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The Portsmouth Book Club September - City of Dark Magic

The book selected for our September meetup is City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte.  Here is a description from GoodReads:

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.

 City of Dark Magic could be called a rom-com paranormal suspense novel—or it could simply be called one of the most entertaining novels of the year.

 A here is a review from Publisher's 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.

We had lots of good banter last night as we discussed The Glass Castle.  It was a great turnout, and Craig brought the most unbelievably delicious, sugar-and-cream-cheese-laden whoopie pies.  Partnered with beer, half of us were working on an unusually high sugar rush, which probably contributed to our heated debates (some might call screaming matches).

The books in contention for this month's selection were:

A Rope and Prayer by David Rohde

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Outlaw Biker by Richard Hayes

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

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  • Jeanne

    I had a good time at the book club, even if the book wasn't any good.

    September 12, 2013

    • Rebecca

      Glad you had a good time. We always have a blast!

      September 12, 2013

  • Monik

    Sorry I missed it. See you all next month!

    September 11, 2013

    • Rebecca

      Hope to see you there!

      September 11, 2013

  • Craig

    Book was awful but Meetup was fun (as always)

    1 · September 11, 2013

    • Sean D.

      I am glad I din't read it! Sorry I missed you all, I hope to see you next month.

      September 11, 2013

    • Rebecca

      It was a pretty entertaining meeting, Sean. Hilarious on many accounts. Hope to see you next month!

      September 11, 2013

  • Dianna

    Enjoyed the discussion, and although I didn't love the book, I'm glad I had the opportunity to read from a genre I wouldn't normally gravitate to. I'm really looking forward to the next book, and discussion!

    2 · September 11, 2013

    • Rebecca

      We're so glad you joined! Hope you had fun!

      September 11, 2013

  • Monik

    Sorry I missed it. Just moved into my home and too much to do. Hope to make it next time.

    September 11, 2013

  • Doug W.

    Puck and I had a great time with you all last night. Sorry we had to rush out just as we were going to get to really meet people. But we are excited for the October meeting and will hopefully be able to stick around to chat next time.

    September 11, 2013

    • Rebecca

      So glad you enjoyed it. And I love to hear that you'll be coming back!

      September 11, 2013

  • Rebecca

    Check out the low stars a few people decided to leave. Guess it wasn't their thing!

    September 11, 2013

  • MARSHA R. R.

    Excellent reviews from people. Will return

    September 10, 2013

    • Rebecca

      Glad you liked it!

      September 11, 2013

  • Kipp F.

    I don't think I have ever been to a book discussion where the entire group had the same feelings about the selected book.

    September 10, 2013

    • Rebecca

      That was pretty mush a first, I think.

      September 11, 2013

  • Diane O

    Lively and entertaining! A great group of folks, thoughtful, funny, intelligent and passionate. I look forward to joining you all again soon.

    1 · September 10, 2013

    • Rebecca

      So glad you enjoyed it!

      September 11, 2013

  • Natasha C.

    I hate canceling last minute. I really wanted to talk about this. :( Hope to join next month.

    September 10, 2013

    • Rebecca

      Hope to see you next month, Natasha!

      September 11, 2013

  • Kristin

    Too buried in research. Ack!!

    September 10, 2013

    • Rebecca

      Missed you!

      September 11, 2013

  • elle l.

    Read the book, but unable to be at the meeting......perhaps next time

    September 9, 2013

  • Sean D.

    Sorry. I wasn't able to get to the book this month.

    September 9, 2013

  • Ben S.

    Just had a conflict materialize, so I won't be able to make it. :-( Can I TiVo the discussion or something?

    September 4, 2013

    • Rebecca

      No way. What happens at Book Club, stays at Book Club. We'll miss you!

      2 · September 5, 2013

  • Ann B.

    Sorry to miss this one, but I'll be traveling.

    September 4, 2013

    • Rebecca

      We'll miss you!

      1 · September 5, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hope I am off crutches by then!

    1 · September 1, 2013

  • Kristin

    Oh lord, is this book for real!? I can't wait to discuss

    September 2, 2013

    • Craig

      I'm right there with you. I think this discussion will be fairly lively.

      September 2, 2013

    • Rebecca

      I really wasn't prepared for this read. I'm still formulating an opinion.

      September 2, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm looking forward to discussing City of Dark Magic next week!Looking ahead .... I will be presenting another book to consider for our October Meetup. I wanted to give everyone a heads up, as the author is featured for the next Music Hall's Writers on a New England Stage event - and whether it's voted on or not, you might want to attend the talk! Tickets are on sale now for award-winning novelist Margaret Atwood's discussion of MaddAddam on Sept 18th. Margaret will be interviewed by Virginia Prescott from NHPR's Word of Mouth. Tix are $13.25. For every 1-2 tix sold, the purchase of a book voucher is required which entitles you to a signed copy of the book the night of the event (just in time for our Oct meetup!) As a bonus, this particular book has been selected for the Music Hall's new Book Club, scheduled for October 16th. I can provide info on the Book Club next week, for those who are interested. Here's more info: http://www.themusichall.org/calendar/event/margaret_atwood

    September 2, 2013

    • Craig

      We actually read the second book in this series (The Year of the Flood) as part of our bookclub several years back. I don't think we realized it was the 2nd book of a trilogy but I remember it took place well after the first and stood on its own. I'll be picking up MaddAddam regardless if it becomes our selection.

      September 2, 2013

    • Rebecca

      I saw that MaddAddam was coming out. I'm so excited!

      September 2, 2013

  • Cynthia

    I won't be able to make the next mtg afterall :(

    August 30, 2013

  • Sarah S.

    I may be a bit late, but I'll have read the book this time!

    1 · August 23, 2013

  • Sarah S.

    I may be a bit late, but I'Klan have read the book this time!

    August 23, 2013

  • Victoria H.

    Looking forward to Book Club discussions

    1 · August 17, 2013

  • Tabatha A.

    Finished the book today. Can't wait to discuss it with all of you next month!

    August 15, 2013

    • Rebecca

      That was fast!

      1 · August 16, 2013

    • Tabatha A.

      It happened to be the next book on my to be read list so I was all ready to go.

      August 16, 2013

  • Sean D.

    Are you kidding? I haven't even downloaded it yet.

    August 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hope I am off crutches by then!

    1 · August 14, 2013

  • Kipp F.

    Sorry to have missed The Glass Castle meeting - unexpected guests. Looking forward to the next one.

    1 · August 14, 2013

    • Rebecca

      It happens, no worries!

      August 14, 2013

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