Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"City of Dark Magic"

Biographical details about Magnus Flyte are sometimes conflicting. He appears to have operated under several identities, and may have ties to one or more intelligence organizations, including the CIA, the Mossad, and a radical group of Antarctic separatists.

His literary executors, Meg Howrey and Christina Lynch, applied the Page 69 Test to Flyte's new book, City of Dark Magic, and reported the following:
Quite by coincidence Magnus was incommunicado when we tried to reach him to ask whether page 69 is representative of City of Dark Magic or not, because he had just set off along the 69th parallel. This covers a lot of territory: the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Asia, and North America. Of course, since the note on the postcard was smudged, it’s possible that he was in the 69th parallel south, which crosses Queen Maud Land in Antarctica, another of Magnus’s frequent haunts and the breeding ground of the South Polar skua. In any case, we’re happy to attempt to answer for him.

On page 69 of City of Dark Magic, Sarah gets to know Shuziko (Suzi) Oshiro, who is the museum’s resident expert in arms and armory. Sarah, having just arrived at a palace in Prague to begin her summer job cataloguing Beethoven manuscripts, is getting the lay of the land and also sniffing around for information about Prince Max, whom she suspects might have killed her mentor and predecessor Sherbatsky. Page 69 is actually quite representative of the novel, where very few things are quite what you expect. This is Suzi speaking on the origins of her interest in firearms, which began with her days as a child beauty pageant contestant in Texas:
“Rifles! That’s where it all started for me. I was seven, eight years old and twirling these old guns: the Winchester Model 1866, British Enfield 1853, the Sharps Rifle. People freaked out, watching this little Japanese kid hurling these big ole rifles around. Man, I loved those guns. I won every pageant I entered. They probably thought I would shoot ‘em down if they didn’t give me the tiara.”
Suzi will turn out to be an ally of Sarah’s. This page is the lead-in to the rather notorious first sex scene of the novel, in which Sarah decides to deal with her jet lag in a possibly questionable manner. Readers who only like these things executed in perfect taste may be alarmed, though we would like to point out that Sarah practices safe sex, at least in the traditional sense of the phrase.
Learn more about the book and author at Magnus Flyte's website.

--Marshal Zeringue