Reviews for City of Dark Magic
Booklist Reviews 2012 November #2
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. Summoned to Prague to the Lobkowicz Palace, located inside the cavernous confines of the Prague Castle, to archive Beethoven's manuscripts and, perhaps, even to unlock the secrecy surrounding Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved," musicologist Sarah Weston seizes the opportunity of a lifetime and never looks back--except when she begins time-traveling, of course. Before she even arrives in Prague, bad things start to happen, such as the suspicious suicide of her mentor/predecessor at the palace. What follows is a pulse-pounding adventure, as Sarah, with the aid of a powerful mind- and time-bending drug, zips through the centuries in search of clues that will unlock a timeless musical mystery. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 October #1
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. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Express Reviews
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.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #1
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.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC