Sequel to City of Dark Magic (2012), set in a world where alchemy, magic and science all work; another lively, amusing romantic mystery from the pseudonymous Flyte (Meg Howrey and Christina Lynch).
Musicologist Sarah Weston arrives in Vienna hoping to find a cure for her friend, the blind young composer Pollina, who’s dying of an intractable ailment. Meanwhile, Sarah’s friend and ally, the drunkenly world-weary, 400-year-old dwarf Nico Pertusato, wanders around London seeking an ancient alchemical remedy only to discover that a mysterious adversary has anticipated his every move. In Prague, Prince Max, Sarah’s ex-lover, ponders the baffling reappearance of a saint who drowned 800 years ago, then a World War II Czech resistance hero shot by the Gestapo; meanwhile, his seductive new girlfriend, redheaded British historian Harriet Hunter, pursues a hidden agenda of her own. Rumor has it that the brilliant biochemist Bettina Müller may have formulated a treatment for Pollina, but when Sarah tries to contact her, Müller proves peculiarly elusive and demands that Sarah return the priceless antique model ship purloined from the British Museum that Müller, for some reason, has concealed in her refrigerator. Growing desperate, Sarah makes use of a drug that frees her mind to float back through the centuries and peruse the work of Philippine Welser, the brilliant alchemist wife of Emperor Rudolf II, besides, that is, enjoying all the food and culture Prague and Vienna have to offer, not to mention mind-blowing sex with a hot Austrian noble in a stable that’s in the process of burning down (she still remembers to use a condom).
Sensual, witty and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, set forth in sparkling prose and inhabited by characters well-worth getting to know. Wunderbar!