one.” Why do you think the authors chose this quote to open the story?
  • Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    See All Customer Reviews

    City of Dark Magic: A Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
    Dia_Pelaez More than 1 year ago
    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.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    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.
    MOTX More than 1 year ago
    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 !
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    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.
    exlibrisadinfinitum More than 1 year ago
    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....
    StephWard More than 1 year ago
    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.
    DiiMI More than 1 year ago
    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.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    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
    60143pbr More than 1 year ago
    The book never lived up to my expectations of what seemed like a time travel, Beethovian, Vienna-ish story. Great imagination on the author's part even if it didn't always make sense. Drugs, sex, history, discoveries in an old castle....It had a lot going for it but, for me, failed to live up to its potential. For a better take on magical realism read The Night Circus...
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I love this book. It has romance and history and a unexpected twist on magic that makes it all the more magical; magic is no longer limited to the world of Harry Potter, of wands and wizards, but  opened up to science, music, and imagination. All together the book is well written and compelling. For those who are a fain of Beethoven, music, magic or Prague this book is a must!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Love, love, loved this book! I found myself rooting for Sarah, the character, through out the book and honestly I really liked all the characters. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few pretty evil characters in this book, but they’re written so vividly you don’t mind them. Sarah is a smart girl from Boston who is getting her PhD in Beethoven. Although I really did enjoy her character, I will say she is bit too…horny. Yeah, didn’t think I would write those word in a book review. She always has sex on the brain to a point where is can be a little too much. Another odd fact is that she cant tell people’s character through her nose. Like she can smell if someone is nice, evil etc. I little odd but definitely original. I’m a huge history buff, like seriously I’m such a nerd about it and if you are too then you will love this book. There are many different characters that you will get to meet that are experts in different aspects of history. For example, Suzi is an expert in weapons and they speak a little bit of that is historical aspects. I also like how these supporting characters are unique and different from what you expect. Like how Suzi is this small Asian chick who is into guns and is from Texas. I love how they have a chapter that’s an expert in each category and they delve into a little bit. And I live that each character is unique and not exactly what you would expect. Like Suzi who is a weapons expert but a short cute Asian from Texas. The book is mostly set in Prague which I thought was really cool. I was very lucky to be able to visit Prague last year and it truly is a beautiful and mysterious city. Which made it the perfect setting for this story. Prague Castle plays a main part and so do other well know historical landmarks. So if you have visited this city, you will love it because it really transports you there and the author(s) really did amazing research on Prague. And if you haven’t visited or don’t know much about Prague there is a handy map of it in the front so you know where things are happening. which I thought was a nice touch. Overall, this book has a steady storyline, but really picks up in the end. It’s full of so many funny things that I didn’t want to really talk about it and ruin it, but trust me this book is hilarious! It had me laughing at loud at so many parts. The only think I didn’t like was how perfect everything arranged itself in the end. Like seriously, It basically wrapped and tied with a bow how perfect everything turns out. But, I’m excited there is another book. It leaves you wanting more and wanting to pick the next book up asap.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I couldnt put it down! (And didnt actually)
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    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.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    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.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    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!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    The story line kept me interested to see what happened next.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    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.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    MrsMcIntosh More than 1 year ago
    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.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago