As in most thrillers, there is danger, intrigue, romance in City of Dark Magic, but there are also elements of spy fiction and literary suspense novels. A subplot involves a CIA operative and her KGB lover.
The main plot focuses on doctoral student, Sarah Weston, who music career hits a new height when she is invited to catalog the Lobkowicz's Beethoven artifacts.
Since its a literary novel, it has a plethora of arcane codes and messages. Sarah Weston finds a strange symbol on her ceiling of her Boston area apartment. This marks the beginning of a series of strange events that turn stranger and darker once she arrives in Prague.
Even though Sarah Weston was hired to do archival work, she finds herself investigating the death of her mentor, Absalom Sherbatsky. Professor Sherbatsky was working at the Lobkowicz Palace Museum shortly before he threw himself out of a window.
Sarah doesn't believe it was suicide and suspicious events at the Palace hint she may be right. While doing archival work at the Lobkowicz, one of the other researchers is killed in a bizarre way. In spite of the dangerous surroundings, she finds herself falling for the heir of the Lobokowicz collection, Prince Max.
Several of the characters embarks on a quest to find something of historical or magical importance. Sarah not only wants to understand the mysterious death of her mentor, she also wants to find the identity Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved." Prince Max wants to find the Golden Fleece.
This novel, written as a collaborative novel, has overreached on a few ocasions. Some aspects of the novel were hard to believe. The messages Max leaves to Sarah are pretty undecipherable, yet she understands them.
If readers enjoy a literary mystery with a dose of the supernatural, they will enjoy at this novel which boasts two sets of arcane letters, alchemical symbols, a key to portal, time travel, hidden rooms, and secret tunnels.
Some situation are sexual and there is mild language.
Though everyone enjoys a book for different reasons, the discussion of Beethoven and his patrons, the Lobkowiczes, was, for the most part, accurate and enjoyable.
If you enjoy this title, you might like Graham Moore's The Sherlockian, Charlie Lovett's The Bookman's Tale or Emily Croy Barker's The Thinking Woman's Guide to Magic.